13 Leaders’ 2021 Predictions for the Legal Sector

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s interesting to look back and see how rapidly the legal sector adapted to the changes imposed by Covid-19. So, how will this affect the legal landscape in 2021 and, more importantly, what do the law firm and in-house leaders think will happen? We asked a group of CIOs, CEOs, legal counsel, and partners for their predictions.


Legal Sector 2021 Predictions – What Will We See?


Anthony Stables, CIO at Forsters

“The mass movement to digitalisation.”


Karl Chapman, Chief Executive Officer of Riverview Law

“The consequences of the pandemic have accelerated legal/CLM trends that were already in play. The move to no-code platforms is inevitable. Seamless integration with MS Teams/O365 is now ‘table stakes’ for tech providers.  Customers and investors will drive consolidation in 2021.” ­



Philip Woodgate, Partner at Goodman Jones LLP

“Increased digitalisation and WFA (work from anywhere).”



Chris Wilkinson, Partner at Maples Teesdale

“It will be tech-driven – about the adoption of technology into our working lives to allow us to work with the kind of agility that we have talked about for years but not often delivered. It will see AI/machine learning style to find its place in the delivery of legal services. It will be the tech that allows us to improve our ability to communicate beyond what zoom/teams/et cetera have allowed us to do in 2020. (And if 2020 is anything to go by, it will be none of those things and it will be something wholly unexpected.)”



Joanna Kingston-Davies, COO at Jackson Lees Group

“Genuine, blended, agile and flexible working and client solutions.”



Sam Moore, Innovation Manager at Burness Paull

“A sustained shift towards remote working, albeit not at the levels we’re currently seeing. Amongst other things, I think this will open up recruitment options in a way not seen before – for example in Burness Paull we’ve hired several new starts in 2020 who have never set foot in our offices, and possibly never will.”



Steve Dalgleish, Head of Technology at Shepherd and Wedderburn

“The move to the cloud will continue unabated, but I think the tipping point will be reached in terms of engagement with legal teams.  2020 has shown the importance of technology, 2021 will be when people, process and technology combine through better engagement to produce meaningful outcomes.”



Helen Archibald, Chief Operating Officer at Thorntons Law LLP

“I didn’t predict 2020’s biggest shift.  Ask someone else!”



Isla Mayfield, Business Advisory Senior Operations Manager at Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP

“A move away from compliance with more focus on advisory with the use of tech.”



Dan Mitchell, Head of IT at Clarion Solicitors

“People will continue to want to work from home. Businesses will need to adapt or talent will move to businesses that do,



Maurus Schreyvogel, Chief Legal Innovation Officer at Novartis

“Pharmaceuticals: we will focus on platforms instead of focusing on specific therapies, we will reimaging interfaces with healthcare professionals, patients, academics and payors.”



Richard Thompson, Senior Legal Counsel at SimplyHealth

“In the healthcare and insurance sectors products will change but customers will expect to be able to continue to interact easily and conveniently through technology.  Flexible systems need to be built to facilitate that.”



Amy Brookbanks, Head of Legal Operations, Ocado

“The biggest shift will be in remote working and placing less importance on presenteeism.   This has opened up opportunities to recruit people from further afield.  Hand in hand with this is a far greater reliance on technology, so I’m expecting our organisation’s tech transformation to happen more quickly than it would have done if 2020 hadn’t happened.”


Read industry leader predictions for the accountancy sector here and explore further in-house insights here.