Life as a Telecoms Lawyer – Daniel Preiskel – S4E17

In this week’s episode, our host Robert Hanna welcomes Daniel Prieskel onto the show.

Daniel and his brother Ronnie co-founded Prieskel & Co, a boutique telecommunications law firm based in London. Daniel has been named as just one of 7 Telecoms Global Thought Leaders by WhosWhoLegal, and is particularly well regarded for his commercial and regulatory expertise in the sector.

Over the last 20 years, he’s advised MNOs, MVNOs, resellers, telephony providers, IoT manufacturers, data centre firms, satellite providers, handset manufacturers and government regulators. He also provides advice to a variety of industry bodies, and has been a judge for the prestigious Capacity Awards.

In this episode, he explains:

  • Why he decided to become a telecommunications lawyer
  • How the firm’s client list has grown beyond its telecommunications niche, and now includes major players in fashion, food and transportation
  • Why he enjoys running a specialist firm, and the inevitable challenges that come with running a practice
  • The impact of Brexit on the legal labour market, and some key leadership tips
  • The huge significance of the current remote working boom for the industry


Rob Hanna (00:00):

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by Danny Preiskel. Danny is a senior partner at Preiskel & Co LLP, a boutique law firm he co-founded, which is recognised for its expertise and technology and telecoms. Danny has been independently recognised as one of Europe’s leading telecoms and technology lawyers since 1998. He was also recently ranked as one of only seven telecoms global thought leaders by the whoswholegal. Danny was previously Vice Chair of the IBA communications law committee and founder of the international MVNXOX association. His previous experience includes working as an investment banker in Deutsche Morgan Grenfell’s telecoms team. Danny is also a board trustee of a hundred year old educational charity, the English-Speaking union, whose mission is to give young people the speaking and listening skills and cultural understanding they need to thrive. So a very, very warm welcome Danny

Danny Preiskel (01:05):

Rob real pleasure to be here on your amazing podcast. It’s an honour to be here.

Rob Hanna (01:10):

An absolute pleasure to have you. Before we dive into all your amazing achievements and legal experiences to date, we do have a customary question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is a bit of fun. On the scale of one to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality? Yeah,

Danny Preiskel (01:30):

Yeah, I would say eight actually, I would guess for Chicago because there it is very different to, you know, the boutique telecoms firm or magic circle firm in London where I’ve worked in the past. But I think if I was imagining a Chicago based firm, which I think where it is, I would think it’s pretty, pretty damn close.

Rob Hanna (01:52):

There we go. Okay. It’s nice to have a high, high number, so, there we are alright. Let’s start at the beginning. Danny, tell our listeners a bit about your family background and upbringing.

Danny Preiskel (02:01):

Oh gosh, I’d like to say I was from an impoverished background and the very word, but, uh, no, I, um, went to, um, you know, an amazing, uh, prep school in London, North London. I’m quite rare actually in London, I am a Londoner and you know, people, people are shocked and they’re quite shocked to meet an English person, but to actually meet someone who is born in London is a real rarity in the city. So I’m around London, uh, working here, but, um, went to local private schools and had a great time. A lot of, um, I think about half my year, didn’t make their A Level grades, but I was one of the few that was lucky enough to be accepted, to study law at Jesus’ College in Cambridge. And I had a fantastic gap year and that is highly recommended to your younger listeners. And actually I got ’em on that

Danny Preiskel (02:54):

I did get the benefit of an English Speaking Union Scholarship which paid for me to study in one of the top schools in America and I’ll never forget that experience that it gave me and one thing, it did also make me realise just how limited our education is in this country, in terms of the absurdity of just doing three subjects, for A Level. I know people sometimes didn’t fall, but I got in, I did Maths, Physics Chemistry, and in my day there was S level and the Cambridge exams. And so you taking, you do Degree level Math, Chemistry, and Physics at that stage, a year after gap, you’ve forgotten it all, you haven’t done any History, International English Literature, languages. So I think that taking gap year to make up for some of the learning deficiencies that we have in our system, which is much heralded, is something that, that became abundantly clear to me. And maybe if I’d had the benefit of some of the English Speaking public debating expertise that would have helped my neighbor in London, incredibly successful, bright barrister from one ethnic school. One of the probably most successful of his age actually was a union debating champions. So a little plug for the charity, it stood him in good sets. I’m happy to give back as a trustee of that board, but that kind of gives you a bit bit of the background.

