Herbert Smith Freehills gives staff up to 10 days a year to work on “innovation projects”

Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a new initiative that will allow its global staff to spend up to 10 days per-year working on “innovation projects.”

The new Innovation 10 initiative will support staff to work on projects that find new and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the firm and its clients. These projects could include activities such as building legal apps, working on document automation and artificial intelligence tools, or working on the firm’s blockchain and smart legal contracts project.

The initiative, which was rolled out globally on 11 February 2019, is open to all staff and aimed at further increasing the growing momentum behind the firm’s innovation and technology strategy.

CEO Mark Rigotti said: “Innovation 10 will accelerate our global strategy for innovation and technology.  We are empowering our people to increase the momentum behind projects, creating opportunities to connect with our clients, and further strengthen and differentiate the services that we offer.”

Regional Managing Partner for Australia and initiative sponsor Andrew Pike, said: “Over the past three years we have embedded a culture of innovation across the firm to ensure that we create value and deliver the best outcomes for our clients and our people.

“That has paid dividends, with a number of achievements such as the launch of our global Legal Operations team, the introduction of decision analysis tools in the UK, and our work on the Australian National Blockchain.

“Innovation 10 will allow all our people to play an active role in transforming our business. They’ll be able to collaborate, share ideas, and broaden their skillset while creating lasting benefits for our clients and the firm.”

These sorts of initiatives show the huge efforts that some firms are making to free fee-earners from the stifling effect of the billable hour but, we should add, can be no substitute for spending more time with clients working out what problem the app or tool is trying to solve. Other firms to reward hours spent on KM or innovation in its broadest sense include Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Reed Smith.

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