Gareth Ashton

Gareth Ashton

Managing Director – COUNSEL-R ENERGY, Thailand

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?

Very little. Given my clients are predominantly based internationally, our main interactions through our day to day workings had been through video-conferencing, so the requirements to work from home for me and my clients have not impacted at all our working relationship. 

Clearly the main impact as been the inability to travel for such an extended period and not be able to business develop in the more traditional sense of being able to meet others face to face or otherwise catch up in a more social setting with my clients. There have been many positives though, with more time spent with the family (even if on a more confined basis) and greater solidifying the recognition that remote supported businesses (such as mine) are a viable and quite compelling solution for companies.  

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 are a lean team of 2 so our physical office needs are small in any event so that will not change, and flexible and agile working is a key aspect of our business (even prior to Covid-19).

3. How have you employed legal tech during the crisis? What has been successful and what has been lacking?

We have not used any additional specific legal technology beyond those which we already used such as template subscription software. Our flexible business offering how allows us to adopt technologies and other preferred platforms that our clients use so as to integrate on a closer basis with each of our clients, and that has been hugely successful in order to allow us to ‘sit closer’ to our clients during a period during which perhaps they are more disrupted by the ‘work from home’ orders.

4. How do you see the advancement of legal tech affecting the legal industry in the next 10 years?

Developments of legal technology will be significant, as technology is across all industries. It is important to be strong in the industry to be flexible and open to such developments. History has shown us across many industries, that if you are reluctant to accept such change then you will fall behind those who are more willing. As ever though, each technological development has to be assessed on its own merits and in the context of the firm’s specific needs to ensure that only those that are going to be of tangible benefit are sought to be adopted, as any such change is always to some extent disruptive for a period of 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? 

Our remuneration structure has not changed given our lean team.

6. Name one key thing that will be different in the legal profession in 10 years time.

I expect that clients will demand a greater amount of flexibility and transparency from law firms, and a greater use of specialist legal consultants on more flexible commercial terms to become a more prominent practice.

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