Stuart Barr is the chief product and strategy officer at HighQ. He has considerable experience in business strategy and...
Rob MacAdam is the vice president of corporate legal solutions at HighQ. He is an experienced legal technology and...
Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...
How is legal tech affecting the inner workings of law firms? Host Jared Correia talks with Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ about how law firms can intelligently use technology to solve genuine problems in daily processes. They delve into the various ways firm culture can influence the collaborative use of legal tech and outline the benefits of choosing a platform that allows for experimentation and creativity. They also discuss common pitfalls in the implementation of new technology and offer guidance for lawyers on ways to overcome these issues.
Stuart Barr is the chief product and strategy officer at HighQ.
Rob MacAdam is the vice president of corporate legal solutions at HighQ.
The Legal Toolkit
Tech Structure & Culture in Law Firms
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit Podcast here on the Legal Talk Network. If you are looking for Mutated Sea Bass, you want Dr. Evil’s Lair.
If you are a returning listener, welcome back. If you are a first-time listener, hopefully you will become a longtime listener.
As always, I am your show host Jared Correia. I am also an American tourist and I demand 00:00:42.
That, and in addition to casting this pod, I am the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting services for law firms, bar associations and legal vendors. Check us out at redcavelegal.com.
And then I am the COO of Gideon Software, Inc., which offers chatbots, a first to market Chatbot Builder and predictive analytics created specifically for law firms. Find out more at www.gideon.legal.
You can listen to my other, other podcast, The Lobby List, a family travel show I host with my wife Jessica on iTunes. Subscribe, rate and comment.
But here on The Legal Toolkit, the podcast you are listening to right now, we provide you twice each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit so that your practices will become more and more like best practices.
In this episode we are going to talk about Legal Technology Culture in Law Firms, legal departments and pretty much everywhere else we can find it.
But before I introduce today’s guests, and that’s right, we have two guests today, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors.
Nexa, formerly known as Answer 1, is a leading virtual receptionist and answering service provider for law firms. Learn more by giving them a call at 800-267-9371 or online at www.nexa.com.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI positive marketing programs today. Visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
TimeSolv is the number one web-based time and billing software for lawyers. Providing solutions since 1999, TimeSolv provides the most comprehensive billing features for law firms big and small, www.timesolv.com. That’s TimeSolv.
We have got two guests today, as I said, so let’s get into it, like Bruce Bogtrotter gets into a chocolate cake.
My first guest today is Stuart Barr of HighQ, where he is the Chief Product and Strategy Officer. Stuart has a diverse background in collaboration, social computing, process improvement and digital transformation in the professional services industry, having previously worked at leading organizations including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hays plc and Headshift.
Stuart has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Cardiff Business School and is an international speaker, author, and thought leader with a passion for transforming the way people work.
Jared Correia: Welcome to the big show Stuart.
Stuart Barr: Hi Jared. Thanks for having me.
Jared Correia: Oh, my pleasure. My next guest works with Stuart, it’s Rob MacAdam, also of HighQ, and he is the Director of Legal Solutions. Rob is an experienced legal technology and innovation consultant specializing in the design and creation of digital solutions to help law firms and corporate legal teams transform the delivery of legal services.
Rob is based in London. Before joining HighQ in 2017, he was a Group Innovation Manager for Pinsent Masons as part of their award-winning SmartDelivery team. Rob regularly contributes to organizations and publications such as ACC, CLOC, The Lawyer, Bloomberg, Corporate Counsel and Law360.
Welcome aboard Rob.
Rob MacAdam: Thanks Jared. Nice to be here.
Jared Correia: Hey Rob, is that real, The Lawyer, there is like a publication called The Lawyer, it’s pretty impressive?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, that’s The Lawyer, yeah, it’s one of the big ones here.
Jared Correia: Over in the UK?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, yeah, yeah, they run events that are pretty big.
Jared Correia: I should read some of that. I must expand my world view, hence gentlemen appearing on the show.
All right, Stuart and Rob, you are both British guys, so I would like to start off with an icebreaker, and this is an important question that I would like to get answered. Who is the better English bear, is it Winnie the Pooh or Paddington? And let’s start with Stuart on this one.
