HighQ’s new corporate legal platform: The extended interview

In March we revealed that HighQ was about to launch a new platform for corporate legal teams that will include work and collaboration tools for enterprise legal management, document management, matter management, legal intake and self-service, contract management and vendor management.

The launch followed six to 12 months of research into the corporate sector, including engaging with legal teams ranging from big banks and manufacturers to small teams, to work out what their needs are and how the HighQ technology can be productised to address them.

While HighQ has long had relationships with in-house teams, particularly through its virtual data room, the corporate sector has for the first time become a core focus, and the London-headquartered vendor is creating a dedicated team to support and help evolve the new offering, which is being led by director of legal solutions, Rob MacAdam.

HighQ’s chief product and strategy officer, Stuart Barr, told us: “While we’ve been working with in-house teams for a long time what has what changed is that this is a proper focus for us now. We recognise that law firms, including Addleshaw Goddard and Osborne Clarke, have been providing some fantastic solutions to corporate legal teams and we’re taking on that market more directly.

“With the rise of the legal operations movement; the shift towards in-house teams taking on more work themselves; and in-house teams being under the same pressure to be efficient and demonstrate value but also to manage and engage with their outside counsel more effectively, they struggle.

“They don’t have the same access to resources as law firms. They aren’t set up in the same way and often end up with access to generic technology like SharePoint and often don’t have document or contract management systems, so we’re saying and our USP is we’re not a point solution and we can give them access to our intelligent legal operations hub and give them a platform that gives these six core solutions in one.”

HighQ has already partnered with corporate legal teams from companies like HelloFresh, Zillow, HSBC and more and Barr told us: “What’s really interesting is that it’s not brand new technology: we are lucky that we are a very mature piece of technology but we have all those underlying capabilities: document management and task management and workflow. People refer to it as digital Lego and we’ve just productised it in a new way.”

While this may not have traditionally been seen as the solution for the biggest in-house teams that have a need for dedicated document management systems Barr says: “Our platform can be used for intake and providing a legal front door or a hub through which the business can interact with the corporate legal team and ask for support on a matter, or for contract review, or NDAs, or any number of things. We provide that workflow system where the legal team can triage their work. They might be directed to a self-service tool if all they need is a NDA, and use our document automation tool. Or if it’s more complex they can go into our matter management database and can track matters and create workspaces and run the matter through the platform.

“In terms of contract management, obviously we can do the document generation and initiate the process of drafting a contract and storing it in a contract database.

“We then have the tools to create a contract report using our AI engine or through a third party in our AI Hub. Whether it’s a matter or contract, our dashboard gives users insights into what is happening across the board.”

Barr told us that HighQ’s corporate platform is already gaining traction. “In-house teams want a contract management solution but realise they don’t have basic document management or a way to manage their outside counsel. Through HighQ they can come to a single portal,” he says.

There is a visible shift towards in-house teams wanting to own their own data and Barr says: “That is most definitely one of the drivers: by owning the platform they decide who they work with and have access to their data in perpetuity.”

Clients of the new platform include Sainsbury’s, who presented at the 2019 user conference.