02/07/2020 - 12:13

Hunt to lead Mallesons

02/07/2020 - 12:13

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The new Perth partner-in-charge at law firm King & Wood Mallesons has become a strong believer in the benefits of technology, saying COVID-19 has accelerated changes already underway and there is no going back.

Hunt to lead Mallesons
Nigel Hunt says KWM is well placed to deal with coronavirus restrictions.

The new Perth partner-in-charge at law firm King & Wood Mallesons has become a strong believer in the benefits of technology, saying COVID-19 has accelerated changes already underway and there is no going back.

Nigel Hunt has commenced this month as Perth partner-in-charge, taking over from John Naughton who held the role for nearly seven years.

“There has been an amazing momentum towards adopting technology,” Mr Hunt told Business News.

“We won’t go back to how it was before.”

Mr Hunt said KWM was well placed to deal with COVID-19 restrictions as it had already deployed technology to make the business more flexible.

This included supplying 1,400 laptops with in-built cameras to all staff, installing Cisco WebEx for video conferencing and deploying a ‘soft’ phone system tied to laptops.

Mr Hunt said not all technology deployments were successful.

The firm trialled prospectus verification software last year with poor results, but more recently adopted a new software package that did the job much better.

“Its been sensational, it saves a lot of the drudge,” he said.

Mr Hunt said this software was at its best when there were lots of people collaborating on one document, as it automatically verifies updates.

“It’s quite a profound change, these are things we used to do by hand.”

Mr Hunt said another positive trend was the ability to sign banking documents online, with updated versions shared via email.

KWM’s Perth office is back to about 50 per cent occupancy and Mr Hunt anticipates it will be back to full occupancy in a few weeks, subject to state government announcements.

He expects most Perth staff will work from the office but says the firm will be more flexible after the successful work-from-home experience in recent months.

Another practice that Mr Hunt suspects will change is interstate and overseas travel.

“There is a fairly universal view across business that we don’t need to travel as much as we used to.”

He believes the use of video conferencing has actually improved communication across the firm’s network of offices.

Similarly, he has found that clients are more accepting of video meetings.

“It’s now acceptable to not be there in person,” he said.

KWM is the sixth largest law firm in Perth with 14 partners and 78 legal professionals, according to Business News Data & Insights.

Mr Naughton continues as a partner at the firm.

 

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