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Richard Hodkinson, making the business of law better

Mark Chillingworth | July 30, 2013
Hodkinson is enjoying the challenge of working with a law firm that is growing at a rate of knots and wants the IT team to be bold an ambitious in how it delivers outcomes.

"I want IT to be a difference when we do business and I want it to be deal maker," says Richard Hodkinson, CTO with law firm DWF LLP. Hodkinson is enjoying the challenge of working with a law firm that is growing at a rate of knots and wants the IT team to be bold an ambitious in how it delivers outcomes.

DWF is not shy in its ambition it plans to be a top 20 law firm in the near future and has been romping up the industry leader board like the Lions on tour. Its growth has, in part, been due to active mergers and acquisition strategy, three in 2012 that has kept the CTO busy.

"Our customers are getting much more tech savvy and I want to offer end-to-end solutions," Hodkinson says of how the legal world is being transformed by increasingly digital consumption by customers.

"We can get to the point where some transactions can be done without having actual physical meetings.

"We have lawyers that are young and have a very Apple Facetime or YouTube style of working, so I'm building an innovative team and we are taking ideas to clients (partners of DWF)," he says. "But there is a challenge, as the traditionalists of the legal world are still a strong community.

"We have users who want flexibility, some are very technology literate and others are illiterate. So we have got to cater for all levels of engagement, which means I look for a Fisher Price computing, as I describe it." One such success has been the integration and rapid adoption of Yammer, which Hodkinson wrote about in CIO UK recently.

"Launched in the summer of 2012, the adoption of Yammer was epic particularly as IT planted the seeds but the highest level of business user led the charge. User sign up was more than 1,400 in 14 days.

"Without a doubt there was an initial buzz, which has not been sustained and there's more work to do in embedding it into the 'way we do things' as old email habits die hard. Some facts:

There are 199 groups being used for both internal communities aligned, functionally, by sector, projects or other, the largest with 211 members;

7,000 posts, threads and;

Nine external groups;

11,000 messages have been posted;

and 1,527 members have subscribed

"Adoption was viral in nature with people connecting without the need to plan and undertake an expensive implementation programme.

"Yammer meant that new business being merged with had instant access to the DWF social scene without the need for complex networking to log on to an on-premise domain to get involved," Hodkinson explains.

 

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