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Legal Innovation Briefing - May edition

May 09, 2019


Partners Simon Vannini
Senior Associates Louise Taylor
Management Caroline Ferguson

Legal innovation & technology Digital & new technologies

Welcome to this month’s Legal Innovation Briefing, a selection of insights and updates curated for in-house legal teams.  

NZ Lawyer’s 2019 Innovative Law Firms list
Simpson Grierson was recently recognised by NZ Lawyer alongside 14 other firms for being at the forefront of innovation. The list encompasses a range of firms who represent the full spectrum of innovation activity and investment. It’s great to see so many in our sector embrace change and help to drive the legal profession forward.


Contract management is the lifeblood of many businesses but the bane of many lawyers’ lives - this was one of the key messages from Jonathan Patterson of DWF as he introduced a Legal Design Challenge focused on contract management lifecycle at last year’s Legal Geek conference.

Joining forces with Radiant Law, Wavelength and LEx Opensource, DWF recently helped facilitate an event in London to kick-off the process of using legal design thinking to collaboratively explore how to improve the contract management lifecycle. Participants came from a range of legal disciplines and businesses with the objective to explore a new standard for commercial contract management lifecycles.

The Big Idea: Collaborating to enhance the contract management lifecycle

No matter what type or size of organisation, successful contract management is a complex process involving various stakeholders. It is not something that can be redesigned and improved in just one a day. The beauty of the recent event in London however, was the bringing together of a diverse set of experiences and perspectives to at least make a start to collectively help organisations solve the challenges they face with managing contracts rather than trying to do it in individual silos.

By focusing on the needs of users involved in the contract management lifecycle, and sharing ideas and insights on what good contract management could look like, participants at the event started to pull together ideas of what improvements could be made in the contract management lifecycle process and how to make them sustainable. Going forward, ideas and resources from the event will be collated and shared in order to keep the conversation and action moving forward. We will be following this closely and will continue to share updates.

What we are up to:  Contributing and learning in the global legal innovation network

From Sydney to London to Auckland. Caroline Ferguson’s involvement in the Legal Geek Women in LawTech Mentoring scheme has ended up being far more global than she ever imagined!

After being invited to be a mentor in mid-2018, Caroline was matched with Melbourne-based lawyer Perveen Maan.

Immediately after being matched, Caroline and Perveen discovered that they were both going to be at the same conference in Sydney the following week so were able to have their first meeting in the Sydney sun. The global element continued when they were both presenters at the Legal Geek conference in London. Keeping it closer to home, Caroline and Perveen caught up in Auckland at the end of April when Perveen was in town for a wedding.

It’s been a wonderful mentor partnership with lots of learning from one another - Caroline sharing her insights from close to 15 years in the legal industry in various roles, and Perveen sharing her experiences as co-founder of Anika, an online platform providing free legal advice to community members who need it most. Perveen was recently selected as a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly list of 30 under 30 for 2019 in the Pro Bono category. We wish her luck for the announcement of winners on 10 May.

Digest: Legal innovation podcasts to check out

There is a growing number of legally focused podcasts coming available. Here are a couple of recent podcasts we have enjoyed listening to:

  • The Filevine Fireside - monthly interviews with players from across the legal industry. A recent episode we enjoyed involved Christopher Chapman from AccessLex – an organisation focused on helping improve law schools and supporting the well-being of students.

  • The Future of Law Podcast - established in February this year, two entrepreneurs from Canada and Australia share interviews and insights covering topics such as the importance of user experience in the delivery of legal services, new roles that are emerging and using technology to improve access to justice.