Rob Hanna (04:25):

Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And then sort of, as we progress, then we mentioned in your introduction before setting up your firm, you worked as an investment banker. So what was that like?

Danny Preiskel (04:35):

Yeah, I have to say I had a, a love for, uh, international communication and I’m really old where, you know, I remember it was prohibitively expensive for my best friend to call his girlfriend Liverpool in the eighties. It was like 55 per minute to call Liverpool or something. You know, it was a few pounds a minute to call India. And, you know, I had friends all over the world and you’re talking about pounds per minute to call. So I kind of, um, really got the telecommunications bug at a self-interest in terms of allowing myself to communicate with friends around the world. And, uh, you know, I got the bug, I love the industry and I have to say a couple of years working in the telecoms department of one of the magic circle firms, thought it put me off Law for life. It puts off quite a few lawyers, but I’ve certainly put some off private practice, but I decided I want to get into the industry.

Danny Preiskel (05:37):

And, um, I was actually thinking of an MBA to be fair, uh, to get into the industry. But then I, I actually got the job I was hoping to get potentially get at the end of the MBA. So I thought why spend all this money on an MBA and potentially not get the job that I want was it’s been offered at the moment. So I went into telecoms investment banking and really, really enjoyed it for a while. But when Morgan Grenfell is, uh, a real, uh, English institution older than the English Speaking Union, a real merchant bank and the good old day lovely place, fully integrated, uh, into Deutsche bank, I realised that I wanted to be in a much more smaller outfit in a much more control of my own destiny. So when actually back I was thinking of, um, potentially co-founding a law firm then, but I had the opportunity to co-found a telecoms department in a small law firm in the city, which had about eight or nine equity partners. And we built it up into one of the, one of the largest telecom strategy practices. It was great.

Rob Hanna (06:45):

Yeah, absolutely. And you have achieved a huge amount of success. So that leads me to tell us more about your current firm, um, you know, Preiskel & Co. Tell us more about it? Tell us more about what you do?

Danny Preiskel (06:55):

Well, we started off say as, um, you know, quite a specialist telecoms firm, which we are there, but, uh, over the years it’s grown and also the companies needing technology. So we’re actually, for example, acting for one of the largest German car manufacturers, why does a car manufacturer need telecoms lawyers? Because they’re putting SIM cards into car and they’re connecting. And when you have large companies that are fleets of cars, they will connecting and talking. So they’ve got SIM cards and it needs to comply with them, you know, telecommunications law. And then through telecoms, you get into Big Data. I mean, the data the telecoms companies have about individuals, huge that’s gets into, uh, ID verification. There’s two factor. You get text messages to verify all sorts of security. There’s a lot of anti-fraud going in that. So we’re seeing increasing amounts of that and then Big Data GDPR.

Danny Preiskel (07:57):

And then we have big fashion brands come to us. They’re not coming to us because of our knowledge of the catwalk unfortunately, uh, they come to us for actually, uh, either the GDPR data privacy work or the big IT contracts they have. And sometimes actually on the intellectual property disputes where, uh, for example, um, uh, a model’s being photographed in a particular dress and people are tweeting it and the photographer or the, uh, newspaper said, we’ve, we’ve had this exclusive deal with this particular model and wereb’t allowed to tweet it. So it does branch out very, very quickly into other sectors. And then we’ve had CEO, CFOs or telecoms companies who then gone into other industries. And they, for example, food, retail restaurant, one of the big telecoms investment bankers set up, you know, big food retail company and they’ve instructed us. And then all the food companies suddenly instruct us. So say now we’re about 75% telecoms technology, but every company has technology, every company that I was selling through, um, they can sell through a tablet or mobile phone. They need technology and they’ve all got personal data. So it can be another thing

Rob Hanna (09:14):

Great space to be in. And as you mentioned, the sort of, um, you know, specialises in that technology telecoms you’ve you mentioned touched on there some corporate commercial regulatory aspects as well. What would you say are some of the pros and cons, maybe of being a specialist firm?

