Deborah Hook

University of Sydney

Delivering AI in a complex organisation


The legal section of a major university is not the most obvious place to look for AI innovation, but Sydney University have already delivered two AI-powered solutions, and are shaping a strategic approach to generative AI that could benefit the whole sector.

This talk will explore:

  • the two AI-based solutions already delivered (‘Cogniti’, designed by educators for educators, plus a pilot ‘policy navigator’)
  • the ‘AI Transparency Statements’ documented for these solutions
  • a strategic approach to generative AI that rests on a foundation of solid governance
  • the multi-stage governance roadmap which is already well progressed
  • insights that can benefit the rest of the sector (and beyond!)


As Director, Legal Operations at the University of Sydney, Deb oversees legal strategy and transformation, taking a human-centred and design-led approach. She is 2 years into a program of work to transform and future-proof the University’s in-house function, and in doing so redefine what it means to be an in-house practitioner.

Her work includes:

  • a flagship learning and development program for her legal team, teaching a broad range of business, design and communication skills;
  • a best-in-class design-led contract automation program;
  • a human-centric and tech-enabled knowledge management platform;
  • coordinating the University’s leading approach to safe and responsible adoption of generative AI; and
  • development of her own team’s generative AI tools to streamline legal operations.


Before moving into legal innovation full time, Deb was a lawyer for over 15 years, advising businesses on a broad range of commercial, corporate, intellectual, property and transactional matters in private practice and in-house roles. With a practical and solutions-oriented focus, Deb uses her skills, knowledge, and experience to support company operations and champion positive change for our broader community.

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