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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.

"Any product DWF gets has to have the Fisher Price usability of Yammer otherwise you lose the ROI," he says.

"The whole game has changed and the users now tell us what they want to do. So I have to say 'can do' and provide a safe environment. And if they are efficient on a handheld in the middle of the countryside, that is fine. There are so many types of work we handle, so it's not about a big SAP answer."

Mobility is a major pillar to Hodkinson's strategy at DWF LLP and the CTO is a great believer in its ability to improve the organisation and the lives of its workers.

"We are bundling up apps that are an adjunct to the main application stack of the business as it makes people more productive. So apps for expenses, CRM and billing can all be used on a mobile device.

"We have all our business plans and the annual report on a single app. The point being you can show it easily to a client and users always have access to the business plan, so that way everyone knows the business plan and it is in their back pocket. So we are getting everyone on the same page, technologically it was very easy," he says.

Whereas some market sectors are struggling with this new generation of empowered worker, Hodkinson suggests the legal world is already well prepared.

"Law firms are unlike a PLC, the control and command structure is very very different. The partner structure means you are getting into social engineering and it is fascinating," he says.

That is not to say that the rate of change is any easier for law firms and DWF, but Hodkinson is an affable adopter of the change sweeping through his organisation.

"The rate of change here is like being a youngster that has grown out of its clothes very quickly," he says. His strategy for redressing the IT plan is be personally agile.

"It is anything but text book, you have to think quick and be pragmatic and you cannot put enough hours into the relationships.

"There is no time for a strategy, it's about being tactical, but you do get the after party feeling from that," he jokes.


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