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David T Kinnear

Change is a dragon. You can ignore it, which is futile. You can fight it, in which case you will lose. Or you can ride it.
– Anon.

I asked Google Translate what the status of our internal flight to Helsinki was on our drive to Joensuu Airport the other day. It reassured us that “Hamburger is cancelled”.

We made it to Helsinki nevertheless.

Bringing great legal technology to market is like wrestling an alligator. It takes guts, strength – and a gritty willingness to break a sweat and get a bit dirty. 

It also requires a peculiar sense of humor and a working acceptance that things don’t always go the way you planned. Sometimes they go wrong, and keep on going.

I asked Google Translate what the status of our internal flight to Helsinki was on our drive to Joensuu Airport the other day. It reassured us that “Hamburger is cancelled”.

We made it to Helsinki nevertheless.

I’ve long-since championed the huge role and advantages of tech deployment in the legal industry. Why pay a lawyer to do what tech can do faster, cheaper and yes, even better. Equally, why try to get tech to do what the softer skills, experience and intuition of  a good lawyer can do so much better.

There is a fresh awareness of AI circulating in the frenzied corridors of LegalTech Land just now. In Cairo, every cab driver will tell you how they’re related to a Pharoah. In law, ChatGPT is the rockstar everyone claims to know personally.

For several years HPC #HIPCOUNSEL (www.HPC.law) has committed its voice to encouraging #innovation in the #legalindustry. We renew that commitment. There has never been a more exciting but also more important time for legal tech and innovation to break cover, break the mold, shatter the ceiling and pierce the envelope – to finally, yes finally, get a meaningful foothold in mainstream law beyond simply the realm of Discovery / eDiscovery and Attorney Case Management Systems. The latter fields have largely dominated the space for many years now – deservedly so.

The time has surely come for broader, deeper, wider applications of tech to touch the daily lives of lawyers and clients alike – in a positive manner. There are many voices suggesting that evolutions such as #AI and, more recently and specifically, #ChatGPT, are the catalysts and vehicles for a groundswell of change that everyone has been waiting for. Time will tell. There are clearly some big reputations on the line so the stakes are high – as is the volume of learned commentary.

It does beg the important question around real, dynamic change in the delivery of legal services both sides of the Atlantic, though especially in the UK:

If not now, then when? We’ve been at this a while folks.

With all change and with all advances in technology, there is the risk that not everything goes quite according to plan. The risk of failure scares many, thrills some. The slowdown in funding puts new pressures on startups to deliver.

In all of this, persevere – push toward the prize. And never, ever lose your sense of humor in a world where things will invariably sometimes go wrong…

To the naysayers who point to setbacks and failures, to those who simply try to defend an archaic profession from improvement, and to those who remain tone deaf to client-centric legal services using tech, move on.

It will happen anyway.


David T. Kinnear
aka: @hipcounsel | Barrister | Mediator | Adjudicator
Publisher: HPC.law | Follow #hipcounsel
London, New York & Dublin


About David

David is a Private Client Barrister, Fractional / Interim General Counsel (GC) and Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator. He is a Non-Exec. (NED) / Advisory Board member and the Publisher of High Performance Counsel (“HPC”). He is a co-founder and director of Small Claims Portal, a legal technology and services company delivering a turnkey solution for millions of businesses and consumers dealing with small claims litigation. Additionally, he is a co-founder of a legal technology company focused on no-code legal process automation, which was successfully acquired by a leading legal services provider.

David brings 20+ years of business and legal experience to the table for his clients. He provides confidential, cost-effective and timely legal services – advising clients in a variety of civil and commercial matters and representing clients before Courts, Government Regulatory Bodies and in other hearing formats, such as negotiation, arbitration, mediation and adjudication. Instructions may be accepted directly or via chambers for UK and international matters.

David spent his early years in private litigation practice – largely focused on substantial construction, engineering and commercial real estate disputes. David worked for leading law firms Pinsent Masons and Linklaters in London before moving to New York to join Credit Suisse. As Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, he helped negotiate & execute the relocation of Credit Suisse into its (now) NYC global HQ – the iconic Eleven Madison Avenue.

David has directed major global outsourcing, shared sourcing, HR operations & process efficiency initiatives including the digitization of records, the global roll-out of PeopleSoft HRMS & Y2K Compliance. He has worked extensively in the UK, US, Philippines, India and China markets in the areas of data management, HR and BPO – and most recently LPO, LegalOps.

David graduated from the University of Manchester with Honors in Law and Bar School (College of Legal Education) in London, and has been a member of Middle Temple since 1989.

Member: Bar of England & Wales, American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, Federation of Integrated Conflict Management, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, The Society of Mediators, The Civil Mediation Council, and the Mediator Network.

About High Performance Counsel (HPC)

Founded by international lawyer and successful legal technology founder, David Kinnear, High Performance Counsel (HPC) is the leading business media resource covering the modern legal industry and the people, technology and economic forces driving its future. Described as the “voice of the modern legal industry” HPC provides world-class media coverage via one-to-one feature interviews with leading legal professionals and the publication of key insights via articles, white papers and industry commentary.

Visit us online here: High Performance Counsel Follow us on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HipCounsel Connect with David Kinnear on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidkinnear/ Connect with HPC on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/hipcounsel Join our mailing list here

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