South Africa legal tech win: Bowmans selects Contract Express

Bowmans has become one of the first South African law firms to acquire document automation tool Thomson Reuters Contract Express as part of a wider drive to embrace legal technology and legal process improvement, which has been hindered in the jurisdiction by the weakness of the rand.

Contract Express is used by some of the world’s largest law firms to drive document drafting efficiency, reduce risks associated with legal drafting, and enhance client relationships and experience.

“We will be collaborating with Thomson Reuters to upskill our knowledge management, legal process improvement, innovations and technology teams to independently code and automate fit-for-purpose documents – all aimed at further enhancing our client-centric service offering,” said Tammy Beira, talent partner at Bowmans.
This investment follows the acquisition last year of Kira Systems for due diligence, document review and regulatory compliance audits. According to Beira, Bowmans has now trained the tool in several areas of law in cross jurisdictional matters and remains one of the first firms in Africa to have operationalised this type of technology.
“We are pleased to report that we have completed numerous transactions using the tool and been able to pass material efficiencies and enhancements in our service through to clients.”
Firms in South Africa are hindered by the weak local economy when it comes to investment in technology, which is typically priced in dollars or pounds. The rand is currently 0.071 to the dollar and 0.054 to the pound, meaning that the cost to the firm in real terms is much higher than for firms operating in those currencies.
Bowmans, which is headquartered in Johannesburg, is one of South Africa’s ‘Big Five’ law firms and Beira says: “We are actively embracing legal technologies as part of a broader investment in general legal process improvement to ensure that we continue to focus on delivering the solution-driven, sophisticated legal advice synonymous with our firm, while seeking ways to optimise overall efficiencies and process enhancements.”