By Legal Futures Associate LEAP
LEAP, the largest independent provider of software to law firms worldwide, has recently appointed Gareth Walker as CEO of LEAP in the UK and Ireland. Previously Chief Operating Officer of LEAP for five years, Gareth has extensive experience of the LEAP business and the industry. He has worked in legal software for over 15 years and has been with LEAP since they opened their first office in Twickenham, London. He has seen the business grow from the inside and has experienced first-hand the market changes over the years.
Gareth’s first months as CEO have come at a turbulent time for the profession. Law firms are juggling the challenges of hybrid working and retaining and attracting talent in a competitive recruitment market. All this whilst maintaining an affordable yet profitable service. Gareth is, however, very positive about the future for the law firms LEAP serves.
“The current business challenges faced by law firms, such as the scarcity of talent in the market, the rise in global costs and the need to adapt successfully to hybrid working are very much supported by LEAP solutions. By automating daily tasks, improving cash flow and mitigating risk, LEAP enables law firms to be more profitable and productive without the need for more staff or impacting customer standards. Using the right technology partner will support law firms to future-proof their practice, counter the effects of inflation and help to grow the business.”
“Law firms are incredibly resilient through tough times. When things are tough, law firms need to embrace software even more. This enables them to continue delivering the same level of services with lower overheads as well as using less people. For us this means driving innovation in everything we do. We are passionate about how we do that.”
In terms of the business landscape, the market and the importance of technology, Gareth has seen some key changes in his time at LEAP and notes important constants. “I’ve been with LEAP since we arrived in the UK in December 2013 and it has been an incredible journey. There have been many changes.”
Gareth shares the following thoughts and observations as CEO:-
On the business landscape, the market and the importance of technology and of constantly innovating:
In terms of the business landscape, we are faced with global political, economic and societal challenges caused by the war in Ukraine and Covid, however we’re continuing to grow rapidly. Law firms are resilient in tough times and turn to software to provide solutions to business challenges. There is an understanding that you’ve got to continue to drive and improve to survive and thrive in a challenging business climate.
Effective use of cloud-based technology provides solutions to current business challenges, facilitating vital remote and hybrid working practices for law firms and reducing the headcount needs, overcoming the current skills gap caused by a scarcity of talent.
We have seen amazing advancements in the technology available in the market, and LEAP has been a clear driver in that. The technology now available to law firms is just incredible. There are new players and innovations emerging constantly.
It’s well known in the industry that we invest every year in the innovation of what is already the most widely used product in the market. There are always opportunities, and these will come from continuing to drive development. We drive innovation in terms of investing in our products and innovation in our services, thinking about new ways that we can help our clients. Our customer success team constantly questions how we can improve.
On the changes, opportunities and challenges facing law firms and the importance of a partnership approach:
Law firms’ adoption of technology has developed significantly in the last 15 years. The firms have a lot more knowledge when they go out to market now. The options are numerous, but law firms know there is more guidance available.
Many years ago law firms would reluctantly accept the use of technology, now they want to embrace it. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve seen. This makes the onboarding process easier, however customers are quite rightly more demanding of their technology partners. The relationship is not just as a supplier but as a partner now and therefore the role of our LEAP Practice Productivity Advisors is so crucial.
The LEAP partnership approach and the development and evolution of LEAP Practice Productivity Advisors is critical to ongoing success. If we understand our law firms and their business processes and what they’re trying to achieve, then we can train their people in the right way. Once trained, we help them manage their staff training and processes. Our customer service plays a key role in this. It’s not just training individuals, it’s working with a law firm, top down, to help them embed those processes and skills and being able to do that in a remote working setting. We proactively want to spend time with our customers to see how they are using the software and suggest how to adapt business processes for maximum effect. We are a very proactive business. Ultimately, it’s about supporting law firms to use technology to mitigate challenges and achieve business success.
On the LEAP innovation ethos and future proofing for ongoing success:
Innovation for us is a state of mind. We really have an evolution ethos here. We continually strive to be the best. The moment you stand still and you stop, you fall behind. And for us, it is about continually driving improvement in every single area of the business and every single aspect of what we do. We have a day one mentality. Today is day one. What do we know today? And what do we do to move forward? That’s something we drive a lot, and our business structures are fully designed around making sure that we do that.
Gareth is confident of the continued success of LEAP and of the law firms that LEAP serves.
“We will survive and thrive because of our problem-solving approach. Our focus on technology development and our partnership approach to working with law firms helps future proof LEAP and the businesses we serve, ensuring continued evolution, relevance and value in an ever-changing world.”