November/December 2019

Leading in Legal IT

Leading the technology team in a law firm requires trust, clear objectives and a bit of magic.

Mark Gerow

Leadership in any setting is a tricky thing, a subtle and wonderful amalgam of vision and trust that is not to be confused with the management linked to it. In information technology (IT) leadership means convincing highly intelligent, creative and capable technology professionals to embrace shared objectives in support of the enterprise. In legal IT it also means convincing highly intelligent, busy and often skeptical legal professionals of the value of those shared objectives to the partnership or legal department. Leadership in legal IT is hard, and it’s essential.

As the saying goes, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” In this article I share a few ideas that I have stolen from others along the way and which I have found particularly useful in my role as a manager and leader. I hope you will find some of them worth stealing in turn.

A few words about my journey may be helpful. I started at Intel in IT operations right around the time that personal computers were taking over the desktop, leaving five years later to follow my dream of running a database applications consultancy developing solutions for the who’s-who of Silicon Valley in the 1990s and early 2000s. After many career twists and turns, as well as hard-won and valuable business experience, I landed in legal IT, where I have been ever since. 

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