Name: Nick Kirby
Firm: Mishcon de Reya
Position: Managing associate
Trained at: Mishcon de Reya
In Hot 100 for: Being at the forefront of Mishcon de Reya’s technology drive. Read his full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Mishcon ran a series of videos for trainee recruitment on its Mishcon Graduates website. One of the business development team (who shall remain nameless!) talked me through the process in a short 15-minute meeting and assured me that very little would be needed from me other than to pick a subject (I picked technology).
I recall being told that there would be a follow up meeting to go through the questions and some proposed answers. The next thing I knew I was being called down to the film crew in Red Lion Square to talk about technology and how it was relevant to law firms (with absolutely none of that preparation I was promised). I was so nervous that I managed to say the word technology no less than 50 times in the space of a two-minute video!
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
There are three people, the two senior partners in my team (Ian Paul and Simon Hart) and Nick West. The two senior partners in my team for building a great team of people, fostering an environment in which people in the team support each other and for letting me spend 20 per cent of my time in the strategy / tech department. Nick for believing in me and pushing me to stretch myself when it came to taking on the strategy and tech role in real estate (more below).
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
18 months ago I asked Ian and Simon whether I could spend 20 per cent of my fee earning time spearheading our technological revolution in real estate. I got the idea from Google who have a 70:20:10 innovation policy in which you spend 20 per cent of your time with another team.
The move has involved a number of really exciting changes to my career including building an application which is being rolled out to clients, getting heavily involved in machine learning, talking to clients about how tech can change the way we provide services and running the real estate category for MDR LAB 2018 – none of which I imagined happening when I first asked whether I could change my role.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Make sure you research the legal tech market and see what tools are out there that can help your department or firm change the way it delivers services to its clients or helps improve the lives of its employees. Spending time getting to know the market and understanding how new technology works will help ensure you know which of the many tools to apply at the relevant time.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
I jointly ran the Real Estate Social Impact strategy for the last two years until recently but as the technology role has expanded I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to it as the role deserves. Real estate launched their own dedicated social impact strategy two years ago and we are now support three amazing charities with a focus on helping disadvantaged children (Butterfly AVM, Football Beyond Borders and Sported). We recently held a Academy talk with Nikki (Butterly AVM) who is the most incredible and inspiring person considering what she has been through and must go through on a daily basis.