Distinguished ladies, gentlemen and colleagues, whether I speak to you as one of the Clifford Chance Barclays relationship partners or a full-time litigator or deputy vice-president of the Law Society of England and Wales, the golden thread combining them all is client service.
Without clients the legal profession, internal and external, is nothing.
And this is what the Barclays Law Tech Eagle Labs Initiative is all about, enabling the legal profession to provide a modern, innovative, cost-effective service in a way which is familiar to, and resonates with, the modern client.
From time to time I am asked whether I will be replaced by a robot in the years to come. Some think I've always been a robot. But the serious point is that the advances in legal technology, automation, technology assisted reviews, predictive coding and artificial intelligence are all about making sure that your clients will want to stay with you and your lawyers want to work with you, confident that you are focusing relentlessly on an ever-improved service to clients and allowing lawyers to do what they do best and machines what they do best. A complementary, not conflicting service.
And if any of you are in any doubt, I urge you to visit one of the labs as I did in Cambridge with Christina Blacklaws, the incoming president. And just see the various groups of innovators developing and trying out toolboxes designed to save lawyers time, to look at original solutions for clients and to keep the UK ahead of the competition.
It is the job of the Law Society to keep our members up to speed with what is going on, letting them know what works and what does not, what adds value and what does not and helping those with less resource match those with more.
The Law Society is therefore extremely proud to be part of this inspiring initiative, drawing together, as it does, the client, the bank, the law firm, the academic, the innovator and, of course, the Ministry of Justice.