The 60 second interview: Agile working is the future of law

Ignition Law co-founder Alex McPherson talks to The Lawyer ahead of this year’s Business Leadership Summit, which focuses on the law firm of 2025.

What is the future of legal service delivery?

Alex McPherson

As lawyers begin to adopt new technologies, implement agile working initiatives and shift away from the billable hours culture that currently reigns supreme in our industry, we should see more client-focused legal service delivery. The future of the industry lies in firms not only identifying clients’ needs and problems, but also solving them in real time.

Law firms should look towards disruptive growth companies – start-ups, scale ups and entrepreneurs – to emulate their working practices and appreciate how their use of technology allows them to understand their clients’ needs inside out.

By embracing technology, we can expect to see a new type of law firm: one that brings a fresh and innovative approach, challenging current cultures and working to both the needs of the client and the law firm team.

Will every lawyer be agile working/working remotely by 2025?

Agile working practices have already become standard practice for many employers. However, the issue still carries a degree of stigma within the legal profession, with many of the belief that agile working does not fit with the industry culture and can have an adverse impact on fee generation.

Whilst traditional law firms may argue that they have begun to adopt agile working practices – allowing employees to hot desk, the introduction of collaborative spaces, the odd day working from home – they are a long way off from fully embracing the benefits that agile working can offer.

Nevertheless, this is definitely a step in the right direction. As the millennial influence becomes more prominent, and these younger lawyers begin to reach senior level positions, we can expect to see a shift away from billable hours and the need to log long office stints, towards flexible opportunities and prioritising a work-life balance.

What technology do you anticipate will revolutionise the industry by 2025?

Law firms need to embrace the power of their IT systems to allow them, wherever possible, to work without paper. Whilst technology has significantly impacted the speed and operation of law firms everywhere, the culture still revolves around printing.

Investing and effectively implementing state of the art case and document management systems will allow law firms to move away from current ‘paper’ practices, giving them the ability to work remotely.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I’ve travelled to 90 countries (including North Korea and driving coast-to-coast across the USA).
  • I’m terribly afraid of heights.
  • I once abseiled off a water tower dressed as a chicken.

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

A pilot.

With agile working becoming the norm, which spot in the world would you most like to work from?

My summer house in Hertfordshire!

Alex will be speaking at this year’s Business Leadership Summit on a panel discussion exploring the buts and bolts of the law firm of 2025. For more information on the summit, a copy of the agenda, or to enquire about tickets to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017 or kenan.balli@centaurmedia.com

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