Team profiles

Peter GriffithPeter Griffith

Peter joined the Law Group at Sheffield Hallam University in 2007. Prior to joining the Group, he was at Oxford Brookes University, researching religion and belief equality law. Peter is a founding member of the LawSync team and is particularly interested in addressing the various pedagogic and regulatory challenges to embedding the LawSync concept throughout the degree programmes in the Department of Law and Criminology. He is also LawSync’s resident ‘techie’.

View Peter’s research profile 

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Pete SmithPete Smith

Pete joined Sheffield Hallam University in 2008, as Information Adviser for Law and Criminology. As a founding member of the LawSync team, Pete is interested in how students and staff can make use of information in planning and delivering innovation in legal services as well as the development of services that will enhance public access to legal information.
As an information professional, Pete is interested in information literacy, social, political, and technical issues around access to information, and the use of technology in enhancing access. Since being in post, Pete has also taken on responsibility for the Sociology and Politics Subject Groups at Sheffield Hallam University.

Pete is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP.)

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Stephen AllenStephen Allen

Stephen Allen has worked as a lawyer at Clifford Chance and Olswang, specialising in corporate and tax legal work and then, in a more general capacity, as in-house counsel at Freeserve, where he was also Company Secretary, sitting on the Executive. Grabbing the opportunity to cross the board table, with both hands, Stephen became Managing Director of two divisions of Orange (who acquired Freeserve) both in the UK and in Portugal, responsible for profit and loss accounts (P&Ls) in excess of £200m and leading strategic thinking of all aspects of those businesses.

Having cut his “business teeth” over seven years at Orange and intrigued by the world of opportunity that presented itself from the Clementi Report and the Legal Service Bill, Stephen set up Atticus Consulting to provide buyers and sellers of legal service with bespoke advice on alternative pricing, service measurement and identifying and delivering “legal value”. Stephen’s client base included banks, insurance companies, the Public Sector and a number of the major UK law firms.

In December 2009, Stephen joined Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP) to act as the architect of its Managed Legal Service (MLS) for Thames Water. The first of its kind, an entirely fixed price contract of legal services was signed in 2010 for a minimum period of five years and was worth in excess of £25m. MLS won five individual awards (including the FT Award for Innovation) and was cited as one of the key contributors to BLP being named Law Firm of the Year 2010 by both The Lawyer and at the British Legal Awards (the only firm to hold both awards concurrently).

Stephen became Director of Innovation at BLP leading innovative and strategic thinking across all of the firms activities as well as providing board level consultancy to a number of major BLP clients.

He has shared much of his thinking with the industry through his blog lexfuturus.com, which includes key elements of original thought including “Legal Value” and “inter-professional intelligence” (or “PQ”). Stephen is now a regular speaker on the legal services market and legal service innovation and has in the last year spoken at over twenty conferences in six different countries.

Stephen’s next challenge will be to create and lead a new “Legal Function Effectiveness” advisory business at PwC that will advise major corporations and the public sector in order to maximise functional effectiveness and P&L enhancing legal value.

A firm believer of the need for a broader legal services market, with diverse professions contributing enhanced products and service – Stephen supports the LawSync initiative for its unique focus on equipping law students with the broadest possible comprehension of the industry, its complexity and its direction.

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Mitch KowalskiMitch Kowalski

Mitch Kowalski is a Canadian lawyer based in Toronto. In 2012, he was selected as one of the Fastcase Top 50 Global Legal Innovators. Mitch regularly speaks on legal service innovation and is a regular blogger on legal matters for The National Post’s blog, The Legal Post and on innovation in legal services for Slaw.ca.  He is the author of “Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century”.

In addition to his legal practice, Mitch teaches innovation in law at Western University Law School and at the University of Ottawa Law School. He is also one of the co-founders of lawTechcamp Toronto.

Mitch believes that there are much better ways to deliver legal services; ways that reduce costs for law firms and clients, increase efficiency, enhance the lawyer-client relationship, improve access to justice and improve a lawyer’s quality of life. He brings to LawSync his perspective on law firm operations and a desire to drive change in the legal services industry through improved future-ready legal education that enhances professional opportunities for law students.

For much of his legal career, Mitch practiced law with the Toronto office of Baker & McKenzie, before moving to one of the oldest, mid-sized law firms in Toronto, Aylesworth LLP, which later became Dickinson Wright LLP. He also served as in-house counsel for the City of Toronto and had a business role with First Canadian Title. Mitch currently maintains a boutique law practice in Toronto.

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Antony SmithAntony Smith

Antony is the founder of Legal Project Management Limited, which provides project based consultancy services to lawfirms. He is a solicitor by training with post-graduate level qualifications in law, computing and project management.  Building on many years experience advising law firms, and other organisations, in areas such as Pricing (Alternative Fee Arrangements), Risk Management, Improved Workflow Processes and Product Management, Antony is keen to help legal service providers to identify, and make the most of, their commercial opportunities.

Antony began his commercial career working for Richard Susskind at Ernst & Young on the development of legal expert systems, and thereafter at Masons (now Pinsent Masons) developing other ground-breaking systems for fee earner use. During this time he acquired a particular interest and expertise in processes, systems and software to assist with, and enhance, the delivery of legal services.

Antony considers that the early promise of legal expert systems – leading to fundamental changes in the way law is practiced and legal services are consumed – has not been realised. Instead, some change has been effected by other means (including other kinds of software applications). However, Antony believes the pace of change needs to increase in response to the rapidly changing legal services market. The prospect of helping to effect necessary and lasting change in the legal service industry has drawn him towards LawSync, alongside innovative thinkers, risk takers and enthusiasts who all share a similar vision for the future practice of law and delivery of legal services.

Antony is a member of the Association for Project Management (APM) as well as the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has enjoyed project based roles at the School of Law Kings College London, Berrymans Lace Mawer Solicitors and Axxia / LexisNexis, where he spent just over 10 years in the role of Strategic Project Manager.

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