28 May 2020

Carey Olsen identifies app solution to improve remote working connectivity as part of the FT Innovative Lawyers – Global Legal Hackathon Challenge

A cross-jurisdictional team from Carey Olsen identified how a mobile app could help to improve connectivity among lawyers and to track real time workload management as part of its entry in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers – Global Legal Hackathon Challenge.

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic seeing lawyers and support staff move from the office environment to their homes, Carey Olsen concentrated on how this could greatly increase the risk of teams at firms becoming less connected, resulting in a less efficient outcome for staff, clients and the wider community. As a result, the team devised a 'future proofing' solution to make the legal industry 'anti-fragile' in the future.

"The traditional office environment mitigates against the risk of uneven work allocation, not least because lawyers are able to see in real time how busy their colleagues are," said Carey Olsen Jersey partner Chris Griffin, a member of the firm's hackathon team and a fintech legal specialist.

"With the advent of remote working this visibility is lost, which can cause problems for firms. Some lawyers might found themselves under-utilised, while others might suddenly become overloaded and partners and other supervising lawyers are unable to 'walk the floor' making it harder to spot and resolve such issues. It is also undoubtedly the case that the uneven allocation of work or interruptions in output adversely affect the clients' experience, team morale and productivity."

With that in mind, the Carey Olsen team identified three key questions for its mobile app to help address this issue among law firms:

  • How are partners able to effectively monitor the workload (client-facing or otherwise) of associates working remotely?
  • How can associates ensure they are doing what is needed?
  • How can associates have confidence in the fair distribution of work?

Chris added: "Traditional summary-only data and bottom-line 'capacity' numbers are not enough in the remote working environment because they cannot reflect the daily imbalances between different associates' workloads, so that such imbalances will remain hidden, both between associates and from partners."

To view the Carey Olsen project in further detail, please visit the team's gallery page on the official Global Legal Hackathon (GLH) Challenge website. Alternatively, watch the video below for a short summary of the app's functionality and usability.

 

Joining Chris Griffin in the Carey Olsen team were Annette Alexander, Richard Munden, Nichola Aldridge, Luke Sayer, Daniel Burridge, Giulia Carloni, Emily Cornhill, Fay Warrilow and Chris Carpenter.

The hackathon, organised by GLH and supported by the FT Innovative Lawyers programme, took place from 27 April - 22 May. It brought together thousands of legal professionals, software developers, designers and businesspeople to develop solutions to the most pressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. In total, more than 2,500 participants from 70 countries have taken part.