Stuart Barr: No, that is a tricky question. I don’t know. I guess do you like honey or do you like marmalade sandwiches, I would probably go for the honey, so it’s got to be Winnie the Pooh.
Jared Correia: All right, nice. Rob, you differ or do you agree?
Rob MacAdam: No, I differ, as Stuart and I probably often do, but it’s Paddington, it’s got to be Paddington. I find Winnie the Pooh just dull, so yeah, Paddington all the way.
Jared Correia: All right man, we rocked a hot fire here. I am really excited. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I appreciate it. I will have to think about which one I choose; I like both.
All right, so Rob, let’s start with you here. How did you and Stuart meet, because I think you have an interesting story about how you ended up working together?
Rob MacAdam: Yes, actually I was a client of HighQ. When I was at Pinsent Masons we were using HighQ, and I think Stuart and I probably first met at one of the conferences, obviously there are so many legal tech conferences, but I think we met at one of them and then followed that up with kind of a face-to-face meeting, where we kind of got into the nuts and bolts about product roadmap and what I was building in HighQ, and I think we kind of hit it off quite well, and that’s really how we met.
And then a little while later I was asked to go and present at the annual HighQ Forum as a client and then shortly after that was lucky enough to be offered a position at HighQ, and so I ended up jumping the fence and going fender side.
Jared Correia: Fender said, what does that mean; I want to learn a lot of British slang in this episode, can you guys accommodate that?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, it was just more about — obviously I was on the client side, just working with the product and interacting with HighQ through their client success teams, but this just allowed me to kind of get over the fence, and then since joining HighQ I have been involved in marketing, product management, solution consulting, a bit of professional services, it’s fascinating to see how it actually works under the hood, not just from kind of a client side.
Jared Correia: And this is better than law practice, right?
Rob MacAdam: Hands down. Yeah, hands down. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that I qualified as a lawyer and was a lawyer for a period of time, I think it sets you up really well, but it is a big lifestyle commitment and I just find technology and innovation and change in the industry far more interesting than spending time until two or three o’clock in the morning trying to do deals.
Jared Correia: Yeah, move a little faster as well.
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, yeah.
Jared Correia: So Stuart, was Rob lying about any of that? Did he like spill a drink on himself the first time you met him?
Stuart Barr: Well, obviously when he was a client I had to make sure that I was nice to him, and so clearly — and clearly I picked him up, but no, actually I do — I remember the first time I met Rob when he was at Pinsent and they were doing some great stuff back then, and the firm continues to do some great stuff. We love it, we always love it when we see our clients doing innovation and clever stuff on our platform, ultimately that’s why we built the platform. So it’s always great to meet those kinds of clients that are taking things to a new level.
Jared Correia: That’s interesting, and that’s really cool that that’s how this all came together between the two of you guys.
So Stuart, can we expand a little bit on this question and talk a little bit about the difference between the UK, where you guys are working, and the US. I am out of the United States and I personally feel that the UK is so much more progressive in the way they manage their approach to legal services than folks in the US are. Do you have any insight into why that’s the case?
Stuart Barr: It’s a good question and it tends to gets talked about quite a bit inside HighQ and it’s something that we often contemplate, what are the differences and why. I think there is no obvious single reason, I think it’s a confluence of things, but one thing that I think is definitely a contributing factor as to why the UK has been I guess forced perhaps to evolve at a quicker rate is there is more competition here, and I think you have got various different firms, particularly the big international firms based here in London that have come under quite a lot of pressure over the last few years in particular to deliver a better service to their clients under more pricing pressure, new types of law firms, smaller sort of more boutiquey startup firms, but also alternative legal service providers putting pressure.
So when you look at that legal landscape here in the UK, I think it’s more complex and more challenging for the firms to remain profitable if they don’t adapt and react to the market conditions and you just don’t see that quite the same level of pressure in the US.
I think there is more legal work to go around and there is probably a little bit less pressure, but it is changing, and we do see the US market sort of following the UK to the extent that it is evolving and clients there we see are more interested now in some of the things that UK firms are perhaps been doing for a little while to become more efficient and effective at delivering services to their clients in a more transparent and modern way.
