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10 Mins With

John Espley

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Q: Has the industry changed drastically since you started working in it?
A: Practice management software has come a long way since I joined the industry 15 years ago, document automation was still in its infancy and many law firms viewed practice management software as a luxury item. A practice management system is now a necessity for any firm wanting to practice successfully in the digital age.

With the timing of this interview, it would be remiss of me to not mention recent events and the outbreak of COVID-19. This unfolding tragedy will be and is, perhaps already, the biggest driver to change in the legal industry that I have ever witnessed.
Many law firms and legal entities have unfortunately found themselves in the predicament where they do not have reliable access to their matters when working away from the office. This is in stark contrast to firms who have invested in technology to mobilise their businesses and have transitioned seamlessly to a home working model.The mobile digitised law firm is no longer how elite law firms operate – it is now the way that every law firm must practise.

Q: What has been the key positive or negative impact of change in your area of the market?
A: In 2020, most law firms have now gone through two or three systems, changing software suppliers in the process, so when it comes to purchasing technology, they are much more informed. They know what’s involved and can recognise the most innovative suppliers and the products which are going to serve their firms well. It is no longer a case of finding the lowest cost supplier but, instead, of finding the product which will add the most value to their business.

Also, the end customer, a law firm’s client, knows what they are looking for in a law firm – a firm that is responsive, that communicates well, uses modern methods and that is easy to deal with. Clients expect emails to be answered 24/7 and will go to a firm that can give that level of immediate service.

Q: Who inspires/inspired you and why?
A: The people that inspire me are innovators. People such as Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, people who came to market with a concept and ran with it. People with the vision to make an idea happen and to develop it. LEAP has the same ethos and our founder realised very early on what the core components are which SME law firms need from a practice management solution to enable them to operate successfully within the competitive legal landscape.

Q: What has been the most valuable piece of advice given to you?
A: My father used to say to me, “if you have a job, it doesn’t matter what job it is, you do it to the best of your ability and you make sure that you do it better than anyone else.” I think Mohammed Ali said something similar but I never met him.

I have also been given good advice regarding decision making – that you should always take your time, make sure you’re consulting the right people and that you have the right people around you.

Q: If you were not in your current position, what would you be doing?
A: I’d probably be landscaping gardening. During holidays and when I came out of university, before moving into legal software, I worked as a landscape gardener and enjoyed it.
Either that or walking the dog.