Will the future bring new roles in law firms that we haven’t seen before?
In the longer term, absolutely. In the short term, there is already a shift in the skill-sets as well as the mind-set, required to deliver successful projects. For the solutions we’re building with our clients, we look for input from multiple experts within the firm (IT, pricing, project management, legal), who need to work together and talk the same language; to break down old silos and work well as a team. When our non-legal and legal teams collaborate on projects, the collective efforts serve as a catalyst for greater legal innovation. Ideas are raised, encouraged, considered, and developed or dismissed quickly with the right input.
Combine that with our expanding team of graduates in our legal process hub, Newcastle – who, every day delight me with their “can do” approach and their small incremental but valuable changes to a process – you can understand why a firm like us is changing the way we provide legal services. Clients want to see all our experts and many of these will be non-legal.
How can we improve? Legal staff need to be better at communicating their requirements in a structured way and non-lawyers need to be freed up to unlock the value of their skills.
Is the current partnership model still attractive to new recruits? Will it stay attractive?
For some, it is. For an increasing number, it isn’t and law firms are losing top talent due to lifestyle preferences. Encouraging flexibility and various new ways of working to help employees with family or other commitments is increasingly a significant consideration.
We are working on collaborative long-term projects with clients rather than on discrete matters for clients. The projects are more structured than traditional law, which helps promote flexible working yet with access to quality work. Traditional law is being turned on its head; we will be contracting legal skills to provide the legal framework to a new way of working, deliver content or build templates and leaving the delivery to a dedicated and service driven unit.
Increasingly, our staff are interested in having more “skin in the game” at an earlier point in their career. For others who are interested in the new roles appearing in law firms, we need to be able to articulate a different and compelling career track that values their contribution and their lifestyle preferences. The reality is that there are only small pools of experienced legal project managers, legal business analysts, and legal technologists and so we are developing our own. Our Newcastle Hub is becoming our nucleus for this new talent.
There are some new roles being created around strategy and innovation, what changes will these bring to law firms?
Before these roles were blended with project teams, it was a case of whoever shouted the loudest received IT resource to build a new piece of tech.
Now with dedicated roles focused solely on innovation and strategy, ideas can be developed and nurtured and a business rationale imposed. We can actually deliver innovation by successfully merging an optimised process with technology and the right team deployed to operate it. With these new roles come the budgets and resources to experiment with less conventional ideas, new technologies and to develop new capabilities in-house. Combining the output from innovation teams, with a commercial team to promote, is the underlying narrative of all our recent success stories.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
For a number of years, I worked with Mark Bankes, a corporate mining lawyer. We discussed the “better ways” of working continuously, particularly during the course of a deal in Africa when laboriously working through the night replicating execution copies of transaction documents for a formal signing ceremony, dealing with mosquitos and no broadband. It was certainly a memorable experience.
Mark has always encouraged flexible working, pushing for change 14 years ago when ‘face time’ was an important part of law and agile working less so. Today, I work outside of the office more than in it and still have the best work to do.
Kate Tomlinson is part of the 120+ managing partners, C-level executives and business services leaders gathering on the 25 September 2018 at the Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero to spend a day focusing on defining your law firm strategy in a tech-driven future. For more information on the conference, a copy of the agenda, or to inquire about attending, please contact Nathan Graham on +44(0) 20 7970 4672.
By Anthony Partridge How important is it to ask about the client/settlor’s family background? I think this is incredibly important for a number of reasons. As private client lawyers we need to start building a rapport with the client straight away, almost as soon as you meet them. When I meet a client for the […]
By James Campbell Background: It is clear that a well drafted and properly administered trust can be an effective asset protection vehicle in the context of divorce. Broadly the test now applied by the Family Division of England and Wales (the “Family Division“) in relation to trusts is to decide whether the trust should be […]
This article discusses the successful redomiciliation of Kazakhstan Energy Reinsurance Company Ltd from the Islands of Bermuda to the Astana International Financial Centre and the main procedural steps required for the redomiciliation under the Acting Law of the AIFC. Our note is intended to be a helpful guide – it is not comprehensive and does […]
By Thomas J. Timmins, Howard Xin Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In doing so, the WHO added the virus to the growing list of PHEICs including such diseases as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), H1N1 (Swine Flu), Ebola, Zika virus, […]
By R. Nelson Godfrey The last 12 months have been an exciting time in Canadian trademark law. In June 2019, the most significant changes in decades were implemented to Canada’s Trademarks Act and Trademarks Regulations. The changes implemented in June 2019 have been well documented, and include higher class-based filing fees and shorter registration terms, […]
Under-the-radar Greenberg makes promises in litigation Mishcon de Reya isn’t used to losing partners from its beloved disputes group, but this week The Lawyer revealed two would be making the move – and to a US firm no less. Banking disputes head Masoud Zabeti and fellow litigator Mohammed Khamisa QC are joining Greenberg Traurig, a […]
White & Case’s London revenue decreased by four per cent last year, while globally the firm recorded a rise in its financials to hit $2.2bn. Revenues at the firm’s UK outpost were $337m in 2019, a 3.7 decrease from the 2018 figure of $350m. Globally though turnover rose by 6.6 per cent to $2.2bn. Its […]
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has made its first City partner hire in just over a year, bringing in Linklaters’ former head of global tax to its office. Yash Rupal will make the move to the US firm having been a partner at the magic circle firm since 1996. He represents a range of corporates, financial […]
Ocado has concluded a review of its main legal advisers, with firms including DWF and Slaughter and May making it onto the retailer’s roster. The review comes as the online retail company has decided not to appoint a formal panel. At the same time, the effort follows the striking, in February 2019, of a £750m-worth […]
Hogan Lovells’ London office revenue increased by 10 per cent over 2019, while global growth was also promising in Steve Immelt’s final year as CEO. The firm reported revenue of £332.6m in London in 2019 after breaking the £300m barrier over 2018, when it grew by just 2 per cent to £301.9m. Globally, Hogan Lovells’ […]
A complaint against Dechert’s white-collar co-head, Neil Gerrard, has been filed to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In documents seen by The Lawyer, Jordanian lawyer Karam Al Sadeq has filed the complaint, alleging that Gerrard conducted an interrogation unlawfully, while he was detained in inhumane conditions in Ras Al Khaimah. Sadeq is currently imprisoned in the emirate […]