Ahead of the "Using technology for innovation and growth" session at our annual conference, John McKinlay, partner at DLA Piper, considers how the appetite for new technology has developed in the last year.

Next week the Law Society of Scotland's annual conference takes place again and I’ll be chairing a session called Using Technology for Innovation and Growth. At last year’s event I hosted a panel session on technology in the legal profession, so the obvious starting point is 'what has changed over the last year?' I think what we are seeing is technology adoption now moving from 'nice to have' into the mainstream.


Firstly, more and more firms, from high street practices to the larger law firms, are finding ways to improve their own internal processes and their services to clients through new technology-enabled products. Clients in return are welcoming these changes and doing similar things in their own businesses. We are all openly wondering what more can be done together.  This virtuous circle is introducing real momentum into the adoption of tech products.

Making it happen

Secondly, our new lawyers entering the profession are enthusiastic about finding better ways to do things, and are joining forces with the early adopters and evangelists in helping push management to get off the fence and make things happen. The 'wait and see' option isn't really viable any more.

A growing movement

Thirdly, and most practically, we are seeing products and platforms developing to connect the dots. For example, there are a number of industry groups working with lawyers to set technology standards, so that products can talk to each other and interoperate. The recent announcement of LawScotTech - an innovation to facilitate a thriving legal technology eco-system in Scotland - will inspire creativity by bringing together solicitors and their employees with technologists and innovators. These initiatives are open to all, but I think will be particularly important for smaller firms, since they will take away much of the fear factor and provide a road-map to get started.

So - exciting times, much to discuss and very relevant to us all. A great line up of Lucy Shurwood from Pinsents, Joe De Wet from Leap Software and legal technologist Joya van Hout will join me on the panel and I hope you can join us at the session too.

John McKinlay is a partner at  DLA Piper and convener of the Technology Law and Practice Committee. Book your place at Leading Legal Excellence now.