The Index is designed to unearth, recognise and applaud the most innovative law firms, legal teams, and individuals.
The Index is an acknowledgement that innovation equals survival in a fast changing global legal services market.
The finalists, announced on 9 August, were an illustrious group, and I don’t envy the judges who had to make some hard choices.
The winning organisations
The firm received the award for an innovative new solution ‘Arrow,’ which is an integrated and bespoke service designed to help clients undertake major document production more efficiently and cost effectively through a collaborative team of specialists.
This was Allens’ second appearance in the Index in two years, with their Accelerate program for startups recognised last year.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Corrs’ winning entry was ‘Collaborate,’ a business enabler developed on a SaaS platform, providing clients with intelligent, automated workflows and services using smart logic to forecast, manage and automate processes that are integrated seamlessly into their in-house legal practices and value supply chains.
Gilbert + Tobin
Gilbert + Tobin showcased a new development program designed to teach lawyers and clients to code, with 60 of its lawyers learning to design and build a web app, in an Australian first.
The firm also held a legal ‘Hackathon’ with Westpac and startup law firm LegalVision to develop working prototypes to automate or refine significant legal and process issues.
Gilbert + Tobin also featured in last year’s Index.
Herbert Smith Freehills
The host firm’s entry was ‘Re-Imagine Legal,’ which is an innovative methodology that, through a collaborative framework with clients, reviews and evaluates how legal services can be provided to the business in a different (and better, more efficient) way, aligned to the business strategy and goals of clients.
Herbert Smith Freehills also made a return after an entry in the Index last year for their introduction of ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ designed to increase the effectiveness and focus of their employees.
Pinsent Masons created the ‘Cerico‘ platform, a compliance solutions and technology business that automates many compliance controls, audits and supplier management for multinational organisations.
Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ)
RACQ Corporate Legal team was a surprise winner on the night.
They developed an interactive workflow system called ‘ServiceNow,’ which is a referral and management system for all legal matters that reduces time inefficiencies through traditional method of instructions and has significantly improved transparency, communication and effective time, capacity and document management.
The winning individuals
Professor Des Butler
The Professor hails from the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology.
He created, or led the creation of, 19 innovations and technology-based projects to enhance the learning of law, causing a quite revolution in legal education in the process.
Anne-Marie Cade launched ‘Divorce Right,’ a tool designed to make divorces more amicable, easier, smoother and kinder using a web-based technology which automates paperwork and engages a community of professionals.
Katie Miller is the President of the Law institute of Victoria. She studied innovators around the world and developed revolutionary guidance and tools for Victorian lawyers designed to help them adapt, survive and thrive in the changing legal landscape.
At the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, she created the role of Innovation Counsel to create innovation opportunities in the procurement and use of legal services.
Claire Smith & Shae McCartney
A joint entry by Claire Smith and Shae McCartney from Clayton Utz resulted in an award for creating the ‘CU SAFE‘ App, the Serious Accident, Fatality, and Environmental Incident Response Guide to help organisations respond quickly and decisively to serious safety or environmental incidents throughout Australia.
Amelia Thorpe is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law.
She is another educational innovator, who introduced a series of innovations in teaching through experiential approaches which encourage law students to see themselves as active participants in the dynamic fields of planning and environmental law.
Claire Wivell Plater
Claire Wivell Plater was a presenter at the Janders Dean Horizons Conference in Sydney last month, where she spoke about blockchain and smart contracts.
Her firm, The Fold Legal specifically tailors their costs agreement for each startup fintech client that sees her take an Advisory Board appointment, an equity stake in the business and offer discounted rates for legal and regulatory advice and support.
The Fold Legal featured in last year’s Index as an organisational winner.
Demetrio Zema founded Law Squared, a new-gen legal offering focused on servicing the needs of entrepreneurs and start-ups through a fixed fee, outcome-based collaborative service while providing a remote, supportive, holistic environment for staff resulting in excellent employee and client satisfaction.
An Index for a 21st century profession
A look through the various projects awarded by the Index indicates that legal players, old and new, of all sizes finally understand and accept the changing legal landscape, and are working hard to adapt to their new reality.
The closing address was given by one of the judges of this year’s Index, Brennan Ong, Founder and Managing Director of LawAdvisor, a revolutionary legal startup designed to expand the legal market by offering affordable legal solutions to those who were previously priced out of the legal services market.
Brennan Ong is the personification, and LawAdvisor is the embodiment, of law’s new reality.
LawAdvisor itself has been in the news recently after it obtained a round of venture-funding from high-profile global technology investors, including Google Maps co-founder and former Facebook executive Lars Rasmussen.
I implore each and every one of you here today, you budding entrepreneurs and budding legal innovators, to please remember why we are here, and the problem that we are trying to solve.
PleaSe trust your gut, do what Makes sense to you, and block out the naysayers and negative naNcYs, there are so many of them.
Surround yourself instead with like-minded people, you will get more done that way, and You will achieve great things.
Onwards and upwards, and Thanks everyone for listening …
I might just put that on a motivational poster, or a t-shirt …