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Legal Leaders IT Forum 2016: the evolving role of IT directors

It has been described as a “resounding success” and “amazing few days” (much to the relief and delight of everyone at TavistockMedia) and over the next few weeks Legal IT Insider will be bringing you the major take aways from the keynote talks and round table discussions at Legal Leaders IT Forum 2016 in a snowy Gleneagles.

It has been described as a “resounding success” and “amazing few days” (much to the relief and delight of everyone at TavistockMedia) and over the next few weeks Legal IT Insider will be bringing you the major take aways from the keynote talks and round table discussions at Legal Leaders IT Forum 2016 in a snowy Gleneagles.

There are many. However, one of the most interesting themes to emerge – and one that we will be welcoming views on as we explore it in greater detail – is the evolving role of the IT director and whether IT directors are willing and able to step up to the plate as client demands change.

Speaking to a packed audience, BT’s general counsel for UK commercial legal services Chris Fowler said that he would welcome and encourage the involvement of IT directors within a pitch for business and in a more client-facing role. Furthermore, by licensing out their technology to clients (as some already do), law firms can offer more ‘sticky propositions’ that mean their relationship goes far deeper than one piece of legal advice.

However, one IT director said: “I would be horrified if any one of my team went in to pitch – it’s very important IT is represented on pitches but through collaboration.”

Among the top law firms, the ability to provide high quality legal advice is taken by clients as a given. What they are looking for now are differentiators, including firms that help them to improve their own technology by getting under the corporate bonnet.

With so much at stake, should IT directors be re-evaluating their role?

2 replies on “Legal Leaders IT Forum 2016: the evolving role of IT directors”

IT Directors should already be speaking to firm clients and prospects. This is not a new concept; however, for some old school firms run by lawyers who are afraid of anyone else interacting with “their” clients, it may not be so common. Progressive firms that operate as proper businesses recognise the value of IT to the client relationship and are comfortable with their administrative professionals being included.

According to a GC at a FTSE 100, he’s never seen an IT director in a pitch. It’s evolving and I agree more IT directors are client facing but many, many more are still not.

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