So I would say those are probably the reasons and we are definitely seeing the US catch up now and a lot of interest in the sorts of things that we do.
Jared Correia: Yeah, slowly, but surely, right, and yeah, I think competition drives innovation, so there you go.
Now Rob, let’s turn back to you for a second, let’s talk a little bit about one aspect of the innovative approach to legal services in the UK. What has been the impact of ABS in the UK and then do you want to explain a little bit about what that is as well?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, so I think just the — in terms of that kind of — there is all types of business structures, I think this has been an interesting one, I think the impacts to them is probably overstated about 10 years ago when everyone was worried about the kind of encroaching ownership from non-lawyers in the legal sector. I don’t think that’s transpired. I think some of the kind of scare stories probably haven’t come to pass.
I think we are seeing some impact, for example, some of the big accountancy firms like KPMG or EY now kind of branching back into legal services that I tried to perform in the past. You have got kind of high street names and big brand high street names that are kind of dipping their toe in legal services as well, and then obviously we have got law firms that are restructuring and even floating on the stock market and doing IPOs. So I think there is different ways we have seen it play out. I think it’s all good development so I think it plays into that environment.
Stuart just referenced about the kind of heightened competitiveness, I think that’s good, it’s driving competition in the market. You have got the accountancy firms doing some very interesting things in legal services. I think the IPA is being done by law firms, that’s obviously freeing up additional funding, allowing them to be a little bit more forward-thinking, brave in the way that they are tackling markets, new markets and doing things like innovation. So I think it’s probably not been exactly as people thought it would play out, but I think it’s been a positive change and it’s developing slowly.
Jared Correia: That’s good. All right, so everybody in the US, when this happens it will happen, don’t be scared.
So we are off to a good start here, but we have got to take a break. We have got to go make that paper. So here are some of the things that you should buy.
Jared Correia: Do you feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years, Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, to attract new cases and to grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and to generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
Jared Correia: All right everybody, thanks for not leaving. I have a nice gooseberry pie cooling just for you, and I am here chatting with Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ. We are here to talk about Tech Culture in Law Firms.
All right guys, let’s drill down a little bit to some nuts and bolts here. So Rob, I will kick it off with you again. How does legal technology tend to promote collaboration within a law firm, because I think you hear a lot of people talking about how technology actually divides in a law firm, especially on generational lines?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, it’s an interesting one. I think that comes — whether it divides, I think comes down to the quality of the products and the way it was implemented, but I think in terms of how it’s having an impact to promote collaboration, I guess it comes back to what tools we are talking about.
As a lawyer, if I think back to what was available to me in a law firm to help me collaborate, really it was Outlook and that’s a tool that is not really designed for team collaboration. Email wasn’t designed for allowing lawyers within their teams, across teams or even with outside — with their clients to actually collaborate and I think what we are seeing now is kind of a greater use of tools that is starting to grease the wheels of collaboration internally at law firms.
So making it easier to communicate, to share knowledge, to share documents, to share know-how, to track data, to visualize data, putting everyone in a kind of completely transparent picture about what is happening across a team, across a practice group, across a matter or a project.
So I think that’s definitely what we are seeing that they can greatly use technology to just get people out of email. I am working with tools that are designed for collaboration in the modern law firm, not tools that were designed for people to send emails 10, 15 years ago.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it, like lawyers love the hell out of Outlook, it’s so true, but get beyond that.
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, or circulating things by — circulating data or updates in a Word document or in an Excel document, all of which is unstructured data, but is all relevant and it’s all siloed in people’s inboxes, on desktops, where is that single source of truth, where is that central point that everyone can go to access all the information they need across their firm or across their team or across their project group. At the moment it doesn’t really exist and that’s what we try and endeavor to do is give that single source of truth, give that platform to allow people to collaborate.
Stuart Barr: I often describe email as a black hole of knowledge. It’s kind of where knowledge goes to die, because the problem with email, whilst it’s a great way of collaborating on a kind of one-to-one basis, the issue is that only the people that sent it and the people that received it know it exists, unless you are putting it somewhere else in a kind of knowledge sharing platform or some way that it’s discoverable, then it’s not of any value to anyone else.
