Client Conversations: Eversheds Sutherland’s IT Director talks to us about the launch of their latest app

Eversheds Sutherland has launched its latest app, Client Conversations, to bring together key information about the firm’s global offices, legal capability, products and technology solutions. The app is designed to support a dialogue with clients and prospective clients by giving the user easy access to critical information about the business and latest product launches.

Developed in-house, Client Conversations is available to all 5,000 Eversheds Sutherland lawyers and business services teams in 66 locations in 32 countries. “The challenge we are all facing, from a technology perspective, is having to explain the solutions and plans that we have in place,” said IT Director Andrew McManus. “We want our legal teams to have the information and knowledge they require when clients ask questions like ‘what are you doing with AI?’”

In addition to supporting dialogue around technology, Client Discussions is also intended to help lawyers access information regarding the firm’s broader capabilities.

“If a client asks what we can do around litigation and dispute management in Lithuania, the lawyer will have somewhere they can go to answer that question and put the client in touch with the lawyer who has the relevant specialism,” McManus said.

While that information is ordinarily already available on a firm’s intranet and website, McManus tells us: “The strength of our Client Conversation app is that it’s secure and available on our iPhones – this means we can provide simple information to our lawyers’ phones and allow them to answer clients’ questions as they’re asked.

“I would imagine an Intranet wouldn’t be easily accessible for our lawyers everywhere and it’s unlikely they would want to get their laptop or tablets out in front of clients to access our Intranet. Intranets are places to store a huge mine of information and we are keen to provide key statistics and capabilities at the touch of a screen! We also have to be careful on the information on our website as we clearly need to respect our clients’ and our teams’ privacy.”

To make sure they are in sync and only have one version of the truth, Eversheds Sutherland is using the Client Conversation app content within its intranet.

Client Conversations follows the launch of Eversheds Sutherland’s idea collaboration platform Idea Drop earlier this month. Unusually, both projects were piloted with the firm’s partners.

“Piloting is always good, but you wouldn’t usually pilot with the most senior people in an organisation,” McManus explained. “We wanted to make sure our partners were involved with new ideas.”

McManus added that more junior pilot groups can often be reticent about providing feedback, while partners are more forthcoming. “It made sense for the most senior people in the organisation to witness the improvements we are making. I think it was a pretty healthy and useful thing to do.”

The emphasis for both Idea Drop and Client Conversations has been on ease of access and simplicity of use. While security is important, pilot feedback suggested frictionless login and the ability to access the app quickly were paramount. “We wanted to make sure both systems were in their prime when you are on a train, or a plane,” said McManus.

The focus for McManus and for Eversheds Sutherland now is on driving the adoption of both applications. “We don’t just see them as launches that we assume will take off. The hard work really starts now,” he says.

In the case of Idea Drop, the priority is acting on the suggestions that are made. “It is not just an app. It is about changing people’s behaviour and making sure we act on innovative ideas on a constant basis,” said McManus.

“With Client Conversations it is about encouraging people to access the information and harnessing ideas from one office to another so that you can do more with the capabilities that you already have,” he added. “I think most law firms face the challenge of having a huge amount of ideas and solutions around the globe. Bringing them together and making sure there is a consistent approach for clients that is simpler, and therefore more effective, is the key.”