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Legal tech, non-traditional career pathways for lawyers and driving change for future leaders

It’s been several years since Matthew Hollings, a lawyer by trade and self-described ‘legal technophile’, worked a traditional legal role in a law firm.

Having grown up around technology and exposed to the latest innovations from a young age, Matthew said “technology is second nature” to him.

“My old man ran a Harvey Norman, so we were always in the shop playing with computers or some sort of technology when we were kids,” he said. “At the start of my legal career, I never really thought that technology and the law were two things related.

“But, I came to realise there was this growing legal technology movement, with more and more legal technology products and technology-orientated services being developed to support the practice and business of law.

“It really clicked for me earlier on in my legal career, that there was probably a way for me to combine my familiarity and experience with technology, and my study and practice of the law.”

These days, as Head of Business Development at legal tech company Sky Discovery, Matthew helps members of the legal profession adopt and implement specific technology services within their practices.

“We provide support to lawyers working on litigious and regulatory matters, helping them navigate the challenges that data and documents pose to these matters in modern day practice,” he said. “It’s great to have found another way to use my law degree and my practical legal experience that is different to how it’s been done in the past.

“We certainly focus on leveraging our team’s practical legal experience to provide real and meaningful solutions to our lawyer clients’ problems, and we are definitely keen to provide opportunities for more lawyers to join our team.

“As time progresses, there will be further increases in the array of options for lawyers out there to use their law degrees in different ways.

“I’m really passionate about improving the visibility of these options for lawyers – and in particular junior lawyers – to build successful legal careers… but, in ways that are different to what might have traditionally been considered successful.”

Matthew is also helping to drive change for early career lawyers in a formal capacity, having recently stepped into his role as President of the Queensland Law Society Future Leaders Committee (FLC).

The FLC, now moving into its second year, represents and advocates on behalf of early career lawyers in Queensland – legal practitioners 35 years of age or younger, or those with less than five years’ post-admission experience.

The committee has members based in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast, out west in Toowoomba and as far north as Townsville.

“It’s nice to have a good geographical representation of the future leaders’ cohort,” Matthew said. “The issues that impact young lawyers or early career lawyers in Brisbane are certainly different to those up north and those out west.

“Minnie Hannaford, our President for last year, did a tremendous job in setting the platform for the FLC to do some really good things for early career lawyers in Queensland, and I am keen to try and build on that great start.”

Matthew said taking on the role of FLC President was a big privilege, and he was excited to be part of effecting change for future leaders within the legal profession.

“There’s been a large and nationally acknowledged requirement for change within the profession in a raft of different areas,” he said. “Wellbeing, workplace culture, the way we approach the integration of work and personal life, amongst so many others.

“The cohort we represent are fast becoming a big proportion of the profession, and they are naturally keen to shape it in a way that ensures we can continue to see successful lawyers emerge – but, in a way that ensures success doesn’t come at a cost to their happiness or health.

“It’s great to be a part of the committee and help to drive change at that level, but it’s not just incumbent on the members of the FLC to do that – we certainly intend to do what we can from within the Law Society, but everybody’s got a role to play in creating that change in their own space.”

The FLC also welcomed three new committee members last month; Sarah Plasto, Stafford Mortensen and Michael Murray. The next FLC election is scheduled to take place in September.

Meet the FLC.

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