Mark Oakley

Mark Oakley

Managing Partner – ACSV Legal, Vietnam

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?

Covid-19 created a novel set of challenges for our business. Operationally business was pretty much unaffected and team members and clients quickly became accustomed to working remotely and adapted to the various conferencing platforms available. Of more impact to FDI was business interruption caused by forced business closures and the inability of investors to enter the country.

2. Will you and your company continue to use flexible and agile working in future? Will you reduce the size of your physical office space?

We will certainly continue to adopt a flexible approach to working remotely, but we will also maintain our offices as, for now at least, office space fosters collegiality, a forum for team exchange and a physical expression of the firm’s brand.

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

Our technology platform has been robust throughout the pandemic. We have great IT support through our IT partners Zero Alpha and IT / Legal tech has not been an issue for us. 

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

Probably the most noticeable impact of Covid-19 will be a deeper acceptance of remote working norms. I don’t think this is specific to the legal industry, but will undoubtedly give rise to other challenges such as maintaining brand identity and team morale.

5. Has your company changed its remuneration structure during the crisis?

Fortunately ACSV Legal is a conservative firm and while the management hopes for the best we plan for the worst. ACSV Legal was well positioned to weather the storm, and we did not cut any salaries or furlough any team members.

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

Certain aspects of the legal industry will become increasingly commoditised and automated by AI. A shift away from large firms to more autonomous individual practitioners working from shared but integrated platforms will likely also follow. Finally, working remotely will become part of the profession. 

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