Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

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Page 46 of 78

47 I L T A N E T . O R G D oes the "first mover advantage" truly exist? It depends who you ask. Business professors will go back and forth about the merits of Gillette's innovative razors, versus eToy's failures to capture online retailing, versus whether BlackBerry's smartphones can be considered a success given the company's current state. Typically in business, the first mover advantage is seen as less of a hard rule and more one of a set of circumstances that can help bolster the chances of success. However, for law firms, perhaps the right question isn't whether or not the first mover advantage exists. The question may be whether any law firm, in the legal industry's world of precedent and risk management, is actually brave enough to try to be first. When Lawrence Baxter, Glenn LaForce, Jeff Saper and Meredith Williams-Range arrived at Shearman & Sterling between mid-2017 and mid- 2019 to help fill out the firm's technology decision-making team, they found a firm that was operating well—but not necessarily innovating. And the concept of being a first mover on any sort of technology was certainly not in the firm's wheelhouse. "When we first joined the organization, we realized the firm really focused 100% of resources and time on making certain the firm ran today. There is an honorable purpose to that," says Williams-Range, the firm's chief knowledge and client value officer. "However, what you also have to do is create time and space to build a foundation and innovate." In the past couple of years, they've adjusted the firm's client value and technology strategy to build that foundation. In doing so, they have placed an emphasis on being first-movers to the cloud—first through a document management system implementation of the iManage Cloud beginning in 2018, and now, undertaking one of the first large-scale moves of firm management functions to the cloud in adopting the cloud- based version of Thomson Reuters 3E. At ILTACON 2022, they sat down to map out the firm's decision-making and implementation process, including what they've learned from being first movers and why they feel law should embrace the cloud. The Shearman Analytics Advantage In order to have more time to devote to innovation, as compared to simply maintaining efficiency, Williams-Range says that early on, she and her Shearman & Sterling colleagues adopted a Gartner approach: a third, a third, a third. One-third of the technology team's time is spent simply keeping the lights on and "securing the organization." One-third is spent "building a foundation for the future," with projects such as cloud implementations that help the firm not have "However, for law firms, perhaps the right question isn't whether or not the first mover advantage exists."

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