Osborne Clarke is a leading international legal practice and proud sponsor of three participants of the 4th edition of our Women Talent Pool Programme (WTP). WIL had the pleasure to talk to one of them, Claire Temple, Associate Director, Osborne Clarke UK! If you are curious to know more about Claire, the effects of new technology in the world of Law and if she envisions the future of society rather as Star Trek or as Mad Max, read the interview below!
Growing up, did you already know you wanted to become a lawyer? If yes, why? If not, what made you become one?
I was pretty much set on being a lawyer from the age of 14 – which could either be seen as a lack of imagination or a someone who was pretty focused, let's say the latter!
Those that know me will agree that I've always enjoyed speaking up, asking questions and solving problems, even as a child I'd be the one in the playground that was always having a go at dealing with friends’ problems, albeit the problems of a seven year old are a bit different to those of global tech company! I worked out that by being a lawyer, I would have the opportunity to use those skills and try to help people and companies in a similar way.
Later on, I saw an explanation that a lawyer is like a social engineer: they take the rules and laws of society and they shape and work with them to help people achieve the best they can or to alleviate burdens and pressures they might be under. It really caught my imagination in terms of what I wanted to do!
Do you think technology will change the world of lawyers?
Absolutely, technology has profoundly changed the way lawyers work already and will continue to do so. We are already using some relatively advanced technologies in the workplace, that are able to do a lot of the basic tasks we used junior lawyers and paralegals for, such as basic research, document drafting, document review and data analysis. And these technologies are developing really quickly.
Some think that these technologies, such as AI, could take away some of our jobs but in reality, it will enable us to be more strategic in our thinking and in application of our knowledge. This is going to result in a much more interesting proposition for our clients in terms of the services and value we can add.
Some think that these technologies, such as AI,
could take away some of our jobs but in reality,
it will enable us to be more strategic in our thinking
and in application of our knowledge.
As a lawyer you have been working on the regulation of self-driving cars, drones etc. which are incredible opportunities but at the same time they are also challenging from an ethical and practical standpoint. Do you believe the future of society is heading towards a Mad Max or Star Trek scenario?
First things first, I've not really watched either, but on the basis that I think Star Trek is the more positive of the two, and I'd call myself an optimist, I'd say (hope) Star Trek! We're seeing technology developer faster than regulation, and that's led to some problems with previously unanticipated technologies making it to market with very little regulation and causing some issues. But, I think more and more people are actually realizing that there are moral imperatives and ethical issues that must be taken into consideration when designing these new technologies, leading them to almost self-regulate around them. Everyone around their own business is also a consumer – we are all consumers of Instagram, Facebook and Uber… and that is making us think about acceptable application of the technology and technology for good.
This isn't going to ever entirely stop misuse of technology, or situations where things get out of control, but I think that where this does happen, society will call these matters to account and it will be in the minority.
London is Europe's top tech hub; do you think that after the UK’s final departure from the EU it would still be possible for the country to attract investments specifically in the tech sector?
Brexit will definitely impact the UK, but there is still certainly a place for London in the tech environment as a global player. Not only do we have some incredible tech companies and passionate tech minds that hopefully won't be leaving us on Brexit, but we also have a low tech but nevertheless crucial advantage of having English as our main language. It's a first or second language for so many of the major tech countries all over the world, that I hope we can be seen as a bridge into Europe and therefore a sensible place to still invest in tech.
However, it is really important that the UK is proactive in order to remain an attractive place for tech companies to do business and to invest, and the Government needs to take steps to make this the case.
Brexit will definitely impact the UK,
but there is still certainly a place for London in the tech
environment as a global player.
How is it to work in a Legal 500 law firm such as Osborne Clark that, not only supports the WTP Programme, but is also deeply committed in promoting women in the workplace?
Osborne Clarke is definitely a great place for women to work. For example, I have seen my co-workers very much supported during parental leave with coaching, keep in touch days and return to work mentoring. And I see a lot of senior Osborne Clarke lawyers, both men and women, speaking up for women in more junior positions – sponsoring them for more senior and challenging roles.
Osborne Clarke has also really supported me in setting up two female initiatives: Women In Regulatory Law (#WRLaw), a series of networking events with regulators, in-house and private practice lawyers looking at issues in and around regulatory and compliance strategy, initiatives and projects; and the project Women in Tech*, a conversational series where we interview women who are digital and tech experts before an audience.
We are introducing a new tradition at WIL, whereby we ask each one of the interviewees a question from Proust’s Questionnaire:
What is your most marked characteristic and why do you think it has helped you in your career?
It is most definitely, optimism. I am not saying that I am consistently one hundred per cent an optimist, but it's something that seems to come relatively naturally to me and it's helped me make the best of situations.
There are times during your career when you may doubt yourself, I certainly have and anticipate that will always be part of me in some way, shape or form. But in those times, I think my inner-optimism has helped alleviate that doubt by helping me to see the positives that can come from a challenging or difficult situation. I also find that others are more drawn to optimism, which helps build relationships and strong teams, and that generally, an optimistic outlook makes both my life and that of my colleagues and clients more fun!
Being optimistic can seem contrary to being a lawyer, on the assumption that sometimes we have to deliver hard and difficult advice, but there is always an opportunity for a client, even from the most challenging of situations, and optimism helps me find it.
* Please see here for more information on the initiatives.
Claire is an Associate Director in the Commercial and Regulatory Disputes team. She specialises in advising clients on regulatory risk, compliance and litigation issues and helps lead Osborne Clarke’s product regulation service line, which is recognised in the Legal 500.
Claire has a particular specialism helping clients who deal with products and consumers. Claire works with them to help bring both digital and physical products to market, advising on labelling, packaging, regulatory approvals and engaging with regulators and consumers. She also has significant expertise in coordinating and delivering business critical international regulatory and compliance advice and is used to handling complex multi-jurisdictional projects.
Claire also advises clients when things go wrong – such as dealing with regulatory and compliance issues, crisis management, handling and coordinating regulatory crises, product recalls and product liability matters, managing customer relations and claims and investigating and defending regulatory investigations and prosecutions.
Claire most often works with clients in the Digital Business, Retail, Transport and Automotive and Life Sciences sectors. Claire has a particular interest in cybercrime, drones, telematics, driverless cars, digital and consumer products (including food and drink) and services.