Almost a year to the day after Dentons technology investment arm NextLaw Labs announced it is collaborating with IBM to create a new platform running on IBM Cloud, Canadian law firm McMillan last week disclosed a similar move, powered by IBM’s predictive analytics software-as-a-service package SPSS.

The partnership is being spearheaded by executive partner Tim Murphy and follows the hire of in-house data scientist Hadi Tadayyon, who joined in July 2016. Tadayyon has six-plus years of experience in machine learning and medical image analysis – including working with SPSS – having previously worked for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the department of medical biophysics at the University of Toronto.

SPSS was acquired by IBM in 2009 to boost its business analytics capability. The new platform will use advanced algorithms to aggregate, analyse and interpret McMillan’s internal data, helping it to discover legal patterns and trends to strengthen its decision making process, standardise metrics and help it to build more accurate pricing models.

Murphy, who is a member of the McMillan executive committee, said: “Using our in-house data scientist, McMillan is looking to make advanced analytics a core competency for the firm and subsequently create significant new benefits for our clients.”

“We’ve seen how cloud and big data can transform business,” said Teresa Dufort, CEO at McMillan. “That’s why we’ve chosen to be at the forefront of the legal industry using advanced analytics to service our clients. By partnering with IBM, we are looking to provide clients with greater transparency on the timing and cost of transactions. At the same time, we will enhance our ability to improve staffing and manage change. And we will pass the benefits on to our clients.”

Much like NextLaw Labs, McMillan will leverage IBM’s Bluemix platform-as-a-service to develop new app services for McMillan clients.

Dentons announced on 7 August 2015 that NextLaw Labs had joined with IBM to create a technology platform program using IBM Cloud to enable startups to create and deploy legal applications more quickly. Through NextLaw Labs, startups also have access to Bluemix, the largest cloud foundry deployment in the world.