Baker McKenzie has launched a global innovation programme that will see it look to ‘design thinking’ to help it reimagine the practice of law.
An innovation committee led by Erik Scheer (pictured) and global director of operations Jason Marty will work with DC-based consultancy Peer Insight to create and deploy a global innovation operating model.  “The scope includes initial projects to reinvent multiple practice areas and take bold steps to address long-term business changes,” an announcement from the global top 10 law firm said today (6 February).
Design thinking in a business context involves understanding and empathising with the customer, defining the challenges involved, facilitating ‘out of the box’ idea generation, building prototypes or new models on an iterative basis and then testing those new solutions. Bakers’ program will address changing client needs, new industry dynamics, and the broader role of digitization across the economy.
The newly-formed innovation committee (see members below) will report to Bakers’ executive committee and ensure a firm-wide approach to innovation is incorporated into every aspect of the business’s global operations. 
The innovation framework is divided into multiple areas for investment, including:
Machine Learning: Applying current Artificial Intelligence tools for due diligence, contracts, e-discovery and any practice for which such technologies can ensure market-leading efficiency.  The Firm has deployed Relativity as its global e-Discovery platform to provide a common platform for clients worldwide and is in the process of doing the same for machine-learning based due diligence software to dramatically reduce lawyer time on transactions.
Services Transformation:  Using the methods from Design Thinking to re-shape all aspects of the Firm’s client services and the business models necessary to support them.  Work with Peer Insight has begun on a ground-up review of a headline practice, focused around new ways to meet big common challenges faced by clients.
Technology Investments:  Longer-term investments in advanced technologies and data management to prepare for significant changes these will bring to the industry.  A task force has already met with VCs, start-ups, and industry players and will be driving an investment strategy in emerging technology.
Scheer said: “Baker McKenzie has been at the forefront of innovation within the legal sector since our founding in 1949. We were the original global law firm, in fact for many years the only global law firm, the pioneers at entering new markets and disrupting traditional legal markets.
“And today, Innovation is top of our agenda. Why? Because it matters to our clients and because we believe the legal sector is ripe for change. Being a good lawyer is no longer enough. These are uncertain times for our global clients, in an increasingly complex world, in an industry facing disruption.”
The members of the Innovation Committee are:
Erik Scheer, Executive Committee, Amsterdam
Astrid Raetze, Banking & Finance, Sydney
Ben Allgrove, IP, London
Kristen Malm, Tax, San Francisco
Manuel Meyer, M&A, Zurich
Danielle Valois, EMI/B&F, Rio de Janeiro (Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados)
Theodore Ling, Trade & Commerce, Toronto
Andy Leck, IP, Singapore
Daniel Surowiec, Chief Information Officer 
Jason Marty, Global Director of Operations