Nearly $1bn was invested in legal technology and New Law disruptors in 2018. That was across more than 50 funding rounds and included start-ups through to more established players, according to research from Investec. Venture capital, private equity, non-legal companies and trade buyers are increasingly interested in what they see as a highly-lucrative legal sector.
The frequency and scope of legal tech funding has also jumped markedly: a Thomson Reuters report in mid-2017 put investment into UK legal tech start-ups at just £16m in the previous 18 months. Hundreds of legal tech companies have subsequently popped up. Every law firm is quick to tout its latest innovation or partnership with a technology provider, while some even have incubators where they work with start-ups over several months, honing products. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Legal tech – Too much of a good thing?”
‘A good general counsel (GC) should do three things,’ says National Grid’s Alison Kay: ‘Manage the legal requirements of the business, manage their people and manage their budget.’ But as managing the legal requirements of a large business becomes more time consuming, GCs are increasingly finding it difficult to pay adequate attention to costs and staff.
‘In-house is fighting constantly for staffing and budget against compliance, enterprise risk and other areas, and teams are stretched thin just responding to demand,’ says Leigh Dance, founder and president of ELD International. ‘The GC’s time is taken by dealing with board-level issues and often there is no second tier of in-house professionals with the time or experience to implement new technology or make the case for legal operations support.’ Continue reading “The New GC Toolkit: Hired help – bringing new skills to legal teams”
‘There’s a palpable sense of innovation in the legal industry,’ says Casey Flaherty, founder of legal technology consultancy Procertas. ‘But then,’ he adds, ‘there always has been.’
While heads of innovation are now an established part of the law firm landscape – among the better-known names in this rapidly expanding sub-profession of business development are Derek Southall of Gowling WLG, Bas Boris Visser of Clifford Chance, Kathryn DeBord of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Knut-Magnar Aanestad of Norwegian firm Kluge – their impact on the practice of law is more muted. Continue reading “The New GC Toolkit: The innovation illusion”
In-house teams are using new techniques and recruiting specialists to take a more sophisticated approach to procuring legal services
In April last year, US-based tech services provider DXC Technology was formed following the merger of The Hewlett-Packard Company’s enterprise division with Computer Sciences Corporation. It was the ideal opportunity for general counsel (GC) Bill Deckelman (pictured) to sit down with senior management and establish what the legal function should look like. Continue reading “The New GC Toolkit: The discerning customer – smarter procurement”
For general counsel (GCs) struggling to manage the administrative and regulatory burdens of the role, a head of operations has become the must-have accessory. In the US, the growth of legal ops is demonstrated by statistics. A recent Association of Corporate Counsel survey suggests that nearly half of all GCs in the US have appointed a legal ops professional to drive transformation, while the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) is targeting a membership of 50% of the Fortune 500 by mid-2019. Our global survey shows these numbers are less representative of trends outside the US, but only slightly. Just under a third (30%) of GCs globally currently have a head of legal operations, while a further 13% are looking to recruit one in the near future.
Aine Lyons was one of the first to take on a truly global legal ops role when, in 2010, she became head of worldwide legal operations at cloud infrastructure provider VMware. She continues to act as VMware’s global head of legal ops in addition to serving as chief of staff to GC Amy Fliegelman Olli. In November 2015 she became part of CLOC’s global leadership team and now leads its European chapter. Continue reading “The New GC Toolkit: Journey into the unknown – upgrading operations and tech”
‘It was so long ago,’ reflects Malcolm Sweeting, Clifford Chance’s (CC) senior partner, of his promotion to partner in 1990. ‘My only involvement in the process was playing football in Hackney one winter when a junior partner sidled up. “It’s all looking good,” he cryptically confided, before sidling away. Later, the senior partner rang me to say congratulations.’
Nearly 30 years from that night, the once obtuse path to partnership has been replaced with an excess of procedure, meaning the latest generation of partners has gone through a very different tournament to their colleagues currently nearing retirement. Continue reading “All restless souls – City firms braced as partnership goes Millennial”
The Partnership Scoreboard – Trends and tribulations
As part of our analysis of the modern realities of partnership, Legal Business collected data on partnership rounds for the last three years across three groups: the top ten UK law firms by revenue, the ten US-based law firms with the largest organically-built London branches and a select group of mid-tier City players.
The most obvious observation is that there has been – barring a few exceptions – little easing up of the post-banking crisis clampdown on making up partners. One City head of a major US firm notes: ‘It’s harder to become a partner. All the firms are focused on profitability, the motivations are a lot more financial. Firms will always question the business case.’ Continue reading “Crunching the data – Trends and tribulations”
‘The Dickensian management role of closed doors is a thing of the past.’
Jonathan Kewley, partner and co-head of Clifford Chance’s tech group. Made up in 2017
What attracted you to partnership?
I’m working in tech, a space that didn’t exist 30 years ago. There are challenges facing clients that didn’t exist five years ago. The tech environment fits with the character traits of partnership. You have to be entrepreneurial, and it’s more exciting to be that way. It maintains interest. Continue reading “Partnership Perspectives”