Lucy Dickens is a Legal Practitioner Director at Birman & Ride. She is also a leader in legal innovation, a best-selling author and host of the Doing Law Differently podcast. Dickens tells FLOYD ALEXANDER-Hunt about her career and the importance of technology.
When did you first become interested in technology?
I became interested in technology right at the beginning of my career. I was working in conveyancing, in a high stress and repetitive practice area. I didn’t enjoy the work but I really liked the firm so, instead of leaving, I decided to work out how I could improve the way we delivered services. I worked with a software developer on designing workflows to streamline services. Anytime I did a piece of work, I asked myself if I should be getting my software to do it for me instead? That was the starting point. It transformed my practice area and the entire business.
How can technology reshape legal services for the better?
For the lawyer delivering the service, technology can be used to eliminate a lot of the grunt work. As lawyers, we have to do a lot of administrative tasks and [give] repetitive advice that could be automated to free us up to spend time on tasks that require deep brain work, or on things we enjoy. I also think technology can improve the customer experience. Technology enables us to really tailor our service delivery to an individual in a cost-effective way.
Have you experienced any challenges in your career?
I find the stress of legal practice hard. I am one of those people that if I make a mistake, I won’t sleep properly until I’m over it. Managing setbacks and not beating myself up about it is definitely the biggest challenge for me. It’s quite common in the profession but people don’t talk about it all that much.
Can you tell us about The Juggle?
The Juggle is a podcast [separate to the Doing Law Differently podcast] my friend and I created as a support resource for professional women balancing the demands of work and family. We found that there was plenty of resources for business owners but not as many for people who are employed, as opposed to running their own business. Targting those people became our focus for the podcast.
Your book It’s Time to Do Law Differently: How to reshape your firm and regain your life, is an Amazon best-seller. How did you find the time to write it?
I started writing the book in February 2020. My son was only one so he would wake up multiple times in the night. One morning, I said to my husband “I can’t do this, I can’t get up early and write”. He told me if I really wanted to do it, I would. He’s an Ironman triathlete so he starts training at 4am before the children wake up. I thought to myself, if he can do it, I can too. So, for six months, I got up at 4am to write the content of my book.
What is your hope for the future of the legal profession?
My hope is that we continue in the direction we started, which is making the law more accessible. We need to be customer focused in the way that we deliver services. My goal is to help people see that there is a better way of doing business that also lets you have a life. We can reshape our business model to provide better services for our customers that also suits us better.
Lucy Dickens is a keynote speaker at the Law Society’s FLIP conference, to be held as a virtual event on 13 October. Early bird pricing is available until September 30. Download the full program and purchase a conference pass here.