That was the geek that was
Yesterday saw the first Legal Growth Geek conference in a trendy warehouse setting just off Brick Lane in London. Having successfully run events focussed on legal tech, law tech, legal technology or whatever you want to call it with Legal Geek it was the turn of smaller firms to be in the tech spotlight. The Geeks had assembled a star-studded cast from the SRA, The Law Society and a gallery of thought leaders and tech wizards. With Kieren Windsor gracing a panel discussion after lunch and Michael Burne carrying his bags we were good to go.
Beware People Hackers & Social Engineers!
The day got off to a lively start with Jennifer Radcliffe from Human Factor Security – the people hacker and social engineer. A brilliant, but terrifying, look at how humans are 95% of the reasons behind security breaches and hacks. The way in which both the back and front door of law firms, banks, businesses and our homes are accessible had many in the audience reaching for the phones to see just what they had given away to hackers and scammers!
While there are steps smaller law firms can take to protect themselves and their clients this is just one of many demands competing for time and attention. Obviously, the daily diet of PI insurance, legal cashiering, handling client money, recruitment and retention, premises issues and wait for it…clients demand attention too in all firms of all sizes.
Where do we start with legal tech?
The Geek’s focus was on technology and that’s something that we know a thing or two about. Bamboo’s own Kieren Windsor joined an excellent panel discussion to take a canter through the main things to consider when a smaller law firm is considering changing tech or deploying new tech. The panellists included Dr Heather Anson, Peter Wright and Kirsty Pappin (aka the lady in the blue trousers) and each expert nailed key points to help navigate the legal tech minefield. Some key takeaways were:
💻 Keep things simple. Benefitting from tech doesn't mean implementing everything you can get your hands on! Find tech you need and make the most of its capabilities before looking elsewhere
💻 Focus on Spec over App. Understanding your firms, processes, and preferred outcomes will be a great foundation for finding the right tech solutions. Don't be led by the available Apps and their features. It has to work for your firm, it’s people and clients!
💻 CX over UX. Many solutions in the Lawtech space are improving or addressing the user function for lawyer delivering legal advice. While this is useful, we must focus on the CX or client experience over everything. Having a great internal function is one thing, but passing that on to clients is everything.
💻 Check the contract! Peter warned over the ease with which law firms can become entangled and "trapped" into long term service contracts that are difficult to escape, even if the solution isn't functional.
💻 Use an expert. Kirsty suggested looking outside the organisation to someone that can support you to specify and procure the right technology.
The biggest challenge for small firms
Of course, the biggest challenge for all small law firm leaders is the In/On dilemma. As lawyers they want to work in the business advising clients. Yet as owners they need to work on the business often doing things that are unfamiliar or unwelcome or just way outside their experience. The latter never a comfortable place for a technical expert like a solicitor. Affording an expert, knowing who to choose, working out what to spend are just the beginning of a tech challenge that is not for the feint-hearted!
Our biggest takeaway was the fact 500+ people attended an event to talk about legal tech, but best of all to meet and talk to old friends and new – thanks for having us Legal Geek.