Country Focus: How English law firms are disrupting the legal market (Part 2)

In this article we continue our analysis of how English firms are adapting to the technology-driven disruption facing law. You can access part 1 here.

1.  Pinsent Masons – TermFrame, SmartDelivery, Traceable Clauses and Cerico

The technology line-up offered by Pinsent Masons is impressive. It’s no wonder they were recognised as one of the five most innovative firms in Europe in 2016 and, in 2015, the most innovative in Europe. That certainly justifies Pinsent Masons’ ownership of the domain name.

1.1  TermFrame

Over 7,000 matters have already benefitted from Pinsent Masons’ proprietary artificial intelligence platform, TermFrame.

Its TermFrame platform gained significant attention as one component of Pinsent Masons’ AI-based Brexit risk analysis tool. TermFrame is a tool based upon reviewing contracts, extracting and analysing key risks and presenting the information in a risk report. It clearly has many applications outside of Brexit. The technology lends itself to use in significant corporate transactions for complex due diligence and contract review, property acquisitions, leases, licences and disposals and dispute resolution processes.

1.2  SmartDelivery and Vario

Legal project management isn’t new. But great execution and incorporation of technology makes Pinsent Masons’ SmartDelivery something special. It incorporates flexible matter resourcing, document automation and bespoke matter management tools to deliver matters for up to 25% less than traditional matters. Key highlights include:

·        Over 4,400 client matters are managed through Pinsent Masons’ online instruction portal.

·        490 separate documents are automated leading to a time saving of over 11,000 hours per year.

·        4 paralegal hubs, 170 flexible lawyers by Vario (Pinsent Masons’ legal resourcing solution), legal process outsourcing and professional project managers are available to meet on-demand resourcing needs.

1.3  Traceable Causes

Clever use of matter data underlies Traceable Causes. The tool aims to discover whether the instructions received about disputes have common facts or causes – with a view to then addressing the underlying cause in the business. Other data analytics can be performed, such as win, loss and settlement rates against the quantum of dispute and dispute type by business unit.

1.4  Cerico

Cerico, a joint venture with Pinsent Masons, develops cloud-based regulatory compliance solutions for the financial services industry. Currently focused on anti-bribery laws, corruption certification and third-party due diligence requirements, Cerico is one to watch.

2.  Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird is experimenting with apps as a method for disseminating legal advice. Its cloud computing app, Cloud Law, is in its fourth iteration. It aims to guide users through cloud computing laws and regulations for 19 jurisdictions. It reviews issues of consumer protection, data protection, data portability, intellectual property, liability, security and the use of the cloud by the public sector.

In a similar vein, Bird & Bird’s Digital Marketing Law app is designed to help in-house marketing teams and agencies with the legal issues surrounding digital marketing campaigns. The app addresses email marketing, comparative advertising, promotions, social media use, information requirements and commercial communication issues for 9 jurisdictions.

Finally, Bird & Bird’s Due Diligence app enables clients to read due diligence reports and see key contacts from their mobile device. While we were initially intrigued, it seems that’s all it does. Hopefully future versions have additional functionality. Tracking matter progress against milestones and fee estimates are just some of the legal project management solutions we think might improve the offering.

3.  DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a number of legal technology plays underway. Its corporate, intellectual property and technology practice groups have been utilising Kira for document review in M&A due diligence. The firm already claims to have seen ‘tangible improvements in speed and accuracy’ as a result of deploying Kira.

DLA Piper has also partnered with Lawyers on Demand to meet flexible resourcing requirements. There’s an app too – DLA Piper’s Rapid Response app, for dawn raids, home raids, unannounced police visits, document seizure, privileged communications and interviews under caution. The app provides the firm’s clients access to a global emergency hotline, tips for dealing with a crisis situation and information to assess preparedness for a crisis.

4.  Ashurst

Last week we focused on Allen & Overy’s MarginMatrix. Rival Ashurst has teamed up with Axiom to extract data from existing contracts and automate production of new contracts for the purpose of complying with new margining rules. While the tool doesn’t appear to have been publicly released, we will be interested to see whether any form of meaningful differentiation from Allen & Overy’s offering is achieved.

5.  Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Both Clifford Chance and Freshfields have announced deals with Neota and Kira. Beyond the obvious uses of the platforms, neither firm has announced what exactly their product offering will be. We await those announcements and will keep you posted.