Danny Preiskel (09:28):

The pros is you’re working in the area you love working in it. I think that’s very important for any lawyer. If they can get into an area where they can enjoy it, a lot of lawyers don’t succeed. I’m lucky enough. You know, they, they do their training contract and have to take a position in a department that they’re offered by the firm and they can get money, especially if they’re in a big firm, then they get into a trap where they get sucked into some pretty dry area of law they’re getting paid well, but then they become too specialised, to quickly an area they don’t enjoy and they can’t move because it’s too high a salary and their expertise is not transferable. So they’d have to really start. So they start again. So I would urge any young lawyers newly qualified, you know I think within one or two years of qualifying, you’ve got to try to find, try to get into an area of law that you enjoy it.

Rob Hanna (10:27):

Yeah, great advice.

Danny Preiskel (10:29):

It does get more enjoyable generally, as you get better because you get more and more expertise and people come. So even if you don’t, you really can’t stand it earlier, you might actually enjoy it later on. As you get to know more about what you’re doing and clients come to you directly, I think that that’s one of the steps, but in terms of the disadvantage, if you’re not doing the listed private equity billion dollar deals, then you’re not getting the revenues that come with those. So it’s hard to pay what the US firms are paying. I actually think that with the weak pound and strong dollar, which may have been contributed to by Brexit gave the US law firms a very, very big advantage because they’re thinking of matching wall street, dollar salaries in the city. And that makes it very hard for the British firms to compete. Once those dollars salaries are converted into pounds. So if you don’t have those billion dollar deals, it is harder. But I think it’s also hard for some quite large midsize, you know what I said, mid-sized firms have 600, 700 lawyers even in the UK to compete with the overseas law firms. So you have to have that extra element to make it more enjoyable. So which bizarrely enough gives the boutiques an advantage over, I think some of the larger UK firms that just can’t pay those US salaries.

Rob Hanna (11:58):

Yeah. Yeah. Really good advice. I think it’s important to understand what’s important to you. Um, because I think I read recently, you know, US law firms have had the highest number of, um, record levels of UK lawyer hires, you know, which obviously signifies what you’re saying there, but you ultimately have to think about what’s, what’s important to you and what’s what you’re looking for out of your career, back to you then Danny, how and why did you make the transition to co-found your own firm and what advice would you give to somebody looking to set up their own law firm? Because we’re seeing a lot of itchy partners at the moment that have been through the pandemica are thinking maybe I can do this myself. So what would you say?

Danny Preiskel (12:35):

I think for me, it’s an industry guru. I had a lot of companies coming to me and in other firms I had my send my clients to a lot of other departments. And so those lawyers don’t understand telecoms. You’ve really got to find people in those departments. There may be some jealousy sometimes. And, you know, in law firms, partners put their own clients ahead of clients coming in from maybe another department, where there is some jealousy or just human nature. So it was getting, um, a little bit frustrating in certain firms, just having to farm things out and just sit there, waiting for things to come back on the clock. And, you know, you just needed to be more in control. And over the years I’d found out by understanding a lot more, you know, during the corporate works and what people are doing. I felt I could do a lot, a lot, lot more myself.

Danny Preiskel (13:34):

And you wanna to be in a firm that ultimately the focus is your area. You know, I, I think it might be if you are a top property lawyer, I think it’s good to be in a firm, which is recognised for being really good at property. And there’s a sort of a drive and focus, you know, otherwise the adjuster, you know, service or department. And also it’s good to be in a firm where the other people don’t understand what you do. Telecoms are very very technical and they’re very, very few firms that have more than one leading telecoms partner in it. So it’s quite a lonely place for those people because noone understands then will probably stay clear of a telecom lawyer, the partners lunch. So it can be very frustrating for people that are known specialists in a particular firm. And also they’re not, they’re not learning from other people.

Danny Preiskel (14:26):

They’re not, not the focus, they’re just the sort of, some boffin well in a corridor. So, uh, for me, you know, being energised and people that understand the industry and the whole firm’s geared to the sector, makes it makes a huge, huge difference. And yeah, I would say that it’s very important, there are other employment, boutiques who are thriving. Um, it’s a group I knew very well. Another law firm, sports boutique, and, you know, they, they, they, they love it. You know, it’s hard for them to get attention. They felt that the right attention and that the whole firm’s dedicated to, be it sports or employment. And I think they’re all going to be more, really good quality boutiques leading the way. But I say we started in 2003. So like to think that we’re one of the first and we were one of the first, um, LLPs.

