Managing Partner – Babbé LLP, 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?
In terms of how things have gone, I am surprised at how effective I have been working remotely. I do not think that I am able to do all of my job (particularly those things relating to management/ marketing that do require more face to face) but I am surprised at how I have managed with remote access and the like. I also think that many of us have improved our communication within the office both at a departmental and at firm level. I think that the crisis has also forced us to look much more stringently at our disaster recovery capabilities as well as things like cyber security and AML. It has also been a good opportunity to keep connected with our clients, which I sense that many of our competitors have not done so well. Many of our clients have expressed their appreciation of our ongoing connection with them despite the crazy times we have been living through.
2. Will you and your firm/company continue to use flexible and agile working in the future? Will you reduce the size of your physical office space?
This has yet to be fully worked out. We are certainly looking at how other firms and businesses are dealing with it. We are committed to having the office as the focal point of the business but I am sure that some form of flexibile/agile working will be incorporated into our business model. There is certainly an increasing recognition of the potential value in allowing people to undertake some work from home, but perhaps depending on the role of the individual.
3. How have you employed legal tech during the crisis? What has been successful and what has been lacking
Not precisely sure what you mean in relation to legal tech. Remote working has worked pretty well. We have been able to do pretty much everything at home that we could do in the office, not least because most of our research function is online rather than relying upon books. I would say that the only real problem has been the requirement which still exists (but necessarily not across all business lines) for hard copy documents. I have still got to get my head around printing at home and the security implications of that.
When we went into lockdown, we were rather pressed into using Zoom for many purposes including “meeting” clients, Court appearances and marketing “visits”. After a few teething problems, this all appeared to work rather well. In particular, I found it a particularly good way of dealing with a number of Court applications involving multiple parties, particularly where some participants are located elsewhere.
Going forward, this is still being used on a regular basis and the Court has indicated a willingness to use this technology in appropriate situations. And some local clients still find it a convenient way of “meeting” me, saving them the hassle of finding parking! It is also good for anyone working remotely, whether that be at home or further afield.
4. How do you see the advancement of legal tech affecting the legal industry in the next 10 years?
I am not really able to comment on this at this point in time.
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?
The short answer is no. Remuneration structure generally is presently under review.
6. Name one key thing that will be different in the legal profession in 10 years time.
It is very hard to say in the offshore context. Frankly, perhaps the bigger question for my point of view is how the offshore world will look in ten years’ time. We have been asking that question for the last thirty years!