Lloyd Gallagher: convenor Technology and Law

This profile is part of a series on ADLS committee convenors

Where do you work, what’s your role?
I am the managing partner of Gallagher & Co Consultants which provides arbitration and mediation services. We started in Canada and the business is now worldwide.

My main role is to help barristers, solicitors and legislative bodies to better respond to cases, especially those affected by technology or where technology is an issue.

I work in most areas of law but am always intrigued by inter-jurisdictional tax issues. I assist IRD in mediation work to solve difficult problems in these areas. Basically I get involved in “hard-to-solve” [issues] and in changing legalese into something clients can understand and implement.

Where did you study?
Waikato University, where I did an LLB with a second major in management communications, followed by an MMS (Master of Management Studies with Law as the second major).

I am nearly finished my PhD, which is focused on how to make collaboration more effective, looking at legislative positions and business from an environmental law perspective. This connects these two areas of study.

Environmental law poses particular difficulties in these areas. It piques my interest as collaboration in this most difficult area can be applied easily to other areas of mediation and provide effective solutions to difficult problems.

What’s been your career to date?
It has been somewhat varied. When I was 16 I started working for technology companies, including Telecom.

I then moved into event management and used technology for effect. It was in these areas that I got my first insights into the disconnect, or gaps, between technology advances and practice, and the legal profession’s understanding of technology.

This prompted me to get involved in the first telecommunications inquiry which led to the unbundling of the local loop.

Only then did I study law. Now I use all that history and experience to do what I do, which is to protect the public and the profession, and help with information that assists laws to keep pace with technology.

How long have you been a member of ADLS?
Since early 2015.

How long have you been involved with ADLS committees and which committees have you worked with?
I’ve been on the Law and Technology Committee since mid-2015 and became convenor in late 2017.

Why is committee work important?
For the Technology and Law Committee there is a clear need to bridge the gap between the way lawyers approach technology issues and how technology innovators are creating solutions. As a person engaged with technology, a programmer and a technology engineer, I could see the law was jumping to conclusions that put the public and the profession (legal and information technology) at risk.

How do ADLS committees make a difference?
The Technology and Law Committee has played a big role in developing policy and in building understanding and knowledge, because lawyers aren’t technology-savvy.

Lawyers are lawyers; they start their careers as lawyers, not in technology. So there is a disconnection between technology knowledge within the legal fraternity even to protect themselves against legislative changes.

For me, it’s all about building knowledge and making sure the profession’s understanding of technology keeps up with the rapid pace of technology development to reduce the risk of professional error, as well as the potential to have problematic law in this field.

Our committee is a good team that brings important issues around technology to light, especially with developing technology, for the good of the profession.

What’s been the most notable achievement or biggest focus of your committee over the past few years? Why was that important?
Using our knowledge to create better legislation and case law.

We have done some interesting things in recent years including working with Landonline. We also help in matters with a high degree of public interest in areas of technology use and technology security.

We took the initiative in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks to contact the Prime Minister and outline how the media and social media channels could affect perception in the public arena. We were pleased to see the PM’s approach was aligned with the information we sent.

What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming involved in an ADLS committee?
If you’re interested in a subject matter, get involved. There’s a misconception that if people aren’t experts, or don’t have enough knowledge, they can’t be involved.

To the contrary, sometimes the best questions come from people with limited knowledge because they don’t have any preconceptions or entrenched ideas. So our committee encourages you to get involved if you have an interest in the subject matter.

What’s the biggest issue facing your specialist practice area at the moment? And how does that affect lawyers, their clients and New Zealand?
That would have to be data security.

The risk and increase of cyber-attacks have become an ever-pressing issue. We’re looking at a communications solution that would give legal practices the opportunity to communicate more securely.

What’s the best-kept secret about ADLS committees?
The Technology and Law Committee is a group of specialists. It investigates issues that can have a profound effect on the legal profession and the general public.

But, more importantly, we are approachable and are happy to answer questions or deal with information requests from the profession.

To find out more about ADLS committees, contact Melissa Fini: melissa.fini@adls.org.nz

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