Legal Consultant Profiles: 'The Tech Wizard' Bill Novomisle.
- Hey Bill, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a husband, a father, a student, a teacher and a recovering lawyer. Although I no longer practice, I love working with practitioners on making their lives better, their work more impactful, and their toolkits a little bit bigger. I am an American, but I have lived and/or worked in at least 6 countries. I am totally into wine.
- What path led you to be attracted to the legal consulting path and the flexible work model?
I wanted to bring to Asia-Pacific the benefits of thinking about law as a process and using better (rather than more) technology in how lawyers do their work. I had previously done this on the in-house side (Global Director of Legal Ops at PepsiCo) as well as on the law firm side (Pricing Director at Stikeman Elliott). In Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as the Asia-Pacific area more generally, these types of roles don’t yet exist, but the need for these types of services does. Being a consultant lets me do the work that I love, in the geography that I adore, for multiple clients simultaneously across industries and geographies. The breadth of the work keeps things eternally interesting.
- Was it challenging transitioning from BigLaw to NewLaw and particularly from legal to legal operations and technology? How did you overcome the challenge?
The transition demands an open mind. Lawyers are deeply skilled and trained. But so are experts in legal operations and technology. I had to immerse myself in a lot of topics that lawyers are not traditionally exposed to, including six sigma, lean, agile, continuous improvement, project management, process management, leadership training, change management. And then of course there is the technology component!
But, as they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. It took time to develop the skills, but I am proud of the training materials that we have developed and use at KorumLegal to bring our interested consultants up to speed on how to deliver meaningful consulting on process + technology mandates. The folks coming up behind me get to learn from my mistakes and can get up to speed in a matter of months – when for me it took years!
- How do you think the legal technology field has developed in the last decade?
Investors of all stripes have realized that there is a real market. That has meant money which has meant that all those great ideas which were floating around are now being turned into real actual products. There was no such thing as a legal tech incubator or accelerator a decade ago. Now, there are more than 12 around the world. The Global Legal Hackathon is arguably the largest hackathon on the planet – of any kind and on any subject matter – and that did not exist even five years ago. Of course, things are still chaotic, and we will see mergers, bankruptcies, and all the rest. But the products that are out there are very good and only getting better.
- Do you have any tips for consultants looking into joining the flexible workforce? Any Dos and Don’ts? (Productivity tips?)
Do be ready to be an amazing listener. 90% of my effectiveness is in the questions I ask and how I listen to the answers. Do be prepared for the fact that being a listener is much harder than being an expert.
Do block out time on your calendar to THINK without distractions (and that includes all forms of communication on our phones). Thinking is the most important thing we offer as consultants and the thing we are least likely to commit to in our calendars.
Don’t forget to experiment. Don’t forget that an experiment is judged by what you learn, not what you achieve. (Save the achievements for tactics that empirically worked in your experiments).
Don’t forget that the most important part of being in the flexible workforce is being flexible. Planning is essential, but plans themselves are worthless. Enjoy the ride and the unexpected places it takes you.
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