Schroders head of operations Fiona Robb talks to The Lawyer about legal technology and the most effective tool they’ve implemented ahead of her session at this year’s In-house Counsel as Business Partner in association with EY conference.

What should GCs consider before implementing new technology?

Fiona Robb

GCs should make sure they have a problem that needs to be solved then make sure they have the right processes in place before they look at technology.

With so many providers of legal tech out there, how do you decide where to invest?

This is a big challenge for the in-house GC. Vendors can make unrealistic claims for the capabilities and potential efficiencies of their products and that is leading to costly mistakes. I advise GCs to network with their peers, attend discussion forums and events, seek advice from their panel firms and make sure they have spoken to lots of users of any technology they are thinking of implementing.

How have you managed to secure internal buy-in?

We have been able to produce detailed supporting data to show the benefits that technology can bring to certain tasks and processes. It won’t be popular with your legal team, but collecting accurate time recording and volume data is essential or you won’t have credibility with the CFO.

What challenges has implementing technology helped you overcome?  

The single most effective technology we have implemented has been our document management system, as we can now find documents quickly and easily, and share them with others across our organisation. We have also built some RPA (robotic process automation) functionality to take on a couple of extremely repetitive tasks that were previously undertaken by junior staff. Our juniors have been freed up for more interesting work and staff turnover has reduced as a result. Accuracy has increased as robots do not get tired, distracted, take holidays or have bad hair days.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)

I’m highly numerate, I originally trained as an artist, I have an MBA

The In-house Counsel as Business Partner in association with EY conference is being held at the Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel on the 5-6 November. If you’d like more information on the event, including the full agenda and speaker line-up as well as how you can register to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017.