Why in-house lawyers should change their approach to technology

Why in-house lawyers should change their approach to technology

Paul GilbertPaul Gilbert is Chief Executive of LBC Wise Counsel the UK based specialist management and skills training consultancy for lawyers.

Paul qualified as a UK solicitor in 1987 and for much of his career he was an in-house lawyer. Paul was the General Counsel in two major UK financial services companies and held positions as chairman and chief executive of the national in-house lawyers Commerce & Industry Group. For six years Paul was a Council Member of the England & Wales Law Society and was elected to the Society’s Main Management Board.

Here Paul challenges in-house lawyers to change their approaches to technology.

IT ... The challenge is clear, the prize is big, the race is on...

Technology plays an increasing role in all our lives and to a large extent we welcome this as an opportunity and an essential need.

We see this in our obsessive updating of phone-camera-music devices, to our use of tablets, laptops and the development of home entertainment systems. We spin around the latest gadgets and functions with wide-eyed enthusiasm and zeal. From the age of about two years old children know that pressing buttons means stuff happens. Computers that run our lives have become a ubiquitous cliché and I suspect that available broadband speeds are as big a factor in deciding where we go on holiday as the attractiveness of the sea view!

We relax with technology, we commune with technology, and we drive, walk, run and talk with technology. It is intuitive, facilitative, fun, useful and, relatively speaking, inexpensive.

...Now look around the majority of offices where in-house lawyers work.

You will see lawyers surrounded by paper, bemoaning the lack of space and shackled to handheld devices pinging a never ending stream of messages and meeting requests. It is a dam of information perpetually about to burst and always moments away from washing the lawyers away on a grand rapid of unmanaged demand.

It does not look intuitive, facilitative and it definitely isn’t fun. There is no time to think, no budget to invest, no space to invent.

It used to be that a team’s annual jaunt to a local hotel for their off-site away-day was about team building and a gentle nod in the direction of steady-as-we-go strategy

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