So by using a kind of collaborative system and a system that’s inherently sort of social in the sense that it captures knowledge as you are working, you can kind of capture and share knowledge as you are being productive, as you are getting your work done on a daily basis.
Jared Correia: Yes Stuart, that is a great way to describe email; I am smiling pretty broadly right now, the black hole of all knowledge. That’s good stuff.
So let’s talk a little bit about law firm culture because I think that comes into play here, and I also did tease that a little bit when we were talking about this episode title. What kind of culture is required of law firms Stuart to implement technology effectively and like how should managing partners engage that discussion and then start to act on what they want to do?
Stuart Barr: Yeah, I guess this is the biggest question of all really, because you can put all the technology you like in place, but unless the culture is there, unless people are prepared to change, prepared to think of it differently, work a bit differently, any piece of technology you put in will fall flat on its face. So the culture is crucial and the change management is crucial.
I think for me it all starts with, first of all, realizing that you probably need to change and the firm needs to change its mindset, the way that it thinks about how it works internally, the way that it thinks about how it engages with its clients externally, and it has to kind of make that switch from thinking that email and Word documents attached to emails is a good way of collaborating, to realizing that that’s perhaps a problem and that there is a better way of working.
Once that realizations happen, then you have got to be open to some degree of change and there are many aspects to collaboration, it’s not just communication, which is fundamentally what email is; it’s actually working with your colleagues, with your clients in a kind of more transparent way, as Rob said, capturing everything in a kind of central source of truth.
It’s actually using collaboration tools to run projects and standardized processes and to kind of increase transparency around project progress and status and all these types of things. And it all starts with culture and change management and understanding that you need to change, there are better ways of working, you need to modernize and you just can’t stick to kind of the old ways that have worked for you for the last 20 years, there is a better way, and if you can open your mind to that, then I think you have made the first step.
Jared Correia: Totally. I usually talk to law firms and tell them that like inertia is like the killer of everything they want to do because it takes over.
Stuart Barr: Yeah, absolutely. I think cultural inertia in particular is probably the biggest barrier to change and innovation across the industry without a doubt.
Jared Correia: Yeah, absolutely. All right, so Rob, let’s turn back to you for a second here and talk about something that law firms I think fixate on, the pitfalls of adopting new technology. I think culturally there are issues to overcome in law firm, but also this is a problem as well, because lawyers understand that generally speaking when you are adopting a new technology, there is something of a productivity dip that starts once you are learning how to use it and apply it in your system, and then there is a payoff, but sometimes a payoff is eventual, and even if that payoff is like two, three months down the road and not necessarily immediate as you learn how to use technology, that’s difficult for some lawyers to accept.
So like how do you talk to lawyers about adding new technology, avoiding pitfalls and just sticking with it?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, for me, it kind of falls into two camps; it’s kind of the pitfalls in approaching — procuring technology and it’s the pitfalls that are there in deploying technology. And I think some of these we have obviously already touched on, but in terms of the kind of pitfalls in terms of procuring technology, I think too often law firms tend to fixate on perhaps some of the newest, shiniest technology that’s out there on the market. So they will look at AI tools because that’s the flavor of the month right now, so they will think they need to go buy some AI. And then they will try and retrospectively fit that into some process they have internally, thinking it’s going to be kind of a magic wand and fix some of their kind of productivity and value drivers.
And that’s not the case and it comes back to starting with the problem, starting with the pain point, and I think that’s one of the ways of overcoming pitfalls is to start not with the technology, but to identify what challenges are your firm or your clients facing and then thinking about how you can intelligently use technology. If technology is at all applicable looking at how you can use technology to relieve and overcome some of those challenges and pitfalls.
So making sure you’re actually solving genuine problems is the first way and I think also it’s about involving the broad group of people and clients and other lawyers right across the board from partner down to even secretary and PA who are going to be involved in this program and use technology and involve them in that process as well.
