Winners of the Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers awards 2017
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Source: Sophie Mathur
An epiphany that innovation is not only about technology was a turning point in Sophie Mathur’s campaign to convince her firm that it was time to change. She set about fostering a culture that would ensure Linklaters makes the most of lawyers’ creativity.
Ms Mathur, based in Singapore, is one of the firm’s global co-heads of innovation. She has been at the forefront of Linklaters’ approach to the use of artificial intelligence. One of the innovations of which she is especially proud is the Nakhoda program, which can read, analyse and report on volumes of documents regardless of practice area. Her activities extend beyond making lawyers more efficient: she is also instrumental in improving flexible work options and career options for millennials.
In corporate practice, Ms Mathur has focused on start-ups on an affordable basis, which has led to the firm acquiring tech-oriented clients such as Chope, Otonomos, and Pie — which was Google’s first Singaporean acquisition.
Ms Mathur is working on a submission to local regulators to support the use of blockchain technology for corporate governance on behalf of Otonomos.
Partner and innovation leader
In his full-time, non-fee-earning role, Andrew Cunningham is using innovation to underpin strategy at MinterEllison.
The law firm is the largest one based in Australia, with more than 200 partners and 700 lawyers in total. Established in Sydney 190 years ago, MinterEllison has offices in eight Australian cities and internationally in New Zealand, mainland China, Hong Kong, the UK and Mongolia.
Mr Cunningham is a former employment partner, who managed the Sydney and Perth offices. He is currently a member of the executive leadership team and his experience is invaluable as he tells colleagues of the importance of innovation in business strategy.
“The profession for the most part is viewing disruption as simply another hurdle to overcome rather than a complete shift in the way we do business,” he says.
Mr Cunningham’s work takes many forms and he involves colleagues with programmes that include design-thinking, artificial intelligence, hackathons and collaborative innovation platforms.