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Baker McKenzie has launched a global innovation and tech programme to “redesign practices and services”, The Lawyer can reveal.
As part of this programme, the firm will roll out its e-discovery platform Relativity to the rest of the firm, and is in the process of doing the same for machine-learning based due diligence software aimed at reducing lawyer time on transactions.
The firm has also confirmed an alliance with consultancy Peer Insight to deploy Design Thinking, a process that implements change through feedback from partners, associates and clients.
Baker McKenzie has also formed a 10-strong ‘Innovation Committee’ with partners from across the firm’s network.
Chaired by executive committee member Erik Scheer, the committee has been tasked with implementing change throughout the firm. They will report to the firm’s executive committee, which will include tech as a key part of its global long-term strategy.
“We have as many apps as other firms do, but we thought we should take a more strategic approach to innovation that also includes understanding the drivers for change in the longer term,” Scheer told The Lawyer.
“The first is making sure we are testing and working with the newest tech platforms out there. The second is service transformation, where we are using Design Thinking for certain practice areas, and the last area is gaining the longer term understanding of change.”
The first practice area to experience Design Thinking will be the global transfer pricing practice, which Baker & McKenzie says is “in direct competition with the Big Four”. The implementation of Design Thinking is geared to giving the practice a competitive edge.
Scheer said: “It’s in an area of law that is particularly subject to legal changes and changes in the market due to technology.”
Belfast is going to be used as an innovation hub, Scheer confirms. “Belfast is very much at the core of this [process], because we use it as a pilot for tech and machine learning testing,” Scheer said.
“We have in Belfast a very strong practice support team and professional that help the process. We are going to use Belfast as an innovation hub to drive innovation across practices.”
Baker McKenzie, which has now admitted to using Kira as part of its tech drive for some time, is not well-known in the market for launching innovation programmes.
“We have not been actively promoting and being vocal about interim steps like testing software and testing apps here,” Scheer commented. “I think the change now is that we have done our homework, and we should.”
Baker McKenzie global chair Paul Rawlinson said: “Our firm has a proud history of innovation. We need to reinforce an environment where fresh ideas are encouraged and established ways of doing work are challenged. ”
The members of the Innovation Committee, in full:
Erik Scheer, executive committee member, Amsterdam
Astrid Raetze, banking and finance partner, Sydney
Ben Allgrove, IP partner, London
Kristen Malm, tax partner, San Francisco
Manuel Meyer, M&A partner, Zurich
Danielle Valois, EMI/B&F partner, Rio de Janeiro (Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados)
Theodore Ling, trade and commerce partner, Toronto
Andy Leck, IP partner, Singapore
Daniel Surowiec , chief information officer
Jason Marty, global director of operations
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