Gillian Scott recently assumed a new role as Partner, Innovative Products at Osler. This non-traditional legal role is part of Osler’s overall innovation strategy and signals the firm’s commitment to driving change in the legal market. We sat down with Gillian for a Q&A session on what her new role entails, and how it can help reshape the delivery of legal services.
Q: Describe your new role as Partner, Innovative Products at Osler and how it fits into Osler’s overall innovation strategy.
Gillian: I see my role as part of a law firm of the future. The business of law is evolving and the kinds of skills that lawyers need to thrive and remain relevant to clients are necessarily following suit. I believe that Osler, as a firm, is ahead on this curve. In my capacity as Partner, Innovative Products at Osler, I’ll be providing strategic leadership on the launch and management of Osler’s innovative legal product offerings, such as Osler Dash (our automated franchise disclosure and e-contracting platform). Dedicating someone full-time on these new products really speaks to the firm’s culture of transforming the business of law to deliver better client value. It’s unique to have a client-facing business role in a law firm – but that’s my passion. I love to find the business cases for creative solutions that will help solve clients’ pain points and service gaps. I feel fortunate to work at a firm that is making such an investment in innovation.
Q: How does your background as a lawyer inform you in this role?
Gillian: I was a commercial litigator and litigation partner at Osler for 15 years, and then spent three years in the Client Development Group working on the firm’s business side in pitching, pricing, profile-building for various departments and building new offerings for clients. As a litigator, I was fortunate to have worked on many complex and multi-faceted cases, and this experience gives me a unique understanding of client challenges and business objectives. It also helps me understand how clients consume legal services. While I loved being a litigator, I’ve always been pulled to client relations and experience management, the business-side of law and law firm operations. This role lets me leverage my legal background, and knowledge of how a law firm works from both a practising partner perspective and business-team perspective in ways that did not seem possible when I graduated law school.
Q: Can you take us through how Osler’s innovation team works on a new product or service offering?
Gillian: We function a bit like a start-up within a law firm, with the firm acting as the investor. We identify client pain points and then build out new products or service offerings to address them. While no two products are the same, we typically build these products by combining our bespoke legal expertise, our uncompromising pursuit of process efficiencies, an alternative staffing model through our Osler Works platform, and legal technology. Products are also typically offered at fixed prices or under other alternatives to the billable hour. We expect to spin out our most successful products as new lines of business. The firm is taking a risk to develop these new product lines and investing a lot of resources and time, and my role is to ensure that our clients experience their many benefits.
Q: What would you say to someone who has a passion for law and also business development and operations?
Gillian: I’d say that Osler is definitely the right place to be. The firm has allowed me to combine my love for law and the business of law into a unique role that I think can help reshape the legal market. I get to work with clients directly, with partners who are experts in their respective fields and with a wide range of technologies and internal teams including Osler Works - Innovation and Client Development. My role is one that shows there are different ways to direct your passion for law and your legal skills – and Osler’s culture of innovation is the perfect avenue for this. It’s a fast-paced role and I’m learning something new every day – and that’s just the way I like it.