Eric Hunter is a legal technology pioneer. As director of knowledge, innovation and technology strategies at Bradford & Barthel in San Diego, he was a first mover in cloud and open source in the legal sector, introducing Google Apps into the firm in 2009.

He is also a first mover in bringing big data to legal services, using big data analytics to transform Bradford & Barthel’s operations and business model. He also heads the firm’s spin-off consultancy Spherical Models.

The Sherlock Syndrome chronicles these developments. It also takes a look at how emerging technologies, particularly around big data and predictive analytics, are changing the business environment and our experience within it, as businesses and consumers.

It all began with Sherlock Holmes – or rather the BBC’s adaptation, ‘Sherlock’. This led Hunter to think about Holmes’ reliance on data to solve problems and how big data, and predictive and interpretive analysis are reshaping many industries. Hunter also considered its potential to transform legal services.

Another source of inspiration is Charles Darwin (pictured) and Darwinian disruption, in terms of businesses needing to adapt and evolve in order to survive and keep pace with a business environment that is regularly disrupted by innovative technology. This is a theme that runs through Hunter’s work.

Author: Eric Hunter

Publisher: Ark Group (£50)

Hunter blends historical inspiration with technology developments, including big data, social consumerism and privacy issues post-Snowden to reimagine the law firm business model, covering flexible pricing, business processes and organisational culture. As well as diverging from the conventional law firm model by applying spherical models that include cloud technology, predictive analytics and data visualisation to legal services delivery, Hunter’s operational model involves significant cultural shifts, particularly in terms of increased transparency and collaboration between different elements within the firm and between the law firm and its clients.

This transparency, combined with real-time data analytics, is used to create a genuinely flexible pricing model designed to maximise competitive advantage and profit margins.

I know Eric Hunter and I have seen him present several times. He is a dynamic, engaging individual; his presentations are knowledgeable and entertaining and in many respects they leave you wanting more. I always want to ask him to expand on the many theories and ideas he touches on.  

This book covers complex topics, so it is not light reading. Hunter is highly educated and knowledgeable, and draws on a broad range of cultural and management education references as well as practical experience. For example, he blends principles from Leonardo da Vinci and martial arts in a detailed chapter on the need constantly to reinvent ourselves and manage perceptions, both personally and in terms of business strategy, in order to adapt and evolve in what he describes as our ‘Darwinian future’. 

It is not just about predicting the future; it is about innovating and changing to shape the future.

Joanna Goodman is the Gazette’s technology columnist