Julia was a director of risk management and insurance at international law firm DLA Piper, prior to joining Airmic’s secretariat as deputy CEO and then CEO in 2021.
She was speaking on insurance broker Howden’s Fortune Favours the Brave podcast, hosted by consulting lawyer Jenny Screech.
“The digital age is here, and law firms need to prepare for the future and for that digital age,” Julia said.
“They need to have technology and systems that are fit for purpose. They need people with the right knowledge, the right skills and the right talent, in the right place at the right time. And that might mean that you can distribute your talent into different places doing different things than you did before,” Julia continued.
“The modern law firm will be a very different business in the future than the one that exists today because you’re serving clients, and the clients have changed, and there’s no going back over change. You can’t turn back the hands on a clock. The clock can only go forward in the real sense,” she added.
On artificial intelligence (AI), Julia emphasised that legal firms need to be cognisant about their needs in training people in the benefits and drawbacks of using AI.
“There are risks and opportunities to the use of artificial intelligence, and this is something that’s been in the press a great deal recently,” Julia said.
This is particularly the case for supervision and standards of online teaching and remote learning, which have become a prevalent channel for professional development at many law firms.
“A lot of the learning companies have found to their cost some negativity about the opportunities of artificial intelligence, and what that can do, and how it’s affected their business model for the future. Law firms have to sit up and take note of what opportunities or negativities AI might offer to them as well, because I think the same will apply.”
The rise of remote and hybrid working and its relative importance in attracting and retaining talent in the legal profession was also commented on by the Airmic CEO.
“I think what it’s going to start to become is just another benefit, because hybrid working for professionals within a firm is not the reason you join a firm, not primarily, anyway,” Julia said.
“You’re joining a firm because it’s the place that appeals to you. Your culture and your values are in tune, it is a great place to work, but not necessarily the style of what you’re looking for.
“Because what you’re looking for is, ‘Is this a firm I can progress in? What are the career opportunities that they offer to me?’ And I think something like hybrid working passes by as being one of the most important factors. When you’re younger and you start out at a firm, it’s important. But I think, over time, its importance will ebb away,” she added.
To listen to more of Julia’s podcast episode, including details of her own career journey as a risk professional, and her views on aspects of risk management and corporate culture, click here.