To kick off ELM Solutions’ new Legal Innovator blog series – showcasing how industry leaders and experts are moving the business of law forward - we turned the tables on David Kinnear, publisher and chief conversationalist with High Performance Counsel who spends most of his time talking to the leading thinkers and practitioners in the industry.
Tell us a little about High Performance Counsel.
High Performance Counsel (HPC) is an all-digital, pan-industry media property focused on the modern legal industry. We run iconic interview series, such as #BakersDozen, and #FoundersDozen, with top legal thought-leaders and practitioners.
I made the leap into media about two years ago because I wanted to provide both a sounding board and a spotlight for today’s and tomorrow’s brightest legal industry minds, while simultaneously sparking conversations. This industry will look sharply different in the next 10 years. Our goal is to help readers understand what is coming and how it will reshape our daily work.
How did you go from barrister to legal tech exec to starting a media property?
My decision to become a barrister was borne of my love of the English language, the art of communication and the jaunty cut ‘n thrust of courtroom advocacy. I cut my teeth in major litigation before Credit Suisse tapped me to move to New York as Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for the relocation of its global headquarters. It proved to be a fountain of experience.
Subsequently, I led a series of globalization initiatives pushing toward “Follow the Sun” programming, leveraging a mix of technology and labor arbitrage to reduce the time to market. Even in those earliest days, we were harnessing and leveraging data. A brief skirmish with early legal process outsourcing (LPO) evidenced to me that the industry would be built around data, technology and finance.
I’m also fortunate enough to have been a co-founder in an early legal technology startup. Long before investors became interested in this space, we achieved a rare successful exit through acquisition.
Having lived and learned from each of these chapters, it was my turn to help tell the stories of this new era in legal emerging around us.
How is HPC different from other industry blogs and media outlets?
We are focused on the next ten years in law and the leadership this will demand – both from a technical and human capital perspective. There is a distinctly personal and authentic tone in what we share and how we share it. We ask our interviewees to be candid, real and practical in their responses – and this authenticity of experience and perspective is what our readers value highly. It’s like a conversation with a trusted peer or mentor.
Although we take the industry seriously, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. On social media, our #hipcounsel hashtag is helping us develop a reputation for some rather fun debates on topics as diverse as pineapple on pizza, puppies, and wild 80s dance-offs. Some of the gifs are pretty funny!
What do you see as the 3 hottest trends in Legal Ops today?
On a general note, watch for new market entrants and consolidation. Not all of the answers for law will come from within, and the barriers to entry are low-to-zero. The 3 hottest trends? You might consider these:
- Legal Operations is the area that reminds me most of my prior HRO and BPO days. The potential for change around the universal “better, faster, cheaper” mandate is vast.
- AI is another hot area with extraordinary potential to disrupt the existing market and well-worn revenue flows –driving entirely new revenue. It’s coming to an office near you.
- Blockchain. For me, it’s impossible to look at areas like contract management without thinking of the way in which trading went all-digital. Consider the implications on at least two levels – the easiest being the dramatic streamlining of the contract lifecycle. The more exciting to contemplate is the next generation of trading that can emerge from harnessing underlying obligation data. Mortgage-backed securities, anyone?
Anything new coming up for HPC?
We love Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote – “to do, each day, that which scares you most” -- so we’re always prodding at the boundaries of our comfort zone. There’s no fear of being early and out front – which ensures our content is most helpful for readers.
Case in point - HPC TV. Over the summer we introduced a fabulous video network for the legal industry – helping clients tell their story and matching clients to the flexible, affordable video production resources they need.
HPC Radio and our introduction of our #WhatThePuck series (our little secret that is not now so secret!), with the first shows coming this fall. The name is a saucy take on the famous Gretzky quote about how great players play to where the puck is going, not just where it is.
You may also have seen our newest iconic interview series with General Counsel and high profile individual contributors – conducted by Sonya Olds Som. We’ve called this #SelfiesWithSonya. They are so much fun and timely reading for anyone looking to keep up with where the industry is heading. Senior perspective and experience delivered in a relaxed format.
Lastly, we will release our latest #TopOfMind Industry Special in early September – tapping into the collective wisdom of a diverse collective of professionals in the legal industry. Getting an invite to #TopOfMind is a little like getting a Willy Wonka golden ticket. We don’t reveal who gets invites until we publish the final piece. It’s all part of the fun.
Find David and his team at:
HPC TV: https://hpctv.co/