Cooley’s chief information officer Rob Kerr, who joined from eSentio Technologies in September 2014, has begun a push to transform the way the IT department interacts with the firm and trains its lawyers, including hiring new staff and forming a dedicated user experience group.

Kerr is taking steps to bring the typically back office IT function to the front of house, including hiring in staff with a strong customer services capability and opening up fortnightly ‘tech lounges’ for lawyers and IT staff to mix. Tech lounges enable the IT team to talk to staff on an informal basis and showcase new products shortly before they are installed in a relaxed ‘non-training’ environment. Kerr said: “We’ve had people leave and say ‘please follow me back to my desk and install that.’”

At the same time, Kerr has set up a user experience group to assess staff training needs and has hired a user adoption specialist (UAS) from another law firm, yet to be announced, who will join in October. The job of the UAS will be to develop personas for different groups of lawyers in terms of how they interact with technology, on the basis of which more bespoke training will be delivered. Kerr said: “Training will be adapted to the user and customised.”

The changes come following a period of expansion for Cooley, which at the start of 2015 made its long-awaited entry into the London market. Kerr observed: “The firm is now global and much bigger. Our services and systems need to reflect that.”

Cooley is embedded in the technology market and often supports its clients by rolling out their products internally, taking the innovative step of rolling out Salesforce across the firm around two years ago. In September 2015 it launched Cooley Go for UK technology entrepreneurs and investors, rolling out an advice and document automation site that has become a success in the US after its launch last year.

This article was first published in the September Legal IT Insider