Hyperscale Group has launched a fixed-fee legal team efficiency optimisation service, as CEO and founder Derek Southall tells Legal IT Insider: “Efficiency in legal is the holy grail but the problem is that no one is giving a service, they are all obsessed with innovation, and to provide the right service you need the whole range of skill sets.”

Southall was formerly head of digital and innovation at Gowling WLG. He founded Hyperscale in April 2017 to help companies create and deliver the right digital strategy but says the new holistic fixed fee offering has come about as a result of seeing legal teams focus on ‘innovation’ rather than meaningful change, commenting, “we need to get back to basics.”

Hyperscale has a team of five but can also leverage the Intuity Alliance, a consulting and advisory group that it launched last year together with Lights On Consulting and Kingsmead Square.

Southall is a qualified corporate lawyer and was latterly an equity partner at Gowling WLG. He says of the current transformation offerings in the market: ‘A technologist doesn’t understand how lawyers work. You then get digital innovation people who don’t understand the operating model and couldn’t tell you what a lawyer does on a daily basis. Many law firm partners need to improve their margin but there is no-one there to go to, not with any meaningful experience. Some of the advice we are coming across from people on the stage at conferences is just wrong and they have no idea how wrong it is. You have to have domain knowledge.”

While you could argue that nothing has inherently changed from when Hyperscale was set up to achieve digital efficiency, Southall says: “We’re getting bolder in pushing people down the path of building sustainable capability and there’s a whole model we’re working towards. The technologists don’t have the domain knowledge or depth. Innovation do the shiny things. What we’re trying to do is bring the right skill set at a fixed price on the basis of our model, and no-one is doing that.”

Southall, who chairs and is one of the founder of the Legal IT Innovators Group, will typically be looking to engage with managing partners or team leaders and will, if working with a specific team, look at eg the operating model and legal processes as well as the team’s capability and output. He says: “You have to prioritise the output. To make things happen (as opposed to just talking about it) you have to group things in a tangible way.”

While technology will play a part in the advice given Southall says: “In the real world this is only one part of the solution. Technology needs to be used in the right place, people need to know it works and the cost needs to be appropriate.”