And then there’s also the kind of — if you do go through our process and select the right tool and deploy a useful piece of technology, it isn’t just a case of just throwing it into the business and thinking great, we’ve identified something great, it’s going to have a huge impact.
There’s so much legwork to do once you deploy technology, and it goes back to making sure it stays relevant and people are trained on it, they know how to use it, there’s a support system in place. There’s a mechanism to take feedback so that you can learn by what’s working what’s not working and feed that back into the process to improve the tool and improve the service that you’re providing.
So just to summarize kind of tackling the challenges and the pain points involving a broad group of people in stakeholders and making sure they’re supported and once rollouts there and making sure you iterate and improve going forward so you don’t just go static at one point in time. And I think we can do that, that’s how you really overcome some of the pitfalls of tech deployment I think.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I think Stuart talked about this briefly as well which is like this idea of transparency and I like how your approach is that you involve all the stakeholders or as many stakeholders as possible to make the best decisions.
Rob MacAdam: Exactly, because as other ways, yeah, I’ve had this before. One of the main reasons people will not use technology is because they don’t feel like they were included in the process of selecting that technology. Now, I know you can’t involve an entire firm, but there’s no better way to switch people off from technology if it was just procured by a handful of people who’ve just decided what’s best for the firm at least kind of solicit input from a broad group of people.
Certainly you’re tying the decision you make around technology back to a broad range of views within the business, if we don’t do that then it’s easy for people to say I wouldn’t have chosen that tool, so I’m not going to use it.
Stuart Barr: And importantly I think as well particularly when you’re designing solutions for clients, make sure the client is involved in those conversations and part of that process. I don’t mean your clients should choose your technology for you but once you’ve chosen your technology as you’re saying Rob, you’re designing solutions that are solving problems and those problems will be often be clients problems not just your own.
So make sure the clients in the room with you when you’re discussing those solutions and when you’re designing those solutions and they’re part of that kind of co-design process.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s a great approach. I think you guys are spot-on as far as this is concerned, and this is a good spot to take our second break.
We’re talking with Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ, and let’s take our break and catch our collective breath. Now, listen to some more words from our sponsors.
Imagine billing day being the happiest day of the month instead of the day you dread. Nobody went to law school because they love drafting invoices for clients. At TimeSolv, our attorneys save on average over eight hours a month in billing work. That means more billable time and turning billing day into happy day. Learn more about how to get to your time and billing happy place at timesolv.com. That’s www.timesolv.com. Remember, that’s timesolv.com.
If you’re missing calls, appointments and potential clients, it’s time to work with Nexa Professional. More than just an answering service, Nexa’s virtual receptionists are available 24/7 to schedule appointments, qualify leads, respond to emails, integrate with your firm’s software, and much, much more. Nexa ensures your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call at 800-267-9371 or visit them at nexa.com/podcast for a very special offer.
Jared Correia: All right, thanks for coming back once more. I hope you enjoyed your casserole sandwich, I know I did. Now, let’s get back to our conversation with Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ. We’re talking about what technology looks like in let’s call it a modern law firm.
All right, Stuart, let’s kick it off with you this time. This notion of a legal hub and we talked about lack of silos before transparency, how would you describe this idea of a legal hub?
Stuart Barr: So I think when we talk about legal hubs what we really mean is that kind of a place where both internal and external people can come together. So a practicing attorney internally and a client externally and multiples of those can come together in a central place to get work done fundamentally, and at HighQ, we try to bring as many of the kind of the facets of work together as possible whether that’s sharing a document or reporting on the status or billing and financial information or whether that’s actually managing tasks and other things, bring that together into a central hub that you can all go to as we’ve said a couple of times already on this call, I guess the single source of the truth.
But importantly we know that we certainly can’t do everything and there are other really important systems that we need to integrate with whether that’s systems of record like Active Directory for on-boarding and off-boarding users or pulling in financial data from internal practice management systems or whether it’s transactional tools, things like signing a document using DocuSign or syncing documents into iManage or NetDocuments or other systems that we need to integrate with as part of the kind of the legal-tech ecosystem.
