2021 Business Planning. The 10 “Must-Haves” for a Digitally Savvy Law Firm

2020 has been a year to remember but not for the right reasons. Covid-19, lockdowns, Stock Market turmoil and US elections have tested the best of us and many will look forward to leaving it behind. As we all prepare to enter 2021 for many firms that means the start of business planning. This year it will be business planning against a very uncertain backdrop. Notwithstanding the news of vaccines emerging we are far from being out of the woods and as we all know the financial ramifications will be here for years to come. We all need to recalibrate, look at our operating models and continue to improve our efficiency. We need to refocus our approach.

On a positive though, for many firms technology has probably enjoyed its finest hour during the last 8 months. Many firms have been able to adjust to lockdown homeworking successfully. Zoom and Teams are now household names and technology has allowed firms to remain operational in a way that would not perhaps have been possible had the pandemic hit 10 years earlier. Ironically though this success has led to an increase in expectations and the acceleration of everything.

The world has changed forever and law firms who recognise this (and recognise their businesses need to change) now need to approach business planning in a very different way.

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Derek Southall

Derek Southall

Hyperscale Group
Derek Southall, founder and CEO is a high profile and very well connected figure in the legal technology, innovation, knowledge management and digital marketplaces. Derek has spent nearly 25 years in a range of leading strategic roles for a top 50 global law firm, for most of this time as a Partner and Head of Strategic Development and subsequently as Head of Digital and Innovation. During this period Derek oversaw and helped drive growth from £27 mil TO to in excess of £425 mil TO as well as driving and supporting numerous mergers and international expansion to 18 offices in 10 countries. Derek was ranked by the FT as one of the top three most innovative lawyers in the UK in its first study into the legal market. Derek also led the firm’s technology team to become ranked as the most innovative in Europe and subsequently the firm to ranked as the second most innovative firm in Europe as well as picking up a range of other awards. Derek has been the relationship partner for a long list of major household name clients in a range of sectors including Automotive, FMCG, Financial Services, Food and Drink, Fashion and Construction and has a strong track record in sales and product delivery. Derek has been ranked three times in the last three years as an Acritas Star for outstanding client delivery (based on independent feedback). Derek chairs and was one of the founders of the Legal IT Innovators Group ( which has 80 or so of the top 100 firms as members and which plays a key role in driving ahead technological thinking and change for the good of the legal profession. In this role he has worked alongside the United Nations and a range of other large organisations. recently joined forces with two other leading advisory businesses in the fields of technology, operations and financial management to create the which has been referred to as the “Holy Trilogy” of Legal IT. Its purpose is to pool experience and intellectual knowhow to ensure we have a more holistic approach to how they give advice. Derek also serves on the advisory boards of several start-ups and has recently been appointed to the advisory board of the Global Institute of Innovation, which brings together around 400 academics to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.