LexisNexis and BLP win ‘supplier of the year’ and ‘best use of technology’ at The British Legal Awards

LexisNexis and Berwin Leighton Paisner have won ‘supplier of the year’ and ‘best use of technology’ respectively at The British Legal Awards (BLAs) 2015.

LexisNexis was recognised for its implementation of proofreading tool LexisDraft within City law firm RPC – the BLAs 2015 law firm of the year – while Berwin Leighton Paisner won the best use of technology category for its work with RAVN ACE, having become the first law firm to sign up to the ‘artificial intelligence’ solution, as revealed by Legal IT Insider on 15 September 2015.

LexisNexis announced in June that RPC had signed up for LexisDraft, a toolbar used in the proofreading process that checks for the correct use of definitions, finds and fixes inconsistent phrasing, identifies broken references and inconsistent numbering, and ensures up-to-date citations are used.

The toolbar is the first to combine LexisNexis’ content with the workflow tools within Microsoft Word.

A somewhat mammoth 21-strong BLAs judging panel was led by Chairman of the City of London Law Society Alasdair Douglas and included high profile figures including BAE Systems group general counsel (GC) Philip Bramwell and Heathrow Airport Holdings GC Carol Hui.

While very little has been said so far about exactly what swung it for LexisNexis, the award recognises the contribution suppliers make to improving the delivery of legal services, and the judges were looking for ‘expertise and professionalism; innovation; value for money; customer care and satisfaction; and measurable success.’

RPC’s head of commercial Oliver Bray said: “There has been a massive time saving. Fee-earners can focus on the key commercial issues rather than scanning for minor anomalies. It’s speeding up the work of our lawyers.” He added: “In the long term I believe LexisDraft will deliver substantial savings for clients through increased efficiency.”

Other contenders for supplier of the year were BigHand; Clutch Group; Intapp; Intelligent Office UK; mmadigital; Rekoop and Thomson Reuters.

Elsewhere BLP won best use of technology after becoming the first law firm to adopt RAVN’s cognitive computing platform ACE, which is being used within its real estate disputes practice.

The top 20 firm earlier this year began using ACE to search Land Registry documents to pick out company names and charges on titles, inserting them into a spreadsheet in order to issue light obstruction notices. ACE – which has been nicknamed Lonald by the BLP real estate team – also crosschecks for duplication and sends queries direct to Companies House when discrepancies are discovered.

While ACE is currently being used by BLP for a relatively narrow task, it is anticipated that it will be rolled out more widely within the firm’s flagship real estate department and to other practice areas.

BLP’s joint head of real estate Wendy Miller said: “By using RAVN ACE, we’ve been able to deliver fantastic results to our clients. The technology allows us to work more effectively and efficiently, ensuring that our lawyers are able to get on and do what they do best; offering the best legal advice possible. Being recognised by our industry is a fitting tribute to the work that we have been doing in leading and implementing the most cutting edge technology in the legal world.”

Runners up in the best use of technology category included Covington & Burling; Eversheds; Gordons; Hogan Lovells; Linklaters; and Taylor Vinters.