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Shaping Legal Innovation at Shoosmiths with Paul Caddy



Meet Paul Caddy, Head of Insight at Shoosmiths, whose expertise in commercial and data protection law is unmatched. 

His diverse experiences, including collaborations with legal giants like LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters, culminate in his latest achievement: co-authoring "Legal Practice in the Digital Age" with Shoosmiths CEO David Jackson and Head of Client Technology & Service Improvement Tony Randle. Praised as a "must-have handbook for our time" by City Solicitor, this book showcases Paul's visionary approach to shaping the future of legal practice. 

Don't miss Paul's insights at our upcoming panel discussion, 'Rethinking the Role of Legal Innovation: Innovation, Consulting, and Meeting New Expectations,' on Private Practice Day, April 16th. Until then, enjoy his insights below!


1- Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future of legal innovation? What emerging technologies or cultural shifts that you believe will have a profound impact on the legal industry?


We believe AI will be the most impactful tech in firms in the next 10 years. Just like how email changed the way firms communicated two decades ago, AI will be a powerful, data-driven tool that will change how firms work in a deep way. But it's not only generative AI, it's also other types of AI too. Ultimately, we believe that AI won't eliminate the legal profession, but lawyers who use AI will replace those who don't; lawyers who act like data-processing machines will be replaced by machines; and lawyers who combine AI and their human sides will thrive above all. Culturally, we’re going to have to help our people understand AI as if they don’t trust it, then we have a problem. The future of AI itself is as much about the people who interact with it as the AI itself.


 

2 - How can innovation leaders encourage collaboration with professionals from other fields, such as technology, design, or business, to foster a more holistic approach to legal transformation?


We did some research for our book, Legal Practice in the Digital Age, and we found a legal operations survey done by Bloomberg Law in April 2021 which showed that more than four out of five respondents believed that only lawyers could be part of multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs). We were shocked by this! The Lawyer reported in September 2021 that: “soon lawyers will be a minority group in law firms”. It is clear that lawyers have to learn to work more with “allied professionals” in MDTs, such as data analysts and data scientists. This means changing the way we think, from how to manage these MDTs to redefining and adapting the professional boundaries of the legal profession. This does require a cultural shift.


 

3 - What metrics or indicators do you find most valuable in assessing the success and effectiveness of newly implemented legal technology?


Before examining metrics, it is often helpful to start with the fundamentals: figuring out exactly what the firm requires. This is where firms can go wrong. What’s the business case and budget? As many IT teams ask themselves at the start of a project: ‘do we buy it?’, ‘do we build it?’ or ‘do we rent it?’ Have any non-tech solutions been explored? Lawyers shouldn’t buy, build or rent tech just because they feel they have to: ‘we need some GenAI solution because everyone else has one’. It’s easy to overlook how beneficial a pilot can be. KPIs should be considered carefully (eg, quality improvement, faster delivery times) and every project will have different ones. And it is worth noting that return on investment can also include other more intangible returns such as reputation gain, internal motivation, avoiding losing clients to new-entrant providers and increased client conversations. Fundamentally it is all about creating competitive advantage. Finally, another key metric is, of course, ensuring adoption of the new tech by the firm—even the best new tech is absolutely useless if no one uses it!


 

4 - How do you suggest law firms & legal counsels can address change management in innovation, both at an individual and organisational level?


Change is not an occasional event; it is a constant process. And it’s obvious that opposing change is pointless. After all, without change our world would be static. Lawyers wouldn’t have any purpose to exist. New laws wouldn’t be made to address new issues. New contracts wouldn’t be written to regulate new relationships. We lawyers are already skilled at helping our clients cope with change, but we maybe need to improve at coping with it ourselves. We need to remind lawyers and the firms in which they work that we have agency in what happens next. We need to create a change culture, from the top down, in which innovation is embraced. There’s an exciting future ahead—if we’re willing to embrace it!





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