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Alternative Takeaways with Steve Dalgleish, Head of Technology at Shepherd & Wedderburn

We heard from Steve Dalgleish, Head of Technology at Shepherd & Wedderburn at our Legal IT Hangout, where our panellists discussed the practicalities of remote working and how to best support clients and team members, and how tech can be used to do so. Here are three takeaways from what Steve shared.

MAINTAIN SUPERVISION AND ONGOING TRAINING

Guiding trainees is high on the priority list for Shepherd and Wedderburn. But, how can this be achieved when trainees aren’t in the office environment, learning from watching their mentors? Steve shared some of the approaches his firm has taken.

“We have an IT trainer, and she gets very heavily involved in communication, but also the onboarding of new employees. So she’s been pulled in to advise on training methods and supervision around the trainee level. How would you maintain that level of supervision and ongoing education while virtual working is in place? We’ve come to a landing that some of the communications methods are better than others. We’re still trying to find the ultimate solution, and we talked about moving on with Zoom and the new versions there. The capabilities are coming forward all the time. They’re coming forward quicker than they ever have. So we’re having to spend more resource distilling all the possibilities and how to implement them.”

There is no one-size-fits-all method of virtual communication, and trial and error are necessary when seeking the right approach for your firm.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AUTOMATION

Following the point above, automation can be used to help onboard new team members. Steve also shared that Shepherd and Wedderburn’s legal teams have adopted document automation more holistically, improving efficiency and clarity.

“I think the biggest change we’ve seen is the level of engagement from our legal teams with process automation, document automation, anything around putting structure around these work types so that it’s very clear and the risk is a bit better managed. And I think that’s really going to drive the workflows for the next six/nine/twelve months as to how we put that structure in place more than we already have. Things like document automation is very good. But how do we make sure that the younger or less qualified members of the team are getting the same level of experience and guidance? One of the things we think we can do is put a structure around some of the automation to guide them through these processes a bit more.”

PUT PEOPLE AND PROCESS BEFORE TECHNOLOGY

“The transformation to be more of a cloud-based organisation, rather than on-prem is probably one of the big things. But a lot of this is cultural – the technology is available. The technology is already in place in a lot of these instances. So, how do you bring the legal teams along for the ride? And how do you get them to buy into the process? It’s great putting a solution in place, but if no one is going to use it or doesn’t understand what it does, there’s no point. So it really has to be about the process and people stage before you look at the technology. And I think that’s kind of where we’re trying to get better.”

Steve raised the all-important point that engaging with team members and existing processes before making changes to technology is much more beneficial than implementing new tech that people don’t feel comfortable using.

 

For full details of the Alternative Hangouts series, please click here.