This article first appeared in the January Legal IT Insider newsletter

Thomson Reuters Contract Express has expanded its client base by over 40% from 90 to 130 in the past year, including winning the business of global giants Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Norton Rose Fulbright, Herbert Smith Freehills, Mayer Brown and EY Legal, we can reveal.

The wins were celebrated at a Contract Express user group on 11 January hosted by Penningtons Manches, where Orange Rag editor Caroline Hill chaired a panel to discuss the various steps to automation success, involving long established users Pinsent Masons and DWF; together with newer converts Osborne Clarke and Penningtons.

The list of new clients is long and distinguished, as automation notably becomes a top priority for an expanding number of global law firms. In addition to those firms named above, Contract Express client wins in 2017 included UK top 20 firm Gowling WLG; top 30 firm Fieldfisher; 600-lawyer French firm Gide; Singapore law firm WongPartnership (the first Singapore headquartered firm to adopt Contract Express); nine-office Middle Eastern firm Al Tamimi; and 400-staff high street firm MW Solicitors. Freshfields came on board at the end of 2017 and has started with 500 users, in what can only be interpreted as a huge vote of confidence in the software.

Integration is the theme of the day – Contract Express now integrates with NetDocuments and users are awaiting news of its iManage integration. Speaking to a packed room of just under 100 attendees, David Halliwell (pictured), head of knowledge and innovation at Pinsent Masons, quipped: “10 years ago we could have held this meeting in a phone box.”

The first official Contract Express user group meeting was at Simmons & Simmons in 2011 for around 25 people.

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