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10 Mins With

Nick Cousins

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  1. Has the industry changed drastically since you started working in it?

Having spent 20 years working in the financial services sector, I am still a relative newbie to the legal world, but there have been profound changes to the way most sectors work over that time. Whether that be the advent rise and widespread adoption of digital channels, the evolution of cloud computing and the opening up of data that it has allowed, or the deep focus on human interaction and user experience.

All of these foundational changes have also seen the age of the tech start-ups and the rapid reduction in barriers to entry for innovation. Despite my short time in the legal sector, I can clearly see all these forces coming to bear. Even the way we work has completely changed in the last 12 months.

  1. What has been the key positive, or negative, impact of change in your area of the market?

On the positive side, the changes I describe above have, overall, driven better outcomes for consumers. Choice of services has expanded. Things are cheaper, faster, and generally more accessible. Charging people for inefficiency is no longer acceptable. User experience is now vitally important -– badly thought out or designed services don’t last long. You can’t take your customers for granted anymore.

There is a downside too. The rush to digitise every aspect of our lives can leave people behind and can exacerbate feelings of isolation. Being more connected can conversely make you feel more disconnected. We sometimes forget that people like talking to people, particularly when trying to deal with something important in their lives, so we need to remember that technology in itself, is not always the solution. It should be part of something broader and more considered.

  1. Who inspires/inspired you and why?

People with passion, empathy and conviction inspire me. They are the people that make a sustainable difference to the world. I’ll be inspired by anyone with that outlook on life whether they are doing something small or something grand.

  1. What has been the most valuable piece of advice given to you?

Listen first. Speak later. My 6th year English teacher told me that. As the deputy headmaster he terrified me throughout my time at secondary school, until he took my final year English class, which was a subject he loved and was able to teach to a group of pupils who were actually interested in it. He turned out to be passionate, empathetic, and wise (with high conviction!).

  1. If you were not in your current position, what would you have liked to have done?

If I had more design talent, I would have loved to have been a car designer. I spent many hours drawing them as a kid, but never managed to figure out how to pursue that as career. Most of my designs ended up looking like derivatives of KITT from Knight Rider though, so perhaps it was for the best.