Rob Hanna (15:25):

I agree with you. I think that’s definitely going to be more of an emergence of specialist boutique firms. And we’ve had a number feature on the show. We’ve had, um, GQ employment. We had Sophie Van Hagen who obviously they’re a very great employment boutique. We’ve had Morgan Sports Law, you referenced there about sports. So yeah, I see these, you know, I guess the businesses that have done very well, those who have kept within their niche, stayed in their lane, so to speak and really kind of doubled down inch wide mile deep in their vision. So that just mirrors everything you’re saying there. Okay. So you, co-founded your firm with your brother, Ronnie. Um, so why did you decide to do this and how have you found running a family business?

Danny Preiskel (16:02):

Yeah, good questions. I mean, it, obviously not that I have relevant to other, people’s sending up boutique, whether they’ve got a sibling in that area of expertise, but it is a bit of serendipity in terms of how it happened and that I think I can share it amongst friends many, a year ago. It was so long ago that the country I was advising was still called Czechoslovakia as a unified country. And I was in a bar advising the Czechoslovakian government. And I was just saying to my boss, look, there’s really things that really are going downhill at this law firm. And there was a corporate recession in the early nineties and many of the partners, equity partners were leaving and he said, you’re right, Danny things aren’t going well. And I’m actually leaving myself. I’m going to Dentons. And I just told him, oh, that’s fun. That’s good. My brother’s a trainee that, so what he then did, uh, when he arrived at Dentons, he basically grabbed my brother and said, oh, you, you you’ll come working for me. And he was parked off at me to clients.

Rob Hanna (17:10):

So my brother who didn’t want to do what his elder brother was doing, Of course he wanted to carve his own way into telecoms and people will say tomorrow, Danny, nice to meet you again. That was kind of how it all works. And then when, when he was there, he went on to BT for that, the general counsel, Tim Cowen ended up, you know, the real star, is a star of telecoms. And eventually, uh, about six years ago joined us. So we ended up in telecoms, Robbie also, he did the, he did his MBA at, in Seattle and then became European CEO of a telecoms content company. And then he ended up working at Vodafone on business development who was actually on BT, on their mobile site as well, all on business. So he had successfully left the law as well. And then he was looking for a startup.

Danny Preiskel (18:11):

I think, you know, that’s obviously your technology, that’s what you do. And I said, rather boringly, whatever we just start up a law firm. And, uh, it just made sense for us to join forces and we haven’t looked back, but we’re not Facebook though. Unfortunately, if you are looking for startup at the moment, they’re there, they’re on the exit so far, even though there are no listed firms today that Rosenblatt’s, uh, listen to this week, they bought out memory crystal. That’s still not the, um, not, not the mega multiples that one has had before, but maybe in future.

Rob Hanna (18:54):

There’s definitely a trend though, isn’t it? With the Rosenblatt’s and the Gate Lees and those sorts of firms. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens, leading back onto your own journey then with, um, obviously you said you co-founded it with your brother. Um, what key piece of advice would you give for anyone working in or running a family business, particularly within the legal sector?

Danny Preiskel (19:13):

No I was very lucky that, um, you know, my brother’s probably one of the brightest people I’ve ever worked with. So that, that, that helps you do the, it, uh, it’s very important. IT and finances, there is none of that to be done in the clinic. The more that you can do yourself the better, but it doesn’t take much. And especially in, I guess the younger generation listening will probably be far better at IT than yeah, I certainly was. And, and the other thing is just to understand about how you’re going to split money. I actually say to anyone, don’t become a partner in a law firm. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a two partner firm or 150 partner firm. If you’re going to be upset, if you don’t earn what you deserve, I can tell you, I can go to pretty much every partner in the city and they I’m sure they can make a case for earning more than that, that they’re taking back.

Danny Preiskel (20:10):

It’s really odd because you know, everyone can make a case that they deserve more, but unfortunately there’s only percent of the pot. We were just lucky. We just decided we’re going to split it 50:50 and work hard. And that, that saves a lot of issues, I think. And that’s a big advantage of doing it as a family because otherwise it’s very, very difficult to measure who takes what. The biggest issue is when you go in, you know, 50:50 with someone, someone maybe doesn’t work as hard, or doesn’t bring in the clients. And you got to put in more funding and its when we’re advising other businesses as well. Um, probably puts in the full shareholders of any business comes down, what’s going to happen. If the revenue doesn’t come in or the person’s got to go abroad for a while, not quite as bad now with Zoom and everything, you can’t work more remotely.

