Matthew Hoe

Director of Risk and Compliance


We recently had the chance to sit down with Matthew Hoe, Director of Risk and Compliance at Taylor Rose MW, to talk about his career, authorship of a leading publication on costs, and his own experience championing innovation and technology in legal services.

This blog is part of a series where we get to chat with leading voices from across the legal sector.

Early career and path into law

Matthew jokes that he began a career in law ‘unintentionally’. With a background in English Literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, Matthew embarked on his academic journey, as so many of us do, without a clear and lineated career path in mind. It was the analytical rigour, attention to detail, and close reading methods he honed during his studies that laid the groundwork for a future in law.

Reflecting on his professional origin story, Matthew shares, "I had no idea what I wanted to do going into University. I read English literature and immediately responded to the way it was being taught — it was a very close reading method. Look at the words. What do the words mean? Rather than plot and story. And then I graduated, got some jobs, and, one of those jobs opened the door to the career I have today." This serendipitous journey from analysing literature to interpreting law is something that felt both natural and unexpected to him, “it’s easy to look back now and connect the dots” he admits “but at the time it was unexpected — it’s only when I realised that I was using the skills I’d been taught at uni and enjoying that, that something clicked and I knew I’d found my career.” 

Matthew's unexpected entry into the legal field underscores a broader theme: the value of  developing analytical skills regardless of their origin, context or background. Matthew's story is a testament to the idea that the path to a career may be nonlinear, filled with unexpected turns but ultimately rewarding when you practise what you know and love.

The litigator's perspective

Matthew reflects next on a career that led him next to litigation, and a specialism in costs, civil procedures, and appeals.

His initial attraction to litigation was driven by the same passion that brought him to law — the analytical nature, pace, and diversity of challenges. "Again, it felt unusual at the time despite being a very organic process,” Matthew recalls, “but I knew I’d be very well placed to do the work, both in terms of my skills, but also my own drive and passion." This reflection underscores a broader theme in Matthew's career: the ability to leverage his skills and perspectives to navigate complex legal challenges.

One of the pivotal moments in Matthew's litigation career was his involvement in the case of Cham v Aldred [2019] EWCA Civ 1780. “It went very well for us on the day, “ he recalls “and we were able to win the case…while for many it might just be a footnote of a case, for me it represented something much more fundamental because we actually achieved something, we actually changed something. Everybody thought one thing going into the arguments, and we were able to go into court and argue ‘no, no, this is how it should be’ and succeeded. That was a huge sea-change for me — to be part of something bigger, to be the person who pushed back.”

“At the time and still” Matthew reflects “it felt like so much more than a personal achievement” but a moment that cemented a belief in the power of legal advocacy to effect real change.

It’s clear that Matthew's perspective on litigation is not just about the thrill of the courtroom or the satisfaction of a well-argued case. It's about a deeper understanding of law as a dynamic field, where each case offers an opportunity to refine legal principles and practices, where success is measured not just by individual victories but by contributions to the evolution of the legal landscape.

Authoring the ‘Practical Guide to Costs in Personal Injury Cases’

Next we asked Matthew to reflect on his experience authoring two editions of ‘A Practical Guide to Costs in Personal Injury Cases.’ He remembers that it all began with a positive reception to regular contributions to legal journals, "I was writing a lot,” he recalls “I enjoyed sharing my thoughts and was in the midst of a lot of cases that were really interesting." That visibility led Matthew to his first edition — a book that not only covered fixed costs but also delved into the nuances of costs laws that lacked clarity and certainty.

He wanted to create a guide that was accessible and informative, a departure from other more academic texts on legal costs. "I didn’t just want to state the law, but wanted to give some suggestions and pointers about where we were and where we were going," Matthew explains. “Not always answers, but information and guidance that could equip practitioners with explanations that would help them navigate the complexities of costs law with more confidence.”

The publication of the book was a dual achievement for Matthew. It served not only as a comprehensive guide for the legal community but also replaced the need for an internal reference for his department. "I’d given myself the task of writing a manual for our department — writing the book meant I could kill two birds with one stone,” he jokes “...sometimes the planets just align!”

For details of the second edition, visit the publisher’s website here.

From litigation to risk and compliance

Matthew’s move into risk and compliance and journey to his current role as Director of Risk and Compliance might seem like an unexpected career shift, but for him it was another seamless opportunity that capitalised on a deep understanding of legal processes and an ability to scrutinise complex statutory and regulatory regimes. "Ok” he laughs “this one might seem like an unusual transition. I don't think there are many people with a background in litigation doing risk and compliance work, but I think it’s an almost perfect fit."

"Initially I was being asked to look at the rules that the SRA had and to make sure that the firm applied them consistently," Matthew explains, “then as we grew the role grew with it — it became as much about adherence to the rules as it did about anticipating and mitigating potential risks. Now it’s taken over everything that I do” he notes, emphasising his focus on maintaining a robust compliance framework. 

Despite the career shift, Matthew still identifies closely with his roots in litigation, highlighting how a meticulous attention to detail honed in the fires of contentious practice have helped him to navigate complex regulatory landscapes and deal with the regulator.

The role of technology in legal compliance

Matthew admits that he has always had an interest in using technology to improve his day-to-day, but recognises not everyone has the same passion and time, particularly when it comes to prospecting and interrogating the latest innovations. He also notes that, at times, the tech space can feel broad and unwelcoming. “Lawyers get a lot of bad press” he states “that we’re slow adopters or stuck in our ways” but so much about that narrative is the way new technology can feel like a ‘shock to the system’ rather than something to get excited about, something that does what you need, when you need it. It’s something of a fatal pitch,” Matthew concludes, “to take a club to the way lawyers work without an understanding of why they work that way.” 

“It’s not sensitivity” he notes “it’s understanding” and something he’s acutely aware of when engaging with, or recommending new technologies. When it comes to the all-encompassing topic of artificial intelligence, Matthew is excited. “Sure, for many, it’s not there yet” he notes “but it’s getting there, and increasingly lawyers are asking the right questions — about the impact rather than the abstract. And that’s where vendors can lend the most help” Matthew notes “functioning use-cases.”

“I’ve been experimenting myself,” Matthew notes “developing a chatbot to help our firm answer risk and compliance questions”, aiming to alleviate the repetitive inquiries that presently consume too much of his time." Despite not being fully satisfied with the chatbot's quality of answers so far, Matthew is optimistic about the technology's evolution and its potential to supercharge legal compliance.

“There’s a transformative role for AI in legal services” he concludes “I'm sure it will be something that I am not envisaging. Something more than a chatbot. But I'm looking forward to it. We've got some amazing tools to help us and I think they’ll only get bigger and better — really allow lawyers to do more of what they really want to do," he concludes, capturing the essence of AI's promise to enhance the legal profession's capability to manage risk and compliance more effectively.

Conclusion — don’t run from change 

It’s not often we get to reflect on a career that so epitomises adaptability, expertise, and passion. Matthew's career is a testament to the power of embracing change, and running at a future brimming with optimism.