Future focus in legal: perspectives from industry leaders (part 2)

1 August 2017

In the lead up to our Human v Cloud: Computing the People factor of legal services event series, we asked some of our panellists a few warm-up questions to provide a taste of the discussion at the events.

To read Part 1 of this post, click here.

What attracted you to a career in law to begin with?

Clarissa Rayward, Director | Brisbane Family Law Centre

I began my studies in Interior Design and a year and a half in left University and took some time to think about just what I wanted to do. I think then applying to Law for me at that time was to find something that was far away from the design world. I perhaps had a mistaken view that Law would be quite black and white whereas the creative arts are anything but. Fast forward 20 years and now I love that being a lawyer offers me so many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Now, running a business I can still tap into the creative side of my personality but I do also enjoy the intellectual challenge of 'law land' as I like to call it and am grateful (most of the time!) that I made the change all those years ago.

Adrian Agius, Technolegal | Gilbert + Tobin

I enjoyed the advocacy side of things, fighting for something you believe in. This has somewhat turned into fighting for tech in law, but it is equally as fulfilling.

What has been the biggest change you've seen in the profession during your time practicing?

Alisa Taylor, Partner | Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers

The biggest change since I began practicing has been an increase in pace. Email, automation and mobile devices are both banes and blessings to practitioners. They have made it possible to achieve client outcomes quickly and have freed us from our desks. But there are downsides, such as the expectation that the profession is always on and immediately responsive, the squeezing of the 'thinking time' that allows practitioners to be confident in their advice, and the endless proliferation of (mostly irrelevant) information to be sifted, sorted and understood.

What technology do you rely upon the most to do your job?

Jane Bates - Senior Corporate Counsel | Optus

At a basic level, I would be lost without Adobe Acrobat X and Workshare Compare. Everything from scanning and text-recognising old contracts, editing PDF documents, and comparing document versions can be done with a few clicks of my mouse. Like most in-house lawyers, I don't have the time or administrative resources to dedicate to reading a hundred pages to find the clause I need or copy-typing an old document from scratch. And I never have to rely on my eyesight to catch drafting changes that haven't been approved. These software tools save me hours each week that I can better use to support my stakeholders!

Dr Richard Chambers, Director | Melbourne Mindfulness Centre

1. My good old calendar. I put everything in it so I don't forget and set alarms for the important stuff to prompt me to complete tasks.

2. Trello. It is a project management tool that is intuitive and visual and helps me manage tasks. I can assign them to team members and see when they are due and completed.

3. Meditation apps like Headspace, 10% Happier and Smiling Mind. It's a powerful use of technology and actually is the opposite of how we usually use it (i.e. in a distracted, reactive way).

Adrian Agius, Technolegal | Gilbert + Tobin

I work mostly with datasets. I use tools that allow me to manipulate and visualise information. This includes programming languages such as Python, visualisation tools like Tableau and of course, Microsoft Excel. I also use Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for working with larger datasets and storing data.

Paul Catchlove, Chief Operations Officer | Shimizu Kokusai Law Office

There are two pieces of technology that I rely upon most, my smartphone and our firm's cloud-based server. My smartphone enables me to stay connected with clients and staff, as well as managing appointments across our various practice groups. Our firm's cloud-based server enables me to be connected with our files no matter where I am. These two pieces of technology ensure efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness.

Discover the full findings from our survey and panel discussions in Human v Cloud: 2017 Roadshow Report

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