Following the news that Steven Hill, Operations Director at Denovo Business Intelligence, has become only the 11th person in Scotland to be awarded accredited status as a legal technologist by the Law Society of Scotland, Legal Matters Scotland (LMS) took the opportunity to discuss this recognition with Steven and what it means to the industry.
The accreditation was created to recognise those who have outstanding expertise and knowledge in the field of legal technology. The Society has always pushed the technology barriers. So, in 2019 they began to build a community of technologists in the Scottish legal community, who work to drive excellence in the legal technology profession.
Accredited Legal Technologists in Scotland
LMS: Hello, Steven. How did you start out in legal industry?
SH: I’ve been with Denovo 17 years, a reasonably long time, so have been on the growth journey, which seems to have accelerated greatly in the last few years. As a legal software provider, I’ve seen a huge progression in how things are done now, compared with at the beginning of this journey.
LMS: What was the catalyst that drove you towards technology?
SH: Making a difference. The number one goal that puts a smile on my face is when clients embrace our innovations and tell us it helps them be more efficient, saves them time, that’s where the value lies in the relationship. The motivation to deliver solutions gets me out of bed in the morning (and on some occasions keeps me up at night!)
LMS: You and Denovo have been prolific in launching legal technology solutions over the past few years, what inspires each solution?
SH: I love finding solutions, real world solutions that take repetitive tasks and automate some of the processes, bringing consistency to the client journey. The launch of CaseLoad, our fully bespoke whole practice management software platform, has been huge for us, alongside the core product offering we have been able to bed in third party integrations and customisable add-ins for our clients’ specific needs. Now, law firms can effectively tell us what they need help with, and we design a software package exclusively for them, to support their work types and their way of working. It’s never one size fits all, so there is no point trying to offer something off the shelf as, like all law firms will tell us, they all work slightly differently.
LMS: What firms do you work with when designing a solution, what is the process?
SH: Firms of all sizes are bringing ideas to the table all the time. One of the best parts of the role is around communication and conversation. Our entire business is built on trust. Lawyers and their support teams need to know they can come to us with all their IT challenges. But the key is listening.
Speak to clients, find out what they are struggling with, take that conversation and see what your technology can do to improve their lives and the experience of their clients. I’ve got to be honest, it’s probably the most existing part of my day when a client comes to us with a challenge they are facing and we get to spend time figuring out a solution, if it doesn’t exist already. I spend at least 50% of time speaking to clients in person and online.
LMS: Which technology changes have you seen in Scottish Law practices over the last decade that have made the most impact?
SH: The way in which firms track and convert new clients has been a major shift in approach, law firms are realising that to thrive in a challenging market you need to make a compelling case quickly to attract client’s business. Firms are now even more aware of how reporting can shape decisions on performance, capacity and how they drive their business forward. More firms are seeking help from non-lawyers to help them operate in a streamlined manner.
LMS: You are the host of Denovo’s webinars. In the current environment, how important do you think they have become to support remote learning for Scottish law practitioners?
SH: Engaging with the audience is critical for me, we can’t improve without the feedback from the legal community. Online learning has never been more important and will continue to play a huge part in how lawyers consume content.
LMS: Where do you see the future of technology in law practices?
SH: Law firms are competitive; they have a lot of areas to cover and the technology suite they use will be a difference maker in how they stack up. New Business teams will play a key role in hooking clients in the door and technology will make that process slick and enjoyable for the client.
LMS: Is automation coming for lawyers?
SH: There are certainly processes which are primed for automation, we’ve had clients benefit hugely from this over the last year. Lawyers hate admin, the slicker you can make that part of the job the more they will embrace use of technology. API connectivity will play a major role in how automated and connected each of their systems can be.
LMS: What advice would you give someone wanting to be accredited as a legal technologist, do you have to be weaned on IT?
SH: The IT background was a big part of the accreditation for me. As a non-lawyer and the first person from a legal software provider I got really excited to be involved in the accreditation process as it felt like a reward for the hard work over the last few years. What I would say there are a lot of different areas you can be considered to being accredited for so don’t feel like you must be a master of all aspects, being an expert in one or two areas would be a great start on the journey.
LMS: Thank you, Steven, for deepening our understanding of the “back room” function!
If you would like support or advice from Steven to help solve some of your legal technology challenges call 0141 331 5290 or if you would prefer to write to Steven his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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