Summary General Counsel NL Annual Conference 2024 at HQ Microsoft Schiphol Airport

GCN Annual Conference 2024


The General Counsel NL Annual Conference 2024, held on March 27 at Microsoft’s Schiphol headquarters, was a landmark event that brought together a record number of General Counsel and Chief Legal Officers to discuss one the most pressing topics for Legal Departments: the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Astrid Joosten, Chair of the day, welcomed all attendees and Michiel van Straaten, GCN’s Community Chair, provided insight into the various upcoming GCN activities in the coming months.

Embracing the Future: AI Transformation

One of the highlights of the day was the keynote delivered by Jeff Bullwinkel, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft EMEA. His keynote was not just a mere presentation but a deep dive into the intricacies of AI, its profound impact on the legal profession and the role of GCs in enabling new opportunities and technologies.

His keynote covered a range of topics related to AI and its impact on the legal industry. Jeff commenced his keynote by demystifying AI and its history, providing some context about generative AI as a technology, what it can do and how it is being adopted in the Netherlands. He elucidated its functions and the strides it has made, setting the stage for a discussion on the AI trends anticipated to shape 2024. He captivated the audience with an inspiring story from the Netherlands on how AI is revolutionizing the daily experiences of people with disabilities, showcasing the technology’s potential to contribute to societal well-being.

The discourse then shined to the role of GCs in this AI-driven landscape. Jeff emphasized GCs role in this AI transformation by focusing on what these developments mean for GCs, in terms of supporting digital transformation without compromising legal or regulatory compliance risk. He highlighted how AI could transform legal support services and how GCs were playing a pivotal role in the formation of public policy in relation to AI.

A central theme of Jeff’s keynote was Microsoft’s focus on responsible AI. He outlined the company’s principles, corporate standards, which are anchored in inclusion, fairness, and transparency. He stressed the importance of accountability in AI implementation and oversight that these technologies should serve the greater good without compromising ethical standards.

He shared Microsoft’s experience in adopting AI tools – transforming the support provided by its legal team. The audience was treated to a demonstration that brought these concepts to life, illustrating the practical applications of AI in legal support. This segment underscored the tangible benefits of AI and its capacity to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services.

In his concluding remarks, Jeff addressed Microsoft’s AI customer commitments and introduced Microsoft’s new customer copyright commitments. These focused on sharing Microsoft’s learnings in deploying AI responsibly and creating an AI assurance program to enable customers to deploy AI in a legally compliant manner.

Overall, Jeff’s keynote was a comprehensive exploration of AI’s capabilities and its implications for the legal industry. His insights provided a vision of the path forward, emphasizing the importance of embracing AI responsibly and ethically that could serve as a guide for legal professionals seeking to navigate the complexities of AI, reinforcing innovation, ethical practice, and societal advancement.

Here you can find a summary of the slide deck.

Three rounds of GCN Roundtables and illusionist Jochem Nooyen

During the day, the large group split three times into twelve different GCN Roundtables to meet and share best practices on a variety of technological and innovative topics specifically relevant to GCs.

With his Privacy & Infosecurity Show, speaker and illusionist Jochem Nooyen provided the attendees with a humorous update on the latest developments in the field of privacy and information security. As a mind illusionist, he showed them what he can know from spectators and with a spectacular act he let people experience what an invasion of your privacy can mean. Interactive, refreshing and, above all, wonderful, thanks to the special illusion acts. Without a doubt: entertainment with substance.

Wrap up

The day was made even more special because attendees were able to visit the Microsoft Technology Center in groups, where the GCs and CLOs were shown examples of innovative technological solutions. Of course there were various breaks during the day, such as the GCN Lunch and the GCN Network Drinks at the end of the day.

In short: a very successful day! Given the major impact of AI on the world of GCs and CLOs, GCN has decided to organize additional GCN AI Special meetings in the fall. We will keep you informed!