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How the smart law revolution is going to transform your firm

Companies are demanding a faster, more secure and cost-effective service as well as remote working capabilities from their legal advisers. Only those firms that embrace “smart law” can meet these demands

Companies in virtually all industries are faced with the challenge of embracing “digital transformation” and integrating technology into all areas of their business to drive fundamental changes in the way they operate and deliver value to their clients. Law firms are not immune from this change and clients are imposing greater requirements on their legal advisers than ever before. Their increased expectations on lowering costs and faster delivery of legal services are forcing law firms to change fundamentally the way they do business.

Fortunately, new technologies are enabling professional legal teams to collaborate on projects more quickly and efficiently, irrespective of their location, office or time zone. Gone are the days of “chasing files” or “our expert was unavailable”, holding up completion of critical documents. This smart law revolution is prompting more and more of the world’s leading law firms to turn to HighQ, a pioneer in this space, whose legal collaboration solutions combine cutting-edge technology with high-grade security to help firms collaborate, communicate and share information securely.

“The digital transformation is giving the legal profession the opportunity to engage with consumer grade, intuitive and readily adaptable software to provide better solutions for clients,” says Dan Wright, partner for service innovation at Osborne Clarke LLP, a HighQ client. “The opportunities that this poses for law firms, working with their clients, are really exciting. Having tools that allow our people to get on with helping solve clients’ problems, as well as creating new ideas that deliver more value to clients, is really important.”

HighQ’s platform enables law firms to satisfy the growing demands of their clients for greater speed and agility, as well as remote working and easier collaboration. “Many major law firms are benefiting from the solutions we offer, but there’s still much more opportunity for digitisation and transformation of legal services than people realise,” says Stuart Barr, chief product and strategy officer at HighQ.

By automating processes and opening a new world of collaborative working, HighQ can help firms to provide a better client experience, execute transactions faster and support clients that expect their legal advisers to be ready to move when they are. As in every area of business, the key personnel of law firms’ clients are now often based in different cities, working from their office, from their home or from an airport lounge and they’re using different devices.

“Clients want to collaborate with their lawyers in a way that offers instant, easy access,” says Mr Barr. “But importantly, they also expect communication and collaboration to be secure. They’re looking for solutions that enable them to manage projects better, adopt techniques such as agile and lean working practices to optimise their processes and manage their transactions more efficiently. Increasingly, firms need to offer more transparency to their clients so they can see what is happening with a deal, almost in real time, and that’s why so many choose us.”

Technology is becoming more intelligent and we’re only just beginning the AI revolution with almost everything still to come

Mr Barr points to HighQ’s iSheets solution that digitises and automates formerly manual transactional processes to make them more efficient, consistent and predictable. The company’s ethos is centred on marrying legal knowledge with technological expertise. “We talk about the ‘legal engineer’,” he says. “This is the person who drives innovation and continuous improvement within the firm by understanding legal processes and applying technology intelligently to improve them. Legal engineers need a toolkit of solutions that they can combine quickly and easily using flexible off-the-shelf tech to deliver a solution without needing to build their own systems or involve IT.

“Over the next few years, having people with both the legal-domain expertise and know-how to leverage technology platforms will become even more important as firms look to design and build expert systems, train machine-learning algorithms, and create the products and services that set some law firms apart from their competitors.”

Being able to integrate key pieces of technology is essential, he explains. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) platforms can be combined with collaboration and project management tools to optimise due diligence and other transactions massively.

“Technology is becoming more intelligent and we’re only just beginning the AI revolution with almost everything still to come,” says Mr Barr. HighQ is starting to build its own AI technology which it will be releasing later in the year and into next year. We believe our ability to develop in-house AI and combine it with other AI platforms will be crucial to solving different problems.

“We don’t believe there is going to be one AI platform to rule them all. The key will be to leverage multiple AI platforms and apply them specifically, according to their relative strengths. So that’s what we’re focused on – being a hub for collaboration, process optimisation and smart machine-learning to transform the way firms deliver legal services.

“These automated legal engines will make firms more efficient and profitable, enabling some lawyers to focus exclusively on that higher-value bespoke work, while others build, maintain and update the software engines.”

Mr Barr concludes: “This is the key to success in the smart law revolution.”

For more information please visit highq.com

‘It’s how we deliver the best service to our clients by becoming more efficient’

Understanding that technology is an important factor in the delivery of legal services, global law firm Addleshaw Goddard started using iSheets, part of the HighQ collaborate suite of products, to win new work and deliver processes in a more streamlined way. They did this by analysing how best to make use of the technology and applying it across their practice areas.

The company search iSheet, for instance, is set up with pre-defined dropdown options and a fixed template, so instead of manually typing or pasting clauses into a template, users select the clauses they need and automatically generate a correctly formatted report. They have also applied this to a large business disposal using the iSheets functionality to speed up the transfer of more than 15,000 properties.

Along with their use of iSheets, Addleshaw Goddard continues to use the entire HighQ platform including secure file-sharing and storage, wikis, which they use for collaboration, data visualisation along with document automation tools.

“There’s increasing pressure from clients these days to become more efficient,” says Mike Potter, partner and head of the firm’s transaction services team. “That requires us to use technology to automate more and more of the tasks that we do. This frees up resource to spend more time with clients and to generate more business. It’s about how we deliver the best service to our clients. HighQ helps us to do that.”

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