Meet the team - James Moore
First of all I think it would be useful for our readers if you could give us a bit of background about yourself and how you came to set up F-LEX with Mary?
My background is in software - I previously helped grow a company called Red Gate Software from about 20 people up to 300+ people with offices all around the world. As part of my role on the board of Red Gate I ran quite a lot of acquisitions working closely with legal teams from a variety of firms and across jurisdictions and I felt that as a client I would have had a much better experience if the lawyers I worked with used technology and many of the processes and approaches we used as a technology business more effectively.
In the early days of F-LEX what were the biggest challenges you faced?
I think it was the breadth of things that needed to happen and the fact we had no processes for anything, so we were always firefighting. I remember our first big booking, all of us had to drop everything to make it happen and we had to do everything manually - luckily we have now built systems which support us a lot more!
How have you found the transition into the legal industry?
It's been really interesting with so much to learn. It’s an industry full of super smart and motivated people which is great but there is definitely a different view of the world that lawyers have in comparison to engineers. I think the biggest challenge is getting lawyers to feel comfortable with risk when they have been trained to avoid all risk at all costs. It's been a great time to get involved though as I think lawyers are recognising they need to change, and we are seeing a huge change in the approach that lawyers are taking to their work.
A question that a lot of our paralegals are probably facing in their applications is how is technology changing the legal profession, what is your take on this?
I think there is a lot of focus on AI when thinking about how technology is changing the legal profession and while it is undoubtedly an important change I don’t think its the key one.
I think the biggest impact of technology on the legal profession is the reduction of barriers to entry and thus increased competition at all levels.
We are seeing the low end work being challenged by self service apps, bots and other technology based solutions. Particularly in the consumer sector, people's expectations are being set by the technology used elsewhere in their life. They expect apps, push notifications and one click signatures not to be sent forms to be filled out, signed, scanned in and emailed back.
At the mid-level we are seeing the use of technology along with services such as F-LEX, allowing them to begin to compete for work with the big boys - you no longer need hundreds of staff to do doc reviews when you can use technology effectively and F-LEX to provide you with the staff you do need. The most forward looking firms we work with are now starting to bid for work in the knowledge they can use F-LEX when they need to.
What has been your proudest moment with F-LEX?
I think there are two things that happen that make me very proud of F-LEX. I think it's meeting up with Flexers who have got training contracts, at least partially, based on their experience with F-LEX. The other thing that makes me feel proud of F-LEX is when we hear from our clients about successful projects they have run with us, particularly when we helped them out of a hole, or they bid for work based on the knowledge that F-LEX could help them deliver it.
What next for F-LEX?
More of everything! In the medium term I think we need to look at how we can support someone throughout their career with F-LEX. Mary and I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can enable people to qualify through F-LEX when the SQE comes in, it would be amazing if we are able do that!
Image by @hexlondon