Danny Preiskel (21:02):

But I think that’s the biggest thing in terms of working out a profit. The other word of warning is, and again, for nearly every business I’ve advised when you’re leaving a big salary, a lot of people, they don’t understand what big firm machine is doing for them to get that salary in while I transfer at the end of the month, when you set up on your own, the bills come in on time, but the clients don’t come in as regularly. You just have to be ready for that. I don’t know. Have you found that, but it’s amazing have the expenses on, on time regularly,

Rob Hanna (21:45):

Rarely clients paying on time. So I think you have to brace yourself to make sure that you, you know, cashflow planning and all of that good stuff, and just really, really knowing your numbers is really important to any business. And so your firm has advised on matters. I believe in around 22 countries and boasted clients, you touched on their BT. So tell us a little bit about this and essentially how you’ve managed to grow the company up to that scale.

Danny Preiskel (22:08):

I think one of the disadvantages of our, we haven’t got them, actually my marketing teams. So, uh, SOS the, uh, marketing specialist out there um, that, that is probably about 10 years out of date. And we’re probably well over a hundred countries now. And I’ve just one project we did was 92 countries. It’s the beauty about telecoms people launch it. It’s just, the steps has got go globally. Something we do is we provide a sort of international regulatory hub for general counsel. So that, that will say right, pre-scope, you know, regarding the side, the following 55, 75 countries, you look after it. And we’ll do, they’ll say we’ll take care of the US maybe and we’ll do the rest of the world. What it means is we’re working on a regular basis with lawyers across the globe. They liked us because we were sending them very good clients and money to make friends and the contacts. That’s the beauty of telecom, local business. Yeah. A lot of our work has nothing to do with UK deals between US, the Mexican company, Mexican companies, and Brazilian companies advising one of them, mobile phone manufacturers, Korea deals, that’s really high tech, again, nothing to do with UK. And often even not with English Law they’ll come to me and say your telephone. This is, we’re doing this in Israel, Brazil, just look after it.

Rob Hanna (23:45):

Just on there on the marketing SOS, but I do believe the firm does run a blog on the website. So you, can you tell us more a bit about that and why you decided to do that? Cause I just think it’s fascinating.

Danny Preiskel (23:54):

Partly one of our lawyers, David Allen Green, he used to log under Jack of Kent is the most followed solicitor and social media since the Financial Times, I think most followed commentator in that his, his actual, uh, podcast and videos on the FT com are the most watched and he’s become kind of the leading Brexit commentator. So we kind of had the most followed lawyer, but he wants to keep it separate. But obviously that gave us the idea ages ago to have the blog, but we’ve got to be slightly careful about keeping it. He wants to keep it slightly separate because he wants you to have a free rein to say what he liked about whatever company, without any sort of having to worry about what, what a law firm thinks. And that’s often an issue for law firms managing their social media feeds, I guess, in terms of not upsetting theirclients will let him do his work.

Danny Preiskel (24:55):

And that’s part of the flexibility we can offer. We offer platform for lawyers. And if they want to work part-time, we’ll focus more, some are budding artists, you know, we give them the chance to spend more time than they could in other law firms on developing their art world or terms of David Alan Green. You know, he’s writing for his blog on the Financial Times, I’ve had someone at Whiteboard I’ve heard a knighted person, the most senior person in Whitehall is now several times said, don’t give David any illegal work. We rely on his blogs to work out what’s going on in Brexit. We don’t, it’s more reliable than what we get told from the ministers. You know, it, literally, I had a plea from them saying how much they value his input. So that, that comes back to why we have the blog, but we are careful. So there’s a little bit of a very much watered down.

Rob Hanna (25:53):

Yeah. And I think that’s the beauty of having a boutique firm though, as you say, you can allow people who maybe have that sort of presence because it’s good indirectly for the firm and giving people a chance to, you know, it’s just a great visibility business development being out there. And it eventually will lead to something and artists, again, as they grow, if they’re in a happy environment, a happy workplace, good things will come from it from the wider networks down the line. So love that approach and your, the way that you treat your people and you look after people. So on top of all of the stuff that you’ve been doing, you have recently been ranked, I believe as one of only seven telecoms global thought leaders by whoswholegal. So how did you achieve that?

