Episode Two

Your host for this episode is Luke Campbell.

Sam Nickless

Sam Nickless is the CEO of Gilbert + Tobin, one of Australia's largest and most innovative law firms. Nine years ago, after an awesome career outside of law, Sam returned to the legal industry to help lead the firm and cultivate an innovative culture that stands out in the profession today.

The conversation covers a lot of topics but dives deep into how AI and legal tech will shape the future of the legal field, and how firms should be developing today to maintain an edge.

Listen to the full episode on The File Notes Youtube, Spotify, Apple or Amazon.

Transcription Summary

In this episode, we delve into the diverse career journey of Sam, exploring his experiences and perspectives on the evolving legal industry and its deepening relationship with technology.

Sam began his academic journey by studying law and economics in Australia, which eventually led him to the prestigious halls of Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. This transition challenged his views and exposed him to the importance of robust debate.

Sam took an unconventional path by starting his career at McKinsey, where he thrived on the business focus and the wide range of experiences it offered.

In his leadership roles, Sam discusses his approach to identifying talent and empowering individuals, emphasizing the significance of qualities like curiosity and a delivery mindset.

A significant turning point occurred when Sam returned to the legal sector as the COO of Gilbert + Tobin in 2015, despite not having a legal practice background. His outside perspective brought innovation and fresh insights to the field.

The conversation shifts to the impact of technology on the legal industry, as Sam explores the shift from a labour-only model to one that combines labour and capital with the integration of technology and AI. He highlights key near-term opportunities in data extraction, research, document automation, and drafting while acknowledging the regulatory challenges surrounding the use of confidential data.

Finally, Sam explores the future of the legal profession, where he envisions new roles like data scientists, evolving ownership models, and adapted pricing strategies to account for technology's contribution. He also shares his concerns about potential disruptions faced by mid-tier law firms that fail to adapt to this changing landscape.

This podcast episode offers a fascinating journey through Sam's experiences and insights, making it a must-listen for those interested in the intersection of law, technology, and the evolving legal landscape.

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