Giles Thompson is the Head of Growth @ Avvoka 📈, former lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis and Herbert Smith Freehills ⚖️, Agriculturalist & Foodie 🚜, and tech investor & entrepreneur 🚀 Giles left practice a year ago to join the world of legal technology, and during this conversation we discuss
Publish Date: Mar 02, 2021
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Giles Thompson is the Head of Growth @ Avvoka 📈, former lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis and Herbert Smith Freehills ⚖️, Agriculturalist & Foodie 🚜, and tech investor & entrepreneur 🚀 Giles left practice a year ago to join the world of legal technology, and during this conversation we discuss:
How the culture has shifted from his days in practice vs what he hears today
The challenge of collaboration and different approaches firms are taking
Pertinent skills/thoughts for future and newly qualified lawyers, and when to challenge the status quo
We covered a number of other topics as well such as the importance of mentors, the increasing levels of interest in innovation-type functions, and more. You can connect with Giles LinkedIn, and find out more about the Avvoka Academy here.The full transcript is included below. If it’s truncated by your podcast player, you can find it in full at www.fringelegal.comTranscriptAb: [00:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome again to Fringe Legal. Today I'm excited to have Giles Thompson on the show. Before we dive in, I thought I would do something slightly different and give his life narrative in a chronological order. Giles is the son of a farmer, which naturally turned into him becoming a foodie, he went and did political science , which led to going into law school and actually practicing as a lawyer. He was formerly at Kirkland and Ellis, and then at HSF Herbert Smith Freehills.[00:01:29] And now he is a tech investor and an entrepreneur. And the head of growth at Avvoka based in the UK. Charles, thanks for joining me. Welcome.[00:01:39]Giles Thompson: [00:01:39] Thank you. The pleasure is mine. I thank you very much for having me.[00:01:42]Ab: [00:01:42] I guess a good place to start would be you practice as a lawyer and now your work for a legal tech company.[00:01:49] As you speak to law firms that you speak to it in house councils and corporate, what are you seeing from a culture point of view from your days in practice to now? Are the other trainees associates, partners, leaders, are they asking for different types of things to when you were in practice or is the conversations still the same?[00:02:11]Of course there's no one size fit all, but what's that spectrum look like from your conversations?[00:02:15]Giles Thompson: [00:02:15] I'd always say be interested in your perspective in a moment as well as to what's changed and actually whether you disagree or agree with me, but Yeah, certainly I do see some differences.[00:02:25]I've not been long out of law. So even in the kind of that short intervening period, actually a lot has that has changed as a result of the pandemic. The main thing I've really seen in actually and this quite a granular answer, but is an increasing desire for collaborative tools.[00:02:43] That is a result of the sort of physical collaboration and interface between lawyers being pulled away actually. So the, I certainly remember when I was particularly when I was a trainee, because I was the one carrying the physical bit of paper, but actually the process of, having a physically printed out document and then marking that up and maybe three or four people at layering on their amendments on, onto a markup.[00:03:04] And actually, the biggest trend that I've seen since I've left is people wanting to use tools that are akin to something like a Google docs and everybody being able to chip in on a document and work on it together rather than working on divergent drafts. And I do genuinely think that a good degree of that is because of that physical process being pulled away.[00:03:23] I think the other thing, and maybe it hasn't really changed since I left, but maybe I just didn't realize quite the extent of the interests that lawyers and probably lawyers who are more senior than me when I was in practice who wants to have one foot in that camp of innovation.[00:03:42] And so I think that there's definitely even in the last sort of 18 months, there's been a huge proliferation of innovations secondments within law firms. So senior lawyers seeing it as a potentially, even as a stepping stone towards partnership, actually spending some time in that innovation part of the business.[00:03:57] And then maybe specializing in that area full-time or taking their skills back and actually then improving the revenue of wherever they came from initially. So I'm meeting a lot of those pe