General Counsel – Saffery Champness Offshore, Guernsey
1. How has the Covid-19 crisis affected the way you work as a lawyer? What are the key positives and negatives that have emerged out of lockdown?
We have all become increasingly flexible in where, how and when we work. Some of the positives have been a deeper more meaningful interaction with clients and intermediaries. The challenges have been around the uncertainty, anxiety of a pandemic that seems to be never ending.
2. Will you and your firm/company continue to use flexible and agile working in future? Will you reduce the size of your physical office space?
We already had a flexible hours policy in place well before Covid and this was incredibly popular and we have proved that we can quickly adapt to agile working. I am not sure our office space will shrink per se but how we use it will definitely change with the office becoming more of a hub than a base.
3. How have you employed legal tech during the crisis? What has been successful and what has been lacking?
We already have excellent IT systems and the crisis was in effect a disaster recovery test, as far a pure legal tech we have not deployed much but remain open the power of data mining in order to enhance our understanding of our existing business.
4. How do you see the advancement of legal tech affecting the legal industry in the next 10 years?
There is an inevitable threat to much of the processing work traditionally undertaken by lawyers and tech deployed by rival professionals or challenger business models is likely to disrupt the current model of legal practice.
5. Has your firm/company changed its remuneration structure during the crisis? Will the firm/company consider using a “Keystone” fee-sharing or hybrid remuneration model in future?
Clients are seeking a move away from the open ended chargeable hour commitment and want an element of certainty in their expenditure much the same as we do when working with external counsel.
6. Name one key thing that will be different in the legal profession in 10 years time.
The legal profession in its present format will simply not exist. The current generation of senior equity partners will retire not only themselves but also their profession with much of the work being absorbed by highly specialist boutiques as talent exits firms laterally or by global professional services conglomerates using high levels of automation and machine learning. Specialists will thrive, new challengers will emerge. The next 10 years all professions will face a period of intense evolution and the catalyst for this will be this COVID period.