CMS Hasche Sigle: R&D team facilitates in-house labour law tech solution

CMS Hasche Sigle has won an award for an in-house technology solution developed by its own R&D team to solve a labour law issue common among its German clients.
The PMN Management Awards in Germany earlier this month pronounced CMS as the winner of its business development award for online browser-based tool ‘FPE’.
FPE is used to analyse whether self-employed consultants are in reality retained as an employee, in breach of Germany’s severe labour laws and circumventing the financial and pension arrangements put in place to protect employees.
The solution, which arose after work done with a DAX-listed client, was launched in early 2015.
CMS has over 80 labour lawyers – the largest in Germany – of which many worked on the initial project that got FPE off the ground.
The new tool has enabled CMS to win further instructions in a way that previously would have been too labour intensive. Heining said: “FPE enables us to tap a huge market potential which would be very difficult to tap with human resources.”
The solution, invented and co-created by CMS employment and labour law partners Thomas Glaesmann and Alexander Bissels, was facilitated by the existence of CMS’ R&D department, which was set up in January 2014.
The R&D team, which includes head of products Eric Loewenthal and one employee, forms part of a wider business development team and communications department, of which Heining is director.
Legal R&D units are almost unheard of in Germany and law firms in general have been slow to recognise the potential of having a dedicated team and funding to take on innovative new solutions and projects.
Other firms on the Continent to have taken a similar path include Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, which, as we revealed in March 2016, has approved an ongoing R&D budget – on which the Iberian giant does not expect to see a return – used to experiment with new technology such as artificial intelligence solutions, natural language processing and semantic technology.