16:13, January 24 574 0

2017-01-24 16:13:11
The Hot 100 effect: Mishcon’s tech guru

Ahead of the publication of the Hot 100 2017 next week, The Lawyer has caught up with four leading lawyers in the Hot 100 2016 to find out how their lives changed since appearing in the list.

Occasionally when someone makes a lateral move, its impact turns out to be significantly greater than anyone could have hoped.

This was certainly the case with Nick West. Call it good timing, call it tapping into the zeitgeist, frankly call it whatever you like, but there’s no denying that since West moved from Axiom to Mishcon de Reya 12 months ago the London firm’s output of tech-related initiatives has gone stratospheric.

Featuring heavily in the reasons for this is West, Axiom’s former UK head who joined Mishcon as its first-ever chief strategy officer and appeared in last year’s Hot 100.

West’s appearance was primarily based on the work he had done at technology-focused Axiom. He has since carried over his sharp focus on technology to Mishcon and helped the firm devise a growing number of services and client offerings.

One such launch came only months after the arrival of West in March last year. As the current issue of the UK200: Business Services report highlights, in March 2016 Mishcon launched Mishcon Discover LLP, becoming the first UK law firm to create an in-house eDiscovery business and allowing the firm to offer its clients the option of having their eDiscovery activity managed by the lawyers working on their matters, rather than by a third party.

As the firm put it, “entering into a fully-managed service agreement for eDiscovery software ‘Relativity’ (developed by [software provider] kCura, and licensed by Mishcon de Reya through [legal support services provider] Unified), has enabled us to provide clients with analytical services, including predictive coding”.

Mishcon’s most recent West-related initiative is MDR LAB, an incubator programme for legal technology start-ups which was launched in conjunction with innovation specialists and investors L Marks and is open to early stage and growth technology start-ups.

“MDR LAB is part of Mishcon de Reya’s broader technology strategy and is one of a number of R&D projects designed to help us better understand and embrace new technologies,” says West.

For Mishcon, Mishcon Discover and MDR LAB reflect a key part of the firm’s new 10-year strategy, which has technology at its heart and which is being spearheaded by the firm’s CSO West.

“Investment in technology is one of the cornerstones of our 10-year vision and associated business plans,” says Mishcon.

Brining in West is obviously a core part of that “vision”. As he puts it, “the market is changing faster now than it ever has before, and the importance of tech and how lawyers work and deliver solutions is also increasing ever-faster.

“If you haven’t made appropriate provision for having senior leaders in the area of technology, you’re not in a good place.”