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Nigel Wright – managing director of Converge Technology Specialists on talent, leadership and technology: the three pillars of innovation in law firms

We recently hosted The Trailblazers Conference, which celebrated innovation in legal services delivery. The speakers, all of whom had successfully disrupted the traditional legal services model, outlined their individual approaches to driving innovation and success in their firms. From the conversations and interviews on the day it became apparent that there were three key factors for innovation; finding and developing the right talent, enabling productivity through the intelligent use of technology and providing strong leadership.

Joy Kingsley, senior partner at JMW; Ed Fletcher, chief executive of Fletchers Solicitors; Richard Hodkinson, chief technology officer at DWF; and Paul Hinchliffe, managing director at Bott & Co, shared the secrets of their success and provided their guidance to firms.

Our leaders spoke of their firm’s ability to recruit, develop and retain the best talent, and the emphasis they place on attracting the right candidates to their businesses. The firms each have strong values and spoke of the importance of recruiting people based on the company values so that they attract the best people to deliver the best service to customers. Many firms are investing in the development and training of their own teams to promote home-grown talent.

The ability to deliver strong leadership in tandem with effective communication is vital to innovation. Leaders need to provide direction and see the opportunities within the market place and to define the firm’s strategy. Our Trailblazing firms actively encourage ideas to be shared by everyone in the business and the leaders take time to communicate strategy and engage directly with their teams on a regular basis.

For firms to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the changing legal services market, there is a need to have an agile approach to technology to support the firm as it grows and explores new opportunities. Successful firms are focussing their IT teams on development and added value activities whilst outsourcing areas such as infrastructure to the cloud. They are learning to work smarter, not harder. As law firms make greater use of automation and technology, it is essential that they have robust systems in place, with guaranteed uptime, to deliver the level of service their clients expect.

The legal services market is changing quickly and presents many opportunities to forward-thinking firms. The innovative, flexible and adaptable firms are the ones rising to the top.


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