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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Innovation Insights

Best Delivery gets onto the university curriculum in Madrid

Two leading Spanish universities asked me to bring new insights to their courses on the legal profession. Both these opportunities arose when I attended a legal management congress in Madrid last year. Clifford Chance's reputation for innovation and service delivery is giving me some unexpected opportunities.

At the congress I met a lawyer working in legal recruitment who is also a professor at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. He offered me a slot at their Talent Training Day which is part of the Master for Admittance to the Spanish Bar. The University is particularly keen to present non-traditional career profiles to show the lawyers-to-be the range of options available to them. Many universities are trying to address the high drop-out rate of graduates by showing them that a career in law does not necessarily require putting in 12 hour days of desk-based slog.

In my presentation I showcased the diverse opportunities offered through Clifford Chance's Innovation and Best Delivery strategy, including roles in legal project management, process Improvement, legal technology and data science. My 'innovation-in-law' topic created a lot of interest as, while legal tech and business transformation are in the news a lot, this was the first time that the students had been given an insight into how these developments are impacting legal careers.

Most of the attendees had done internships at law firms and had first-hand experience of how technology is impacting activities such as document reviews. However, this was the first time anyone had talked about the impact of technology on the underlying processes. This piece really resonated with them as they could see that, not only do they need to consider at what stage of the review process they should be thinking about using technology, but it also gave them some parameters to consider when it's worth using technology and when it's not. It was great to see all those young and bright minds being excited about enrolling in the business transformation environment.

At the same congress, I was also offered an opportunity to deliver some sessions at the Universidad CEU San Pablo to present on how these new areas of expertise are benefiting law firms. Attendees on this course were primarily in-house lawyers. Some of them are working at companies who are either clients or potential clients of Clifford Chance, what resulted in some interesting business opportunities.

I found it really useful to hear  their perspective on some of the issues that we have been grappling with. For example, they were very interested in how we reconcile the tension between the need to invest time in innovation, and the traditional focus on billable hours. The ensuing debate made me much more cautious about making assumptions about a clients' understanding of, or thoughts on, what we do.

I've now been offered to visit some other Universities, and as the enriching activity it is, of course I accepted!

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