“It’s all about the data. Everything is — without a doubt,” says Gerard Beaulieu about the challenge facing Canadian executives today. “In the next 10 to 20 years, information is going to be what makes or breaks a company. One hundred per cent.”
That’s why it’s so important for Canadian businesses to get a grip on their treasure trove of information, says the head of the legal operations program at Simplex Legal. “Because the next challenge will be organizing it in a way that puts them in a position to control how they can control the conversation around that data.”
It’s an exciting challenge for Gerard to take up because, in many respects, data has always been a crucial part of the practice of law. But never has the legal system generated such a massive and ever-increasing amount of it. What’s more, the convenience, accessibility, and speed of digital vehicles are transforming the legal industry from within. “I just see the huge opportunities that are out there for legal departments – to improve things, to streamline the process, and to provide a service level that doesn’t seem to exist today in much of the legal industry.”
Trained as a computer engineer, Gerard’s strengths lie in his creativity and his ability to understand complex environments. He relies on those skills to help clients improve their business systems and services. He also relies on his experience in data-driven analytics to help clients manage their legal expenses in the most efficient way possible.
Born in Saskatchewan, Gerard graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelors in Engineering. He cut his teeth with the aerospace leader, Pratt & Whitney Canada. There he was successful in introducing data management efficiencies and other business improvements which led to significant cost savings for the business. After six years at P&W, Gerard made a move to the oil & energy sector. Over the next few years, he would manage several international projects for the Wood Group in Aberdeen, Scotland. In 2014, he settled back in Alberta and is now embarking on a new adventure, as VP of Legal Operations at Simplex Legal, where he brings his many talents, management expertise, and understanding of data analytics to the firm’s clients.
Honestly, when I started my role with Simplex, I wasn’t quite sure what I was stepping into. The epiphany occurred 6 months into my position. I had attended a legal operations conference that consisted of many legal leaders in the Fortune 500. I learned that legal operations was simply “the team that made any legal process easier”. This I understood. I had spent the majority of my career streamlining processes in Aerospace and Energy support. Searching for process improvement opportunities in the legal space is quite a bit easier than with other industries that have already been transformed. The result is an exciting and creative environment that I never imagined in the legal world.
I joined Simplex for 2 primary reasons. I wanted to be in an entrepreneurial environment and expressing my creativity was an absolute necessity. These same two attributes, in my opinion, make Simplex the firm of choice. Our DNA is value. I am continually impressed with the talent we attract. When we apply all this great talent with creativity and automation, the client is the one that wins. The efficiencies that have occurred in every area of business today are mind-boggling. I truly believe our clients deserve this same value from their legal provider. They deserve value leadership.
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