Danny Preiskel (26:32):

And they have that research, but, um, you know, I’ve been doing it for a long time. I was very lucky to know, going back to that, you know, when you were advising, the check-ins are back in, that was 91, 92, that’s a hell of a long time. And I love the industry. So I speak at conferences. I go to events, um, had to do a cost benefit analysis of every conference I go to, I take the view. I go there, learn the industry and be energised. That is worth more than instruction. So by being in control of my own firm since 2003, I could go to these events and enjoy and be speaker without having to worry and justify whether it was worth the investment. I go to law firms. Other law firms, large ones can send someone, they couldn’t justify the expense, but for me, if it’s interesting and I enjoy it and I’m energised, then that is a good view.

Danny Preiskel (27:34):

And I think at the top of your energise, that flows down to all your staff. Something I found very demotivating at one of the magic circle firms is, um, you know, having a head of department who was so miserable, sleeping two or three nights a week under her desk, literally in the office. I mean, when I say she goes to sit back, 3:00 AM, wake up about five 30. So it wasn’t long, but looking thoroughly miserable, it’s very, very hard to work miserably, just brutal hours. If you think, just to be as miserable as someone at the top pile, it’s very de-motivating. So some people say, oh, it’s terrible. The partners are having a good time. And, um, you know, your miserable, I actually, I think it is important that for people of leaders to, to be full of life, because it gives some people something to aspire for and that positivity is important. I’m sure your team colleague will see through you as being a positive and an inspirational leader. I think that’s hugely important. It’s very nice to work in that environment.

Rob Hanna (28:44):

Energy is super important, positivity, passion, you know, you’re passionate about what you do, all of that mission, your value, your purpose will filter down and your tribe. If you like your team will buy in. So I absolutely agree with that. And I believe the firm has advised on matters and over hundreds of countries around the world and boasted clients, such as BT, tell us a bit about this and essentially how you’ve managed to grow that company up to this level.

Danny Preiskel (29:07):

As I mentioned, you know, being in charge of your own boutique firm, uh, you don’t have to, uh, spend a lot of energy getting business trips approved, or even personal trips, uh, approved, go through. It’s just your own decision. I remember one of my trips, great. I went for a long weekend to Rio for the World Cup Final. And, um, obviously I had to take the Monday off, but what did I do? I arranged a meeting with in-house counsel that had met me through previous conference I’ve spoken at. And amazingly enough at that meeting got instructed on, uh, advising them on the Brazilian Football League rights throughout Europe, which paid for my trip many, many times over. So really good things can happen, but, uh, I’m sure had I been at another law firm, would have been slightly harder to approve that trip. But, uh, as it, as it was being energised, being able to travel like that, enjoy meet people. And bizarrely enough, I got this incredible instruction, which as I said, uh, made it all worthwhile and obviously fantastic, uh, area to be involved with, with, uh, you know, streaming of, uh, throughout multiple countries. A lot of good things you can do if you, if you get, if you get the balance right with the boutique. But I think for me, the best thing is not having to go to the management committee to plead why, uh, you, you are going on such and such a trip. And I think that’s hugely important.

Rob Hanna (30:34):

Great, I have a couple of final questions for you, Danny, as a firm who specialises in technology and there’s a big trend of legal tech, how do you choose legal tech that is right for your business.

Danny Preiskel (30:46):

Yeah good question. I mean, bizarrely enough, it’s not that mind-blowing, you know, what, what we need, even though we’re sort of telecoms lawyers, we haven’t got robots going round, actually our French network firm do have a robot going round. So the lawyers are seeing things and actually that the lawyers find that a bit intrusive bizarrely enough, but it is quite good when I go to their firm, you know, when we’re greeted by one of the robots. But, um, so far we are a bit conservative on that because actually you need to provide a, a premium service. Then you got just to make sure it works. Plus, you know, we don’t have lots of people’s support staff to really try. So we are, I don’t think we’re where we’ve got any more sexy software then, uh, other ones, even though we are advising on AI and VR and I have at least yeah,

