HSBC’s head of professional services, Simon Adcock, has said that he would welcome more involvement from IT directors in law firm loan requests for transformative projects.

“I would like to see more IT directors. When a firm asks for a loan, there is often not enough clarity as to what the IT strategy is and how that matches up with where the firm wants to be in the next five years,” said Adcock, speaking at Legal Leaders IT Forum (LLIT) in Gleneagles.

While HSBC has seen a trend towards law firms seeking seven figure sums to invest in technology and process improvement, Adcock, who took over the newly-created professional services head role in June 2015, told LLIT: “There is still a big reluctance across traditional law firms to make bold investment decisions. Given client demands and competitive pressures from alternative providers, firms have a five-year window to close the gap and invest in their delivery and service propositions.

“Given the return on investment a firm could generate from a transformative project, it is surprising we aren’t seeing much greater levels of financing requests.”

HSBC, which created industry sector heads for the first time last year, is speaking to a number of law firms about $10-100m projects, where law firms are seeking investment for areas such as new global billing or client relationship management systems, often combined with nearshoring ventures or the establishment of legal services centres. HSBC has recently been working on structuring lending so that in the case of Swiss vereins, lending can be spread pro rata across the member firms so each are paying a fair sum – overcoming a familiar obstacle of identifying where the cost should lie.

Speaking last year to Legal IT Insider, Adcock said: “Law firms can cut costs and make gains only up to a point – technology has a massive part to play going forward in creating efficiencies and driving profitability.”

This article first appeared in the latest Legal IT Insider. You can register on our website to receive the free monthly issue by email