Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has become the latest law firm to launch a legal operations consultancy division. Cantilever will bring together 20 process engineers, data scientists and technologists from both sides of the Atlantic, to support the legal operations needs of inhouse counsel.
Cantilever will be led by co-founders Katie DeBord, BCLP’s chief innovation officer, and Chris Emerson, chief of legal operations solutions. Legal technologist Bruce Braude will lead the division’s activities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Over the past 18 months, we have seen a huge growth in the legal operations movement globally,” said Braude. “General counsel are starting to look seriously at legal operations and the use of technology and the bigger departments are putting dedicated legal ops people in place. We have seen an increase in interest and need. Combining our expertise with that need, we believe, can add value to clients.”
Cantilever will incorporate BCXponent, the division within Bryan Cave that focused on improving internal processes and decision-making using data and technology, as well as Streamline, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s legal process improvement team. But Braude tells us this isn’t just a rebranding exercise following the merger earlier this year.
“The difference is that we now have a formal proposition we can take to clients as an additional service,” Braude said. “It brings together components of services that existed before the merger, from both sides, but we are combining them into a new service offering for clients.”
Braude added that clients are particularly looking for ways to optimise spend, better manage legal risk and to enhance the services they provide to their business.
“Combining that with the growing role technology is playing, not only within legal divisions, but within their parent businesses, makes this a really important area for them,” he said. “They see how the broader business is transforming through the use of technology and they recognise that the same disciplines could be applied to legal work. This is an opportunity for us to help in that process.”
Cantilever services will include the provision of legal operations and technology consultancy; designing effective and efficient processes and systems for contract, matter and litigation management; and delivering document and decision-making automation solutions. The team has also developed its own proprietary data management and analytics tool, CrossLite, which gives clients a low cost, adaptable and secure workflow management platform.
Earlier this month, Herbert Smith Freehills launched a global legal operations function, bringing together the firm’s legal project management, pricing, legal process improvement, innovation and automation teams in a single division. The firm’s pricing head Ian Gilbert, who has taken over as head of the firm’s legal operations team, described the move as mirroring the evolution of clients.