Sam Nickless, partner and the Chief Operating Officer at law firm Gilbert + Tobin, says barriers to change have fallen as new technology becomes cheaper and more accessible.
Tasked with driving the firm’s investment in technology and innovation, Sam says: "I think we’ll see some unbundling between more complex advice, which will remain human-expert driven for some time, and work that can be automated.”
Sam says Gilbert + Tobin is pursuing three different aspects of innovation: partnerships with NewLaw firms, investments in technology and rebundling traditional legal services in unfamiliar ways.
He cites the firm’s relationship with LegalVision. “It’s a model in which Gilbert + Tobin provides high-level guidance or escalation for very complex matters, but most of the day-to-day work is done by LegalVision’” he says.
Meanwhile, the firm is working to develop its own technological capabilities through a specially created internal team.
“They spend a lot of time looking for tasks that could be automated or made more efficient by talking to lawyers about the things they do,” he says.
The firm’s other area of innovation involves unbundling and rebundling legal services in new forms. Often that means taking a partnership approach, where Gilbert + Tobin manages multiple providers to offer a lower cost service through a co-ordinated team.
“That’s going to be what clients are expecting of us — that we we’ve got the best people at the right price for each task,” Sam says.