So, for us, the concept of the legal hub means kind of being at the center of all of that and building capabilities yourselves but then integrating with the other core capabilities in the whole legal-tech landscape so that you can provide this holistic, integrated, kind of unified solution and experience for end users rather than the alternative which is going off and having to leverage lots of different point solutions that solve individual problems.
The problem with that of course is that users have to context switch and learn how to use different systems and IT have to administer and deploy different systems. So if you can bring all that together into one hub and integrate through a unified experience, you’re going to get much greater productivity, efficiency and hopefully, ultimately, adoption by all of your users.
Jared Correia: Yeah, and I think this is a great segue. So, Rob, let’s talk about this notion. What do you view is the benefits of managing a software platform or using a software platform in a law firm versus instead using all these various disconnected legal or non-legal softwares?
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, it’s a good question and just touching back on that presentation I originally gave back at the HighQ forum. The presentation title was Digital LEGO, because that’s essentially what I saw HighQ as a client. It was a digital set of LEGO that allowed me as a client to get creative, to take all the features and functionality that was available within the platform and construct solutions across a range of different areas, practice groups, teams, jurisdictions.
So, for me, the benefit of a platform is you have to find budget once and you have to go through a procurement process once, not ten different times to buy ten different solutions. And if you’ve got an ecosystem that is built up of various different tools, you’ve got the challenge there of knitting it together, because obviously you don’t want to create data silos.
So then you’ve got the challenge of trying to bring those systems together and make them tie in together because the big focus right now is actually plating data and centralizing data so you can drive better insight and analysis and data-driven decision-making.
So, you don’t have to go through that knitting together process with a platform, it’s already there. You’ve got one platform that can tackle multiple different solutions, but as Stuart said, all these platforms want to play nice, they want to integrate as well as we do and others do.
So, there’s the option there of seamlessly integrating with some of the tools but ultimately you’re doing everything within one platform, one unified experience, one area where data is being collected and you’re driving insight and analysis. And I think for me as a client, perhaps the biggest attraction to a platform and a tool that is essentially like a set of digital LEGO is that it actually democratizes creativity. It allows people within the business to have an idea and you’ve got a tool there that can easily be customized and deployed to try and solve different challenges.
So it allows for speed of — a solutionizing speed of value delivery within the firm without then having to go back out to go and look for another tool to try and deliver your creative idea. You’ve got the kit available to you to just take it, be creative, experiment, and that’s going to be good for firms.
I think the more experimentation and more creativity, the better, and that’s going to be where the differentiation comes.
Jared Correia: Lawyers being creative, are you sure?
Rob MacAdam: Absolutely, I mean, I’m skeptic and we will talk about so lawyers need to learn to code and should they began developing their own software. I taught myself to code but that wasn’t because I thought I needed to be a lawyer than to code. It was actually trying to escape the law as an alternative career path. If lawyers don’t want to learn to code, they don’t have to.
I think it’s actually — it’s all about being emphatic, being creative, trying to be — to discover challenges and pain points and that’s where the ideas come from. So I think it’s more about encouraging inquisitive lawyers and creative lawyers that it is encouraging coding lawyers.
Stuart Barr: Yeah, absolutely, and I think one thing that we’re really trying to do at HighQ is as Rob says democratize some of the power of technology by making it available in a kind of a no code application bill type environment, so you don’t need to know.
Rob started coding and that was one of the reasons he’s able to leverage the power of the HighQ platform. Actually that was a few years ago and since then we’ve productized many of the advanced features which make them much more accessible to non-technical users, and then as long as like Rob says, 00:30:14 creativity and they can look at a business problem and then leverage the right pieces of that digital LEGO building blocks, leverage the right pieces they can solve lots and lots of different problems. So, marrying kind of that legal knowledge and that problem-solving ability with a great technology toolkit, you can solve pretty much any problem.
Rob MacAdam: Yeah, it’s what you and I talk about very regularly which is that concept of the legal engineer. I think that’s what we need more of in the legal industry. It’s those lawyers that span different disciplines. They are creative, they are technical in terms of the law, they are familiar with technology but not necessarily deeply familiar in terms of kind of coding. I think it’s those different skills that come together to kind of create those legal engineers, and I think the more law firms can leverage those types of people the more likely they are to succeed at their kind of innovation goals and their transformation goals.
