Norton Rose Fulbright – Member Spotlight

Give us a brief overview of your organisation

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3,500 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognised for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy, infrastructure and resources; consumer markets; transport; technology; and life sciences and healthcare.

Our Newcastle office, which opened in 2016, delivers high quality, innovative legal and business services using cutting-edge technology and defined processes to maximise efficiency. It is home to a wide variety of teams – all of which are expanding – including IT, a legal team of qualified lawyers, paralegals and claims experts and our legal innovation, design and technology team.

As an agile business, where quality and innovation are at the forefront of everything we do, it is imperative that our people feel valued, respected and able to develop themselves. We focus on ensuring our people experience the supportive and high quality culture which exists across the firm, in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity.

What are the benefits of basing your business in the North East?

We looked at many cities when deciding where to open a second UK office. Law is a people business, so our people are expected to meet a high standard personally, professionally and technically. This helped us recognise pretty quickly that we needed a location where we could find the right talent. The North East ticked that box and, unsurprisingly, we have found exceptional people.

Within the IT and tech sector, the North East is quickly making a name for itself and we wanted to benefit from the skills and experience in the region. The Newcastle office is at the heart of the firm’s global innovation and enhanced service delivery programme, NRF Transform, which aims to optimise our delivery of traditional services and provide entirely new solutions to our clients’ most pressing business problems and opportunities. Pioneering work requires positive, resilient, ambitious and empathetic people and we have found these traits in abundance in the North East.

On top of that, Newcastle is a great city to work in. It’s steeped in history and culture, from its stunning castle and the iconic Tyne Bridge to its beautiful architecture and modern monuments. Our office is situated on Quayside, overlooking the river and with excellent transport links and accommodation options for our staff and clients. The city also boasts fantastic restaurants, nightlife and entertainment, offering great opportunities for the team social events that are a popular part of our office culture.

What has the past two years taught you?

The global pandemic revealed that people across the firm are resilient, adaptable and able to deliver under the most extraordinary circumstances. Despite the increasingly challenging situation, we adapted our IT to enable home and remote working in double-quick time and this is something we’re really proud of.

We learned to miss, and understand the importance of, the human interaction element of working in an office together. We had to change the way we worked and lived to us help cope with the extraordinary and ever-changing situation whilst continuing to communicate and support one another.

Lockdown also taught us what is truly valuable in life. It gave us all an opportunity to slow down in this fast-changing world and to appreciate what truly matters – friends, family and the connections we all have.

What are your hopes for the future of the North East’s tech and digital industry?

Again, it comes back to people.

The tech and digital industry in the North East has grown significantly in the six years since we opened in Newcastle. As industries continue to invest in the region, the IT sector will continue its growth in tech / digital to become a hub for quality, which will in turn attract even more excellent people.

We are excited about the opportunities this presents to our business.

What are your business objectives for the next 12 months?

We have recently reset our IT strategy, based on direction from our CIO.

Productivity is high, which has enabled us to deliver a significant amount of change and modernise working practices with only a modest increase to the IT budget.

The value we have delivered – whether it’s measured in terms of lawyers’ hours saved due to reduced MIs, the ability to work anywhere during the pandemic, or the massive potential in the O365 licences – is significant and a great platform for future success.

Looking ahead, we are focusing on key initiatives to enable digital acceleration and support the future of work. From an IT perspective, this will include improving and supporting modern lawyering, system robustness and delivering exemplary support.

Why did you join Dynamo?

Dynamo provides us with a great opportunity to widen our tech network in the region and to increase the visibility and profile of the firm, with a longer term view to creating opportunities for the North East workforce.

We look forward to engaging with both peers and the wider community, and sharing best practice.

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