19 March 2014,

A GROUP of Brisbane general counsel has come together to discuss how to improve the effectiveness of in-house legal teams.

The first official Brisbane General Counsel Thought Leaders’ Meeting was hosted by Anthony Wright and Andrew Mellett, directors from legal services firm Plexus.

According to Wright, 93 per cent of general counsels say their top issue is building a more effective legal function.

“While the economy emerges from half a decade of malaise, 92 per cent of general counsel’s forecast that workload will increase, whilst only 16 per cent forecast budget expansion and 75 per cent say law firms have continued to increase hourly rates since the downturn,” he says.

“Every day general counsel’s tell us… no one is truly helping them address this conundrum.”

The meeting focused on two proven tactics of improving effectiveness and one future concept – artificial intelligence and the law.

“Using a framework developed by Plexus, the group focused on where a business’s capability gaps and goal failure risks lay, where legal could help address those gaps, and finally how to reach an agreement with the business on what is core to legal and what legal will not do,” says Wright.

The group discussed the issue of lawyer training and the focus on precedent as a potential block of productivity and efficiency improvement.

It also explored the use of artificial intelligence for rules-based work that involves legal questions with binary answers.

Wright says automation through artificial intelligence could affect 30-40 per cent of legal work.

“This will be a game changer for general counsels who will be able to reallocate their scarce resources to higher value work.”

Head of legal from QIC Leigh Cooper applauded the concept.

“It allows GC’s to meet or re-establish contact with like-minded Brisbane based contacts,” says Cooper.

“The recent session gave me a break from ‘business as usual’ and allowed me to consider strategic issues that were long-overdue for review.”

Plexus has found a niche acting as an extension of the ‘in-house team’ performing legal tasks, managing spikes in capacity or capability demand.





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