Law and technology haven’t always seen eye to eye, but with the landscape rapidly changing a handful of firms have now made it a core part of their offering.
Here, the founder and CEO of Harper James Solicitors – a full service, commercial law firm – talks to us about the role that technology has played in the success of the almost entirely remote-operating firm to date.
“I have always worked with, or on behalf of, technology-based or market disruptive companies, and I wanted to reflect how those businesses did business in our own approach to providing legal services.
“One of my key objectives was to recruit the very best people without having to stick a pin in a map dictating where their daily commute would lead them. Flexibility and accessibility needed to be a key component, and it was ultimately this train of thought that led to the formation of our remote-operating model.
“Whilst we have a head office in Sheffield and meeting spaces at several other locations – including Birmingham and London – our solicitors all work remotely, and the significant savings on overheads can therefore be passed onto clients.
“In turn, this allows us to provide expert services from partner-grade lawyers at a fraction of the cost of traditional City firms which, coupled with our pricing structure which offers both ad-hoc rates and our pay-monthly subscription services, means we can also offer our clients complete flexibility and transparency.
“Ultimately, that gives us, and them, a degree of financial certainty.”
And whilst the concept of remote working isn’t necessarily new, Harper says that certain technological advancements have allowed a ‘seamless collaborative approach’ across the team which simply wouldn’t have been possible in the past.
He said: “Our lawyers all have access to the same resources and cloud-based practice and case management systems, and that means they’re able to collaborate seamlessly on clients’ projects together, no matter where either the client or the solicitors are based.
“As a firm we’re able to get much closer to clients’ needs, in terms of providing them with real-time data on the status of their project, and the actual costs they are incurring. Essentially it has helped us to empower our clients: enabling them to do more for themselves and use our solicitors as added value safety-nets rather than administrators, as some traditional firms might.”
Harper goes on to say that technology has also facilitated new business wins for the firm, which was established in Birmingham in 2014.
“Our business development team make full use of tech and social media”, he said “We’ve also reached far more clients by spending on PPC/AdWords and producing targeted, authoritative web content that our clients want advice on, than by the old-school method of treating potential leads to expensive lunches.”
Commenting on whether he thinks technology will further shape the legal landscape in the years to come, he said: “Without a doubt. Try to standstill and you’ll be moving backwards, as the old adage goes. Move with the times or move out of the way!”
by Ashlea McConnell