HPC #TopOfMind speakers

Who – or What – is Top of Mind in the Legal Industry Right Now?

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This week, High Performance Counsel published a special issue, #TopOfMind. The premise was simple – to ask a collective of top thought-leaders in the legal industry what is top of mind for them – right now. Within 12 hours we had over 6,000 views on LinkedIn alone and it seems to have caught many people’s attention.

In the noise, find the signal.

On a recent trip to Chicago, I was struck by the busy-ness of the conference I was attending (that’s a good thing of course). It’s always wonderful to see an industry energized around technology and innovation especially – to see and hear the boisterous energy and earnest pitches of individuals for companies young and old.

Pulling a Crazy Ivan.

Those who watched Hunt for Red October may get this reference of running silent. It’s a technique I’ve used for many years to observe a room and others’ participation. It has served me well. So it is that in Chicago, I pulled a Crazy Ivan – stepping back to simply listen.

Speaking personally – and it’s reflected in my own #TopOfMind submission – I was again struck by the inevitability of change and the speed with which it will indeed disrupt the legal industry. Our publication is on record in our view that 2018 will be a watershed year – a year we look back on and see where the gears shifted, the pace accelerated, and competition moved into higher gear.

The signal.

So it is that we asked a willing collective of insightful individuals to share their one thought each as to what is top of mind for them. We asked them to avoid marketing spin and group think. As we do with all our interviewees, we asked them to speak candidly and with authenticity – the uniqueness of their views being the pith and essence of the exercise.

You can read what each of these individuals had to say on our site here: https://www.highperformancecounsel.com – and we’ve made it easy to download a copy of the issue – in our library here: https://www.hpclibrary.com

I did, however, want to highlight a few thoughts and themes that jumped out as I read these truly remarkable submissions:

Diversity – the legal sector is blessed with vocal champions such as Laura Maechtlen, Sonya Olds Som, Erica Mason and Fernando Garcia who so clearly exemplify and articulate both the fundamental importance and commercial benefit of moving the industry to a better place in terms of diversity, inclusion and participation. At High Performance Counsel, we share their commitment and enthusiasm. We are simply better, stronger, together.

Community – the sterling leadership of individuals like Mary Mack, Kaylee Walstad and Connie Brenton of ACEDS and CLOC respectively is a huge step toward greater understanding of the opportunity ahead for law – and achieving law’s potential – for all participants, not solely lawyers. I think much of the secret of their success lies in the friendly, accessible, informational and interactive communities they have created – helping to encourage dialog and foster innovation. As the role of technology and legal operations grows, so too does the number of professionals who align with these areas as career paths. As we get glimpses of this agile, mobile, modern legal economy of professionals – consider Caleb King’s thoughts on this – so we see the critical role of communication, community, connection. They are helpfully creating a new world of professional activity and recognition outside the historical confines of the Bar.

Privacy, Cybersecurity & GDPR – unless you were hiding in a cave the last few days, you cannot have missed the deluge of breaking headlines concerning the issues of privacy and cybersecurity – and the way in which these issues are so clearly inter-woven. Equally, it would be hard not to have heard about GDPR, which is approaching rapidly. As the deadline looms, it seems to accelerate, and the implications are so very real. Occasionally we hear talk of limited opportunities in law because this or that area is being automated or is otherwise redundant. That’s clearly not the case in these areas, which are in a process of rapid acceleration. So it is with particular delight we have #TopOfMind contributions from Jared Coseglia, Judy Selby and Josh Hass on these critical topics.

Bitcoin, Blockchain and Big Disruption – some of the brightest minds and sharpest thinkers on these subjects are included in our posse. Mark Cohen reminds us to focus less on just disruptive tech but instead on the disruptive impact or outcome of its use – a good point, sometimes overlooked in the rush to be cool. Mark Yacano anticipates smarter clients being able to focus on premium, value-added work as they increasingly hand off or automate lesser-valued day to day tasks. And our dear friend, Ken Grady, speaks to the first of many corporates who will move their contract management to blockchain – and the downstream rush there will be for law firms to support this shift in model. Kris Swanson of CRAI has some timely words and we love the “wholistic” view he proposes when looking at Crypto matters in conjunction with other related areas – and avoiding a silo view. And as the world moves toward end-to-end fluid processing of contracts and agreements, so the technology enablers of this world, such as Akbar Jaffer at ZorroSign, come into their own.

#MeToo – Nancy May provides a sobering reminder of the importance of this subject within law and also within the broader governance framework. Gone are the days when corporations or law firms can turn a blind eye to this happening in their ranks. In today’s world, thankfully, we are starting to see the power of engagement, collaboration and empowerment around issues such as this. It is perilous to ignore this specifically or directionally.

Wayne Gretzky and a call to excellence in all we do – Tom Trujillo’s #BakersDozen was one of the most rewarding to publish in ’17 – a wonderful story of humility and greatness. In #TopOfMind, he references one of my favorite quotes and, indeed, one of the inspirations in the launch of High Performance Counsel. It is a call to excellence, a call to the future – a call to us all. I leave it here in closing:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

Yours aye,

David Kinnear

David Kinnear
Founder & CEO of HPC MEDIA GROUP, which publishes HIGH PERFORMANCE COUNSEL (HPC). HPC is focused on the next decade of leadership and innovation in legal services. HPC regularly features the top individuals, organizations and solutions creating the technical and leadership framework of the new legal industry that is now starting to emerge.

Prior to the launch of HPC, David was a co-founder and CEO of a legaltech company focused on legal process automation, which was successfully acquired by a leading legal services provider. He has advised others in the space also. Having been both a corporate buyer of legal services and a services provider, he identifies the greater efficiency and value that can be achieved in legal operations for corporate buyers especially. He speaks unequivocally to the potential of Blockchain in transforming contract management and to the digital productization of legal knowledge, services delivery and the associated impact on future revenue models for law firms.

An English Barrister by call (’89), he spent several years in private litigation practice – largely focused on substantial construction, engineering and commercial real estate disputes. David worked for leading law firms Pinsent Masons and Linklaters in London before moving to New York to join CS First Boston (now, Credit Suisse).

As Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, he helped negotiate & execute the relocation of Credit Suisse into its (now) NYC global HQ – the iconic Eleven Madison Avenue. Subsequently, David directed major global outsourcing, shared sourcing, HR operations & process efficiency initiatives including the digitization of records, the global roll-out of PeopleSoft HRMS & Y2K Compliance.

David has worked extensively in the UK, US, Philippines, India and China markets in the areas of data management, HR and BPO.

David graduated from the University of Manchester with Honors in Law and Bar School (College of Legal Education) in London and has been a member of Middle Temple since 1989. He is the founder and former Chairman of The Global Sourcing Council.

David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

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