Erika Pagano, Simmons Wavelength: ‘Here to cause trouble and have fun’

Artificial Lawyer recently caught up with Erika Pagano (pictured above with young goat), who has joined the legal engineering group, Simmons Wavelength, which is now part of the international law firm, Simmons & Simmons, following its acquisition this summer.

We talked about her new role, driving innovation, and what it’s been like to move to London from Miami, USA, where she was previously Director of LawWithoutWalls.

Why did you join Wavelength? And what is your role?

My title is Head of Legal Innovation and Design, and I’m here to cause trouble and have fun while we do it! It’s exciting, the duty I have is to be a collaborator and a trailblazer.

In terms of joining, we had conversations and one thing led to another. It was a really good fit and I was on board with their mission.

What’s it like at Simmons & Simmons? I guess you hadn’t expected the acquisition?

I had no idea about the deal. I had just joined. But, I was so excited when I heard.

I have a lot of respect for colleagues at Simmons I already knew, like Ben McGuire (Innovation & Business Change Director) and Candice Nichol (Financial Services Tax lawyer).

It’s a natural fit and the partners are incredibly supportive. There is lots of engagement.

The goal is the same: to deliver positive change through law, data, and design, it’s just that the platform has got bigger.

And what is LawWithoutWalls, where you worked before?

Back in Florida I was Director of Law Without Walls (LWOW)) and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Miami School of Law.

In previous years, LWOW was a group of 35 business and law schools that teamed together students and professionals who went on an innovation journey. They solved legal problems over 16 weeks and developed a prototype, business plan, and a pitch.

What is the main issue that inhouse legal teams are focused on at present, especially in relation to technology?

Inhouse teams are facing more pressure than ever before.

They are looking at challenges related to design, legal data, legal ops and more. It’s not just one area. There are a lot of top priorities, all at the same time.

There are so many different stimuli for inhouse teams. They can be overwhelmed.

Last question: What’s the biggest difference between London and Miami?

I no longer live across from the beach!

London is so exciting for young professionals and people interested in innovation.

London is global and it’s the centre of legal innovation. I can really say this is true. It’s a view that has been informed by experience.

Thanks Erika, and welcome to the UK!

If you’d like to hear from more experts on legal innovation then come along to the Legal Innovators conference this Friday, 11 Oct, in London, where you’ll hear from some of the leading thinkers on the subject, from law firms, inhouse legal teams and legal tech companies. For more info click the link below.