Danny Preiskel (31:41):

ordered the virtual reality headset recently, which I think is going to be quoted for my next talk. And actually they all use when I do talk about virtual reality, it is important to have tried it because it does really show the power of Virtual Reality. But look, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the technology behind Zoom and Microsoft Teams. There’s a lot that goes on. That’s really made the economy tick over loads of businesses and law firms have done well completely down to Teams and the video calls and, you know, people are home. Just think where we would have been in lockdown. You couldn’t have a video called COVID. It could have come 35 years ago. We had one telephone line per household. We’ve got a lot to thank for even streaming Netflix. So we’ve got actually a leading film department that’s become, because one of the top film lawyers in the city, historically Peter Daly was looking for a home, his practice. This was a good home. And we’ve actually found that for example, streaming or films through mobile phones needed telecoms lawyers. For example, if a Amazon Prime were doing a deal where you can watch Amazon prime on your mobile phone, without the data, catching it to your allowance, those deals need telecoms regulatory approvals. So we would advise on something like that.

Rob Hanna (33:10):

I guess that leads to my final question, really touching on it there, but what are you expecting to see in terms of, um, legal tech trends for the rest of 2021? Do you expect to see a continuation of sort of technological adoption by the legal sector?

Danny Preiskel (33:24):

I think the biggest trend is rather boring in terms of people working from home. It’s been an amazing difference that we were used to working from home right before lockdown. Those of our lawyers, consultants who are working from their homes in the countryside, or even in Tuscany, lucky that they weren’t as integrated lots of the team. We’ve got some people part-time, we’re very good platform for mothers who want to spend time with that children and don’t wanna, can’t afford that time commuting in. So we’ve got people like that. So Teams makes them so much an integral part of our law firms. Uh, I think the biggest technology is actually the Teams and Zoom was oddly enough, much more significant. I mean, I was playing tennis yesterday, uh, with a partner in another law firm that they’ve actually given up. They’re very, very established law firm, decades, decades. They’ve just given up their offices in central London. Unbelievable. They’ve just got like a, a few hot desks somewhere in a, WeWork equivalent. I think that’s more radical than a bit of software helping you produce a contract. Now, the fact that people can work remotely, not, not physically far, far more effectively.

Rob Hanna (34:48):

Yeah. And I think it’s a massive cultural shift as well, particularly for the legal sector, for the benefit, you know, historically where it’s been inflexible for whatever reasons it might be, particularly within the larger firms. I think this helps hopefully with the overall sort of work-life balance work, life integration, all of those things that we’re looking for just to sort of balance life and can’t keep retention levels high within the legal sector. So people aren’t just thinking it’s not flexible enough to suit their career whilst going through families and everything else. And I think that’s a really good point sometimes, you know, the most obvious points like that are the very important points. And I agree without Zooms and Teams, I hadn’t even heard of Zoom last year, being frankwith everybody. So it just shows, you know, what these things can do to keep businesses ticking over.

Danny Preiskel (35:29):

Yeah I wonder how it’s going to be for, you in the recruitment business, for example. So traditionally you got, say lawyers working in a Birmingham office of a national firm will learn not as much as that equivalent in the city, but actually if they are working from their living room, it could be tactically working for the city office as well, so they could tell them why I’m actually part of the firm I’m connected into the same system. Actually, there’s another guy in my village. Who’s also working from his living room, but why is he getting up city salary yet? And I don’t know how that’s going to play out, but I think it could pay out the other way that clients may feel more comfortable, you know, times in London, uh, working with lawyers say based in Liverpool, you know? right. So that’s the flip side. There is more of a threat maybe to some of the London firms in terms of clients.

Rob Hanna (36:31):

Yeah. I think, a valid point and probably a topic we need to cover in more detail on a separate podcast sometime. And I guess that just just leads me to say, thank you so much to you Danny for coming on the show. It’s been a real pleasure having you learning more about you, your journey, Preiskel & Co. So I guess from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, we want to wish you lots of continued success with the firm and all your future pursuits, but from all of us over and out.

Danny Preiskel (37:00):

Okay, real pleasure to be on!

Rob Hanna (37:02):

This week’s review comes from Ellie 2802, one of the best podcasts I’ve listened to. I love this podcast. So insightful and really interesting. One of the best I’ve listened to and keeps me wanting to hear more, only a few episodes in, and I’m loving it. Thank you so, so much Ellie for your kind words, we really appreciate it

Rob Hanna (37:24):

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