12 heavyweight global firms back Reynen Court in launch of legal tech ‘App Store’

In a bid to create what is effectively a legal tech ‘App Store’ to help law firms deploy cloud-based computer applications without concerns over security and to help them rationalise costs, Reynen Court has launched a services automation platform with the input of 12 heavyweight firms co-chaired by Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance. 

Reynen Court, founded by former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Andrew Klein, is in late-stage talks with a number of as yet undisclosed application vendors to make their solutions available to law firms through the platform. Initial vendors will provide contract analysis, discovery, compliance, and practice management technologies.

Latham and Clifford Chance have been involved in advising Reynen Court from the outset alongside Paul Weiss (vice chair); Covington; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Gibson Dunn; Linklaters; Orrick; Ropes & Gray; Skadden Arps; and White & Case. 

The 12 firms were engaged by Reynen Court in order to add the advice and gravitas needed to help get the platform off the ground.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Klein said: “We’re focussed with the law firms on a new generation of application. You have AI and machine learning and all sorts of automation coming to the legal field, which presents huge opportunities to innovate and deliver services to clients in better ways and also huge challenges when it comes to trust and security, which are of paramount concern to clients.

“All new apps take advantage of the cloud but are vertically integrated and law firms are required to trust the cloud environment of vendors, giving them potentially dozens of points of exposure. They want to innovate but don’t want that exposure.

“We’re devising a way to bring the apps down into the environment we know and can protect, giving law firms the benefit of the cloud but not the risks.”

He adds: “One analogy for law firms is that we are providing an App Store that you can bring onto your phone and, like the App Store, we’re going to try to create a similarly secure environment.”

Law firms are still very early on the cloud adoption curve and still under pressure from clients, particularly financial institutions, not to put their data in the cloud. The vision of Clifford Chance and others is that the platform may be a way to get blanket approval to use an app and Clifford Chance’s CIO Paul Greenwood told Legal IT Insider: “From our point of view we use Kira and we use Neota and we use Workshare Transact and we use Docusign which are all great new tools but on the same matter we may have to upload and get client sign off for each of them – wouldn’t it be great to use them freely because they have prior authorisation, that will really open up the potential for adoption.”

Law firms are increasingly engaging with startups but can be deterred by a lack of governance and infrastructure and speaking to Legal IT Insider, Latham & Watson’s deputy CIO Rene Mendoza said: “We often work with small startups that don’t have the robust infrastructure and don’t understand what we require, but we can work with them through Reynen Court.”

Greenwood added: “You’ll have one sign up: the platform has certain rules like the Apple store and you know that the vendors are secure.”

“We are dedicated to enabling major law firms to accelerate adoption of artificial intelligence, smart contracts, and other new technologies,” said Klein. “The consortium is a brain trust of some of the most forward-thinking and bold firms on both sides of the Atlantic who will bring deep expertise and first-hand knowledge to the design and development of our platform.”

More to follow.