As new types of legal professionals continue to emerge, the individuals featured here demonstrate the breadth of specialties that work in law firms. They include forensic accountants, computer scientists, management consultants, and attorneys who combine legal training with other types of professional experience.
As a measure of how professionals—data scientists, cybersecurity professionals, technologists, and others—are transforming law firms, FT Award-winner Paul Fontanot said that despite not being a lawyer, his Joined a law firm as an equity partner.
Profiles compiled by RSGI researchers and FT editors. “Winners” refers to the Innovative Lawyers 2023 Awards, the rest in alphabetical order.
Winner: Paul Fontanot, partner, Clayton Utz
Forensic accountant Paul Fontanot joined Clayton Utz in 2017 to build the Forensic and Technical Services (FTS) team. The company changed the partnership deed to allow him to participate as an equity partner, even though he is not a lawyer.
Since then, he has expanded an existing team of 7 people into a diverse practice of 150 professionals, including data scientists, cybersecurity experts and technologists.
The group collaborates with other law firms to provide clients with comprehensive advice on investigations and a variety of technical issues, including how best to respond to cyberattacks. They also develop technology for the company’s other operations and customers. In addition, Fontanot has created his program of training for all graduates interested in these sought-after skills as an evangelist for the spread of data and technology expertise into law.
Andrew Beasley, Regional Program Director, Innovation and Best Delivery Hub, Asia Pacific, Clifford Chance
Andrew Beasley has developed a tool that shows how attorneys are spending their time on client work to maximize firm resources, such as low-cost distribution centers and automation technology.
The “Time Narration Tool” analyzes timesheets and allows attorneys to visualize data in a variety of ways. Leaderboards identify the attorneys who are most efficient at doing their clients’ work. Over the past two years, the technology has saved the attorney more than 18,000 hours of his time, and Dew has used the company’s delivery center in India for tasks such as her diligence, document review, precedent drafting and research. His 30% increase. .
Beasley leads a team of technology, data science, and change management professionals who work across the company to save time on tasks, increase revenue, and improve job delivery.
Rohan Diaz, Special Advisor to Lander & Rogers
Construction attorney Rohan Dias not only provides professional legal advice, but also works with clients to automate complex legal documents and processes. He recently led the automation of a professional services contract for an Australian development and construction company.
The new method saves time and money, reduces errors and captures valuable data. Technical approaches help generate more complex and valuable contracts beyond those previously used for simple legal documents.
With degrees in both law and physics, Diaz combines his professional and scientific training with experience working as an in-house counsel to design both the technical and legal elements of our solutions.
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Chief Innovation Officer, Komal Gupta
Komal Gupta has helped drive technical and cultural change at the company since being hired to lead the implementation of an artificial intelligence tool for document review.
A year after joining the firm in 2017, she launched Vichaar, an annual “innovation week” where lawyers and staff tackle challenges and provide new ideas. One of her achievements is her CamPlead. CamPlead, a time-saving database of many documents used in courts across India, was developed and is now in use by the company. Overall, the program encourages lawyers to think differently about how work is done and how technology is used.
In 2019, he also launched Prarambh, a legal technology incubator. The company has been helping Indian entrepreneurs and legal tech companies during his six months by providing expertise and mentoring to help them grow. Gupta studied law but started his career by working in outsourcing legal processes.
Arjuna Guruge, Associate Director, eDiscovery and Legal Technology, Australia and Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills
Central to Arjuna Guruge’s role is working directly with clients to help create new businesses.
In 2021, Gurge created a new service to store and manage legal data, initially for one of Australia’s four largest banks. Our firm hosts a central repository of data and documents that provides secure access to our clients and the law firms or advisors they engage with. In this way, the service reduces risk when transferring sensitive data and enables clients to respond quickly to regulatory investigations and disputes.
A computer scientist by training for the past decade, Guruge has also focused on bringing advanced technology and analysis used in the United States to investigations and disputes in Australia.
Shane Woodhouse, Chief Client Officer, Business Advisory, DLA Piper
After running his own management consulting firm for over 20 years, Shane Woodhouse joined DLA Piper in 2021 with business partner Sean Faehrmann to form a consulting subsidiary.
Woodhouse worked with the firm’s attorneys and clients to identify areas where consulting and other professional expertise would be valuable. As a result, they have developed an integrated mergers and acquisitions service. It guides the client through the whole process of trading. The team has also launched services covering environmental, social and governance topics, enabling them to advise clients on issues such as managing reputational risk of “greenwashing” and improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In two years, Woodhouse has built a team of over 30 people who bring revenue to the law firm.