find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
The Hopping Frog

The Hopping Frog

Maddocks partner Rob Gregory offers a riposte to Wednesday’s Opinion piece by Norton Rose Fulbright partner Nick Abrahams

Maddocks partner Rob Gregory offers a riposte to Wednesday’s Opinion piece by Norton Rose Fulbright partner Nick Abrahams

I'm a frog, in the sense that I'm a partner in a successful law firm. 

I really enjoy the work I do, the people I do it with and the results we achieve.

However, unlike Nick Abrahams, I'm not so worried about being boiled alive by technology.  I think that's because like most frogs (as well as Nick and many other lawyers) I have the fundamental skills that means I can hop about.

But, I would say that. 

I started my undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering, ended up with a degree in Information Technology as well as law, am a non-executive director of the Internet Society of Australia and am one of the leaders of Maddocks' Technology and IP practice.

However, I'm a lawyer first.  That's what gives me the ability to hop. 

Over the years I've hopped into tax, IP, corporate governance, contract, tort, administrative law, competition and consumer law, privacy and property among many other things that have been relevant to my clients.

A lawyer's key outputs are advice, representation and documentation. The key skills and attributes which a  successful lawyer uses to deliver those outputs are the ability to communicate (listen first, think next, speak last); identify the key issues and facts of a situation; and to work out what the relevant law is or will be as it applies to the situation. 

So, I don't see lawyers’ core role as being a monopoly source of information. 

As Nick rightly identifies, the volume and sources of legal information are exploding and will continue to do so.  More statutes, more courts and tribunals, more decisions, more reports, more internationalisation – just look at Austlii. 

The channels by which that information flows to lawyers and around them to clients are being rapidly cut and recut – no longer just the authorised reprints or reports from the Supreme Court Library but a multitude of online sites and services.

But as well as the threat, that's the opportunity. 

The lawyer's role in the future won't be to tell clients what the law is (i.e. provide information); it will be to interpret and apply the law to the client's circumstances in order to provide them with advice and representation and to assist to prepare documentation (even if that documentation exists in purely digital form). 

To make situations and law which are inherently complex and confusing into advice, representation or documentation which is simple and understandable in the relevant context.  That sounds a lot like what the lawyer's role has always been.

Of course, there is and will continue to be huge change in the way lawyers' services are delivered, how they find information and how they communicate with clients and the rest of the world.

But the advice I'd give to someone contemplating a legal career is to focus on the ability to hop by getting the basics right: having the ability to listen to your client, identify the relevant issues and facts, work out the applicable law and deliver services which are useful and thus valuable. 

If you can get the basics right, even as the way we do what we do completely changes, and as you help to drive those changes, you'll be ok.

Rob Gregory (pictured) is a Melbourne-based partner with Maddocks. His practice covers technology, media and telecommunications and competition and consumer law.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

The Hopping Frog
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...