UK top 50 law firm DWF continues to invest heavily in its R&D function, with Jonathan Badrock (pictured) this month promoted to head of R&D at DWF Ventures. Badrock has also recruited as his R&D manager Pinsent Masons knowledge engineer David Sutherland, who started in the new role in August.
DWF Ventures, a wholly owned R&D company launched towards the end of 2017, is headed by managing director Jonathan Patterson (who, incidentally, is referred to by most people who know him as JP.) Ventures is DWF’s vehicle for developing new ideas and stands out in the industry for facilitating real exploration, with Catherine Bamford, founder of legal document automation specialists BamLegal, commenting in an article for Legal IT Insider: “Innovation and disruption in legal industry is painfully slow and there is too much back covering going on. There are exceptions. Jonathan Patterson’s Engine 1 and Engine 2 approach at DWF Ventures is one of them.”
Badrock told Legal IT Insider: “I have increasingly been taking on more responsibilities within Ventures over the last six months or so. I’m now heading up the R&D priorities within Ventures, whilst JP as managing director is also focussing on the early growth services, idea generation, and spends more time than I do, developing our connections with the likes of the academic institutions.”
In April this year DWF launched a knowledge transfer partnership with Manchester University to bolster its data science expertise and take advantage of the latest academic expertise in machine learning.
Badrock, who as solutions manager has built up DWF’s Contract Express-based automated contract drafting solution DWF Draft, will continue to oversee the client facing elements of automation and says he will have a “small hand” in assisting with the strategy.
Thom Barr joined DWF in May 2017 from Taylor Wessing, where he was a knowledge engineer responsible for delivering document automation, now looks after DWF’s internal document automation programme.