The following is a part of a series of interviews with legal professionals and their experiences and interaction with innovation and technology in the legal sector. We hope you’ll get value from what others have learnt along the way and their recommendations.
An interview with Terri Bray, Practice Manager at Wynyard Wood
What has been your experience or interaction with legal innovation and technology?
The partners of WW decided to go “paper-less” back in April 2015 i.e. move to digital files. The decision was unanimous. As part of the paperless move all authors have been provided with Surface Pro’s so they can take notes in meetings (directly on to the Surface Pro), the ability to Skype and to be able to access information wherever they are working. I would be lying if I said that this has not been challenging, but the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
What changes have you seen in your firm, team or organisation recently?
With at least 50% of our staff working in some sort of flexible arrangement, going to digital files has been invaluable. Authors have the ability to easily work from home, access information from Court and generally operate anywhere out of the office, including at clients’ homes and premises.
What challenges or barriers do you face when innovating or looking to use new tech?
The challenges are many and varied ranging from staff resistance to change, time constraints, taking busy lawyers away from their work to bringing them up to speed with the new product, making sure everyone gets the most out of the new technology and establishing which technology products are relevant from the overwhelming array available on the market.
What opportunities do you see with legal innovation?
- Better meeting client needs. This is our firm mantra. The expectation on the part of the clients that we deliver them solutions quickly and in a format that works for them (not a one size fits all) will increase. The “Google everything” phenomenon means our delivery will need to be more interactive – e.g. online form filling, access to commonly sort resources, online chat, more meetings via video etc.
- More opportunity to take advantage of staff being able to work flexibly.
- Savings in funding expensive infrastructure.
- Better client interaction.
With greater adoption of tech and more innovation, how do you see your role evolving in the future?
The role is becoming more procurement based, requiring a lot more time researching products, carrying out due diligence, implementation and change management.
LawFest is focused on innovation and tech in the legal profession, why do you think it’s important for legal professionals to attend an event like LawFest?
Helping to keep firms abreast of what is going on in the market and bring it all together in one place.
As a firm that wants to be at the leading edge (though probably not the leader) you get to see how things are developing and how they are being used by others.