00:11, December 14 278 0

2016-12-14 00:11:14
Gowling WLG to test tech ability of lawyers and staff

Gowling WLG is set to start testing the tech and digital ability of its lawyers and staff with a new assessment programme, The Lawyer has learned.

The firm has launched the technology assessment project in the UK with the review set to finish early next year. According to the firm, it will measure the “digital fitness” of every legal practice group and business services team.

Gowlings partner Derek Southall, who heads the digital information and legal systematics team, said the initiative was a “top level assessment” of the firm’s use of technology and what it could be doing better.

Over the coming weeks Southall said that every legal practice area and business services group would be assessed on a range of criteria ahead of a report on the current status early next year.

“This isn’t about looking negatively at where someone is in terms of their digital knowledge or capabilities but measuring how fast they’re evolving and moving forward,” said Southall. “We think it’s incumbent on every group and business services team to improve every year. You need that visibility on how people are performing digitally, so we’re going to start measuring it.”

Southall, who was interviewed for this year’s UK 200: Business Services report, added that the primary aim of the assessment was educational.

“This is not designed to be a Big Brother type of thing,” said Southall, “but where there’s a team that is doing something really well, other teams should want to know how and why. If the data shows Group X is three times slower than Group Y you’ll want to know why. But this is all positive, not punitive.”

Southall’s team has recently introduced a range of measures aimed at increasing the efficiency of Gowlings. As the Gowlings partner revealed, this includes the digitisation of the firm’s entire knowledge management function.

“We replaced two big libraries with knowledge points,” said Southall. “We reduced our space requirements by 85 per cent.  All of our training and communications are now done via knowledge pods. It has come a massive distance.”

Southall said the KM digitisation had made a significant difference to overall costs, saving Gowlings almost £167,000 per annum.