Collaborating for Change: Design Thinking for the Future of the Legal Profession

Baker McKenzie and the Bond University Centre for Professional Legal Education, in partnership with RSG Consulting and the Financial Times (FT), are today hosting the first Australian FT Innovation Forum & Awards - a one-day event in Baker McKenzie's offices in Sydney. It aims to explore how the legal profession can better collaborate to solve issues faced by Australian business, government and society. The day offers an international perspective – both in terms of what the Australian legal profession can learn from other, international legal innovation centres as well as exploring what unique perspectives the Australian legal profession can export internationally.

 The keynote speaker for this Forum is sponsored by Baker McKenzie in partnership with Bond University under the Baker McKenzie Eminent Visitor Program (EVP) - Baker McKenzie has been a philanthropic supporter of the Bond University Faculty of Law since the Faculty’s inception in 1989. John Havens, a world renowned expert on artificial intelligence will be arriving from New York to address this Forum under the EVP.

Baker McKenzie's National Managing Partner in Australia, Anthony Foley stated: "Baker McKenzie has a long history of innovation in the Firm. For example, we led our market in the establishment of a shared services facility in Manila 17 years ago.  It now employs 800+ people and is being emulated by law firms across the world.  More recently, we’ve enjoyed tear away success with the world class operations established in Belfast in 2014 and which now offer large scale document review capability, due diligence on transactions and global surveys and research services."

In looking ahead, Anthony further stated: "Of course, we are conscious that there are plenty of changes ahead for the legal profession.  Those changes include the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning by our clients and our firm. We are early adopters of both machine learning/Ai technologies, design thinking and have a number of collaborations with both academia and industry the world over to reimagine the practice of law."

Bond University Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Nick James, stated: "Law schools are preparing the lawyers of tomorrow and therefore have to be at the forefront of changes in the legal services sector. It is no longer simply about being a technically competent lawyer. Law schools must teach our students how to deliver technology-mediated legal solutions, work within new regulatory frameworks, and become familiar with the use of artificial intelligence and other emergent technologies."

Nick further stated: "At Bond we are fortunate to have some of the best law teachers and scholars in the country delivering innovative law programs using truly world class teaching facilities. We are committed to providing an exceptionally high quality learning experience characterised by a professional and practical emphasis, a global focus, small classes and personal attention. Our Centre for Professional Legal Education has brought together eminent legal education scholars and practitioners to lead change in the way lawyers are educated and trained. This collaboration with Baker McKenzie, the Financial Times and RSG Consulting ensures we are participating in the conversation about how the legal profession is adapting and evolving."

The Financial Times Innovative Lawyers series (FTIL), which has been running since 2006, wants to focus more intently on the Australian legal market. FTIL would like to shine a spotlight on the Australian market and provide a platform for the convergence of leading ideas around innovation in the legal sector for both Australian legal practitioners and their contemporaries who are leaders in innovation in other jurisdictions around the world.

In hosting the Forum, Anthony commented: "For many, innovation in the practice of law is no closer than science fiction but with the scale, agility and track record of Baker McKenzie, we have the rare chance to implement innovation and improvements which help us and our clients."

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