Richard Hodkinson1

Chief technology officer at DWF LLP Richard Hodkinson told an audience of CIOs last week that improving collaboration and promoting a strong modern brand were crucial elements to the law firm driving its mobility strategy forward.

Speaking at a CIO Mobility Council event in London, Hodkinson said that going mobile was much less about workflows, and more about improved capability.

"Mobility is more of a collaborative experience," he said. "Mobile devices make businesses much more connected and improve our business flows around the world. Lawyers need to be able to make transactions and amendments quickly.

"Everything around social tools and mobility now is eventually just the way business will get done."

DWF has been through a number of mergers and acquisitions in the last 18 months, and at the end of last year Hodkinson told CIO UK about DWF's aspirations to be a top 20 law firm, and he believes technology can help unite and help the organisation.

He said: "We've taken on lots more people and we need to make them more collaborative. We need to be one firm rather than a set for warring tribes with the same letterhead, and the whole mobility play helps with that."

Driving through the benefits was easy for Hodkinson, he said, with a youthful managing partner who sees what technology can add to the law firm.

Hodkinson said: "I've got a tech-savvy CEO, or managing partner, so every win for me is an easy win.

"I don't talk about technology when I talk to the business; I talk about the benefits. The technology doesn't always interested me, but I like to be the facilitator and take people with me. In my industry and business I need to be a bit of a psychologist and sociologist as well."

Although the technology perhaps doesn't always interest the CTO, Hodkinson said that the demand among lawyers to have the latest technology was not just necessary to enable mobile working; it was also crucial to the reputation of the company to its clients, and also to those considering a career at DWF.

"In a law firm which is about reputation and ego, mobility is crucial," he said.

"Prospective employees are asking more about mobility, values, work-life balance and how progressive we are. You can say its cosmetic and window dressing, but we have very discerning employees who look at reputation beyond how much money they are going to make.

"And because reputation in the legal business is everything, it makes security a big deal. You don't need too many security breaches until you're out of business."