Stuart Barr: Certainly, and I guess the most creative clients that we see tend to be the ones that do achieve the most transformation and innovation because they have that blend of legal, technical and creativity that really allows them to move the needle and genuinely change the way they deliver legal services to their clients and actually create new types, completely new types of products and services that they offer to their clients.
Jared Correia: All right, Stuart, you get this $60,000 question here. Law firms looking to implement new technology in their practices, like what guideposts should they be looking for, how should they start basically?
Stuart Barr: I think we touched on this earlier on actually and I think the crucial thing is start with the problem not with the technology. So, don’t go out there looking for technology and then buy technology and then start trying to find problems to solve, do it absolutely the other way around, start by identifying what are the areas that you need to try and change, where are you finding efficiencies or where are you looking for new ways of working or new products or services you want to deliver to your clients. Start with those business challenges then go out and try and find the right technology or technologies that you can use to solve those problems.
So that’s absolutely the starting point, and I think Rob said this earlier on that we do see people going out and just wanting to tick boxes and say, oh yeah, we have AI, we have workflow, we have data visualization, we have this, we have that, which is great, but it doesn’t solve your problems. What solves your problem is careful understanding of what that problem is and then a good process to design a solution with the right combination of people process and technology and those legal engineers that Rob referred to and the digital LEGO technical building blocks and you put all of that together and that is how you will be successful at modernizing and transforming your firm into what we refer to as a smart law firm.
Jared Correia: Excellent. I think that’s really great. So, no new shiny objects, right, avoid those?
Stuart Barr: Well, yeah, by all means buy some shiny objects, but just make sure you’re making the most of the ones you’ve already got before you go and buy some new ones, that’s the other thing that we see a lot of is firms buying technology for buying technology’s sake and actually they have a whole toolkit, a whole armory of tech that they’ve already bought that is not yet being fully leveraged. And so I would say make the most of what you’ve already got. Identify the needs and fill those needs with new technology if you need to, but make sure you have a look at what’s already on the boat.
Jared Correia: Awesome. This has been really fun. I appreciate you guys coming on and managing the time change here because I’m on the east coast of the United States and you folks are in England, and we’ve reached the end of yet another episode of The Legal Toolkit Podcast.
This was the podcast about technology structure and organization within law firms and we’ve been talking with Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ.
Now, I’ll be back on future shows with further insights into My Soul, the Soul of America, and maybe now England too, we’ll see, and the Legal Market. If you’re feeling nostalgic for my dulcet tones; however, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at legaltalknetwork.com.
So thanks again to Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ for making appearances as my guest today.
All right, Stuart and Rob, can you tell everyone how they can find out more about HighQ? And Stuart, I’ll let you start.
Stuart Barr: Sure. Yeah, I mean, the most obvious way is to go to our website, you go to highq.com and you can see about our solutions and offerings for private practice law firms, but also in-house offerings for corporate legal teams as well.
Jared Correia: Awesome. Rob, do you have anything to add to that?
Rob MacAdam: Like Stuart said go and check out the website, lots of information there. Some good case studies in there as well. If you want to see how other firms are leveraging HighQ, but I think that’s the definitely the base to start.
Jared Correia: All right. So thanks again to Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ.
Finally, thanks to all of you out there for listening.
This has been The Legal Toolkit Podcast. For the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, that and the Russell’s Python.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.
If you would like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via iTunes and RSS. Find Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Legal Toolkit highlights services, ideas, and programs that will improve lawyers' practices and workflow.
Jane Oxley, president of Smokeball, gives step-by-step guidance for small firms on how to choose and utilize tools for greater productivity.
Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ discuss how law firms can leverage their current technology and make smart choices for new legal...
Kimberly Rice offers actionable steps lawyers can use to develop a marketing mindset and take ownership of their legal career.
Louie Balasny discusses how modern law firms can benefit from virtual bookkeeping software.
Pieter Gunst shares strategies and resources for lawyers inspired to enter the legal tech space.
Keith Shannon talks about why it's important for lawyers to have paralegals and legal assistants, how to go about finding the right person, and...