Can you please let us have your career history?
I started my training at Trenite Van Doorne in Rotterdamin 1994 and in 1996 I moved to London to help set up their London office. I worked in London for almost 5 years after which period I moved to Clifford Chance in Amsterdam. I became a partner in the Global Financial Markets group in 2003 and the managing partner of the Amsterdam office in 2009. In 2015 I became the global head of innovation and business change at Clifford Chance.
Why is your company so interested in LawTech?
There is quite a lot of uncertainty about the future of legal services but we are convinced that the opportunity to improve our value proposition to our clients by selling our legal expertise and knowledge through tech solutions is huge. We want to make sure that we optimize the likelihood that we realise this opportunity.
What’s your personal interest – are you a lawyer by trade?
The drive for innovation in the legal sectors creates fantastic opportunities. I am a lawyer by trade and am passionate about ensuring that we actually use the tools and resources available to us now to optimize the value we create for our clients.
How would some of the new technology you are seeing today have helped you in the early part of your career?
YES! Where shall I begin? Some examples: I started my career spending a lot of time in dark data rooms doing due diligence. Did all nighters primarily focused on sitting in on endless conference calls going through cp checklists. Have spent many hours reinventing the wheel when drafting documents. So I would have warmly welcomed Kira, Workshare Transact and Contract Express to not just improve the quality of the work I was doing but also the quality of life.
What are the biggest trends in LawTech and how will they impact the industry?
A big trend is the move to integrated solutions rather than stand-alone solutions. Another trend is around the work which is done for instance by a company like Reynen Court to lower the hurdles to applying tech solutions imposed by the drive to ensure security. I am also expecting that there will need to be a certain level of consolidation of tech solutions resolving similar issues because clients cannot be expected to work with a wide variety of tech solutions which would be the case if every firm starts to roll out ist own solution. More collaboration between providers of legal services is needed in this area in the interest of the client. We will also see that if the issue that the tech solution resolves is big enough for the clients they will start to adopt their own solutions as we have seen in the past with e-discovery products.
What kind of LawTech excites you the most?
Solutions that have large scale impact on issues we now try to resolve manually. These are not always the most sophisticated or innovative solutions but to me client impact is more important.
How have you been working with any of the LawTech businesses in the Eagle Lab?
The firm is working with a variety of Law tech businesses in the Eagle Lab; Genie a.i.; Legal Utopia (A2J) and Intellex.
What impact will LawTech have on the law firm of the future?
The impact of Law Tech will be huge and in my view it will be positive. It will help us develop new business models like we do in our own separate law tech company Clifford Chance Applied Solutions Ltd where we sell solutions on a subscription basis. It will also help us drive efficiency, quality and consistency in the way we deliver our legal services.
Any LawTech predictions – will we need real lawyers in the future?
People are and will remain the single most important asset of any leading law firm. Law firms that will embrace tech will be able to attract and retain the biggest talent in the market.