Q&A: Gareth Dixon, Partner, Shelston IP

BY

Shay Namdarian

The way that legal services are delivered is fast changing due to advances in technology and business model innovation. This is resulting in a gradual shift towards affordable, standardised services and efficiencies in how law firms deliver services. We interviewed thought leaders on the changing legal industry, emerging technologies impacting the sector, factors holding law firms back and what the future lawyer looks like.

Here is our interview with a partner at Shelston IP, Gareth Dixon.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE LEGAL INDUSTRY IN 5 YEARS?

I’m in the niche of intellectual property/patent legal industry. We could be anywhere! We have private v public, old law v new law, acquisitions v fragmentation, market share v conflict potential, technology transformation, hybrid working arrangements, COVID hangover, commoditisation, generational change and succession…

The only constant these days is change, and it’ll be the most adaptive firms  – those with their eyes open  – who will thrive. Let’s make damn sure we’re one of them!

WHICH EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU MOST EXCITED BY AND WHY?

Cleantech interests me the most. As a chemist in my former life, I can understand it. Virology and vaccines should probably top the list, but it’s all a bit over my head. From a work perspective, COVID’s only silver lining has been the (forced) rapid adoption of videotelephony, which is better than I’d feared, but could still use some improvements (or is it just the NBN failing me?).

WHAT IS CURRENTLY HOLDING LAW FIRMS BACK FROM INNOVATING?

I’d suggest there are still some old school attitudes pervading (and often influencing/dominating) the industry. Still, people who would swear and declare they could never move on from paper files are now working electronically  – and so the tide is definitely  turning I think.

Because of the nature of what we do, I don’t think the legal industry is quite as ripe for disruption as some may think –  and “innovation” is  definitely a relative term.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LAWYER LOOK LIKE?

Let’s start with what a future legal professional doesn’t look like. They’re not (exclusively) a middle aged straight monolingual Caucasian male with greying hair and a network of mates dating back to their private school days. Those days are long gone (I hope).

The future lawyer is a little bit of everyone and everything – diverse, included, empowered, worldly and confident. That’s the sort of industry I want to be part of, and acknowledging the work of many to this end, I think things are starting to move nicely in that direction.


To find out what 14 other thought leaders had to say on the future of legal services, download the full 21st Century Lawyer report atwww.newlawacademy.com/report

about the author

Shay Namdarian is GM of Customer Strategy at Collective Campus and the author of Stop Talking, Start Making - A Guide to Design Thinking. Shay has over ten years of experience working across a wide range of projects focusing on customer experience and design thinking. He is a regular speaker and facilitator on design thinking and has gained his experience across several consulting firms including Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Accenture. Shay has supported global organisations to embed customer-centric culture, working closely with law firms such as Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons and ClaytonUtz

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