Name: Kerry Westland
Firm: Addleshaw Goddard
Position: Head of Innovation & Legal Technology
Trained at: Addleshaw Goddard
In Hot 100 for: Being Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘secret weapon’ of a legal technologist. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
For me it was attending my first pitch. It was for a client that the firm really wanted to work with, a real passion for some of the partners involved and I was asked to talk, along with one of the partners, about people, process and technology. Walking into the room with 12 people from the client and four really great partners from the firm was really nerve wracking. It went really well and we were appointed to the panel which led to working on one of the biggest projects the client has undertaken as well as working with them on some really great and innovative solutions.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
It’s really hard to pick just one person because a variety of people have helped me develop my career by involving me in some great projects. But the one person in particular would be Mike Potter. He is head of our Transaction Services Team – which I joined in 2010. As my first manager at AG he has really allowed me to develop within the firm. The faith he had in me to help develop the team and then in the innovation and technology piece within the firm has really influenced the roles I’ve ended up doing.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
To do my training contract within the Transaction Services Team. Since 2014, the focus on technology and innovative new ways of working has been immense and I’m glad that I’ve been able to be a part of that at AG whilst still reaching that childhood goal of qualifying as a lawyer. I wouldn’t have imagined when I joined AG that I would be focusing on innovation in the way that I do. I’m really glad I do though!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Be brave. Don’t be shy to suggest new ideas or do things that others think are risky. And try to love what you do. Passion for your career is important and I genuinely enjoy my job. I get excited when my team create a new amazing solution, or we complete a client project with great success.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
To blog, or write more about what we are doing at AG around the innovation piece and the future of the legal profession. I’d like for aspiring lawyers to understand how the profession is changing and what they can/or should be doing about the skills and knowledge they will need to have.