Lawtech

Our lawtech practice develops technological solutions for legal problems, offering new and innovative ways of tackling our clients’ most complex issues and enhancing and streamlining the firm’s existing services.

Technology increasingly plays a significant role in our everyday lives, providing new solutions which would not be possible without technological innovation and making traditional tasks more efficient. The legal sector is no different.

As an integrated part of the firm, the team benefits from the strong relationships and in-depth knowledge that we already have of our clients, their businesses and the issues that they face. This understanding enables us to work directly with clients to provide custom-built solutions, often designed from the ground up, to fulfil their specific legal needs and requirements. 

We are both bold in approach and ambitious in delivery, encouraging clients to test us, pushing the boundaries of what our technologies can do. The lawtech team combines a diversity of insight and experience in relation to technology, data, design, knowledge management, process, change and law, which helps us to develop a wide range of creative and forward-thinking delivery outputs to complement the trusted legal expertise that the firm provides.

Learn more about our lawtech practice

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Recent work

Automated contract management – Velocity

Situation

A long-standing client of the firm came to us with some very clear commercial goals:

  • to reduce the time taken to agree commercial contracts;
  • to enhance their legal service by embedding technology;
  • to improve visibility with their advisers; and
  • to use data to better inform decision making.

Action taken

In order to achieve these goals, the lawtech team’s starting point was to carefully examine the client’s existing processes and the people involved, deconstructing them to identify areas where non-technological changes and enhancements could be made.

We then deployed our Velocity product – an online portal which brings together a raft of cutting-edge technologies to transform the way that commercial contracts are drafted, negotiated and executed.

We worked in close collaboration with the client and their other advisers during implementation, with regular team meetings to inform on progress and to discuss the tailorable options and functionality. 

Impact for the client

As a result, the client reported that more than 280 transactions were initiated via Velocity during the first 12 months after deployment and already those transactions were proving the pace that Velocity was able to inject, with certain parts of the process reduced from three, four or even five working days to a matter of minutes, without any compromise on quality.

The client also welcomed the agile nature of the portal and the fact that both the client and their multi-disciplinary advisers could initiate a process, update a status in real-time, or access documents or data wherever they are and whenever they need to.

The data gathering and interrogation abilities of the solution was another big plus for the client. Being able to view interactive data for a particular transaction alongside analysis of longer-term trends, made a big difference for them in terms of fast and consistent decision making.  

What our client had to say

“Velocity is a great representation of the direction of travel for the legal services industry – using technology to augment lawyers and to enhance the overall legal service. Velocity goes way beyond what we expected could be achieved and we expect it to have a significant, positive impact on our business.”

GC at leading investment management firm.

LIBOR-transition assessment – Vantage

Situation

In a significant project with a leading alternative asset management client to manage its transition from LIBOR to risk free rates, the client needed a way to determine its exposure to LIBOR in its thousands of legacy contracts efficiently and effectively.

The sheer quantity of documents requiring analysis made a traditional, manual review cost and time prohibitive. Given the relative urgency of this issue, an innovative and effective solution was required.

Action taken

A multi-disciplinary team drawn from the our lawtech, financial services, derivatives and trading and finance teams worked together to deploy the Vantage product – which uses a combination of AI and data analytics processes to offer a tailored LIBOR-transition impact assessment bespoke to the client’s needs.

Using custom-developed machine learning algorithms – trained by our lawyers and expert legal technologists – we were able to review a body of more than 2,200 client documents efficiently and accurately, determining precisely which documents required remedial action. Working in combination with the technology, our lawyers then interpreted and refined the analysis - to make it relevant to the client’s business and help prioritise subsequent steps required.

Impact for client

Vantage delivered the results in a clear and actionable format, incorporating a series of AI-powered dashboards and data visualisations, giving the client detailed analysis of each stage of the review process. A critical differentiator of Vantage is its delivery: instead of receiