In a night that was otherwise a celebration of the dramatic progress and technological innovation within BigLaw, Riverview Law last night (5 October) won the FT Innovative Lawyers award for innovation in technology and data analytics.
Over two years Riverview Law has transformed itself into a technology-led business and the FT cited in particular Riverview’s partnership with the University of Liverpool, which has led to the development of cognitive computing platform Kim. Kim, which is based on the platform of New Jersey-based document automation business CliXLEX, acquired by Riverview in August 2015, powers a virtual assistant that helps in-house lawyers triage work coming into the department and manage their workflow.
Other ‘standouts’ for the technology and data analytics award were Allen & Overy, with its MarginMatrix tool. Working in conjunction with Deloitte, MarginMatrix will help A&O’s clients to prepare for forthcoming changes in derivatives regulation, which would previously have required the assembly of large and costly teams of lawyers to review and amend contracts.
The game changing move – the first major collaboration between an international law firm and one of the ‘Big Four’ accountants – was the brainchild of derivatives partner David Wakeling, who was commended by the FT.
Pinsent Masons was the third and final standout firm for technology and data analytics, recognised for its knowledge management system, which guides lawyers through the steps of a case while connecting them to relevant documents. Commended was Orlando Conetta, head of R&D at Pinsent Masons, who before joining Pinsents took a Masters in AI at Edinburgh University.
You can see all of the commended firms by clicking this link: http://rankings.ft.com/exportranking/most-innovative-law-firms-2016-innovation-in-technology-and-data-analytics/pdf
Overall, Linklaters won the innovative European law firm, while leading Portuguese firm VdA won most innovative European law firm outside of the UK. The ‘innovation in new models’ award went to ClientEarth, Europe’s first public interest law firm, which is organised as a charity, led by founder James Thornton.
Winners within the corporate counsel sector included Dell EMEA for innovation in operational change in-house; Hewlett Packard Enterprises for most innovative European in-house legal team; and Nokia’s chief legal officer Maria Varsellona for most innovative European in-house lawyer.
Speaking at the close of the awards Bob Gogel, CEO of Integreon, the partner of the awards, said: “Why does most innovation fail? Because it is difficult to build for the future if your focus is all around billing.”
He added: “My prediction is that innovation will come from the law firms that are collaborative with each other. Clients get greater value from coopetition among firms.”
Writing in today’s editorial for the FT, Reena Sengupta, founder and CEO of RSG Consulting, which is the architect and research partner of the awards, said: “This year’s FT Innovative Lawyers report reveals a profession that has reached a tipping point: lawyers have embraced developing their own technology, such as artificial intelligence, and realised that becoming efficient is not commoditising their services.
“Such changes have been a long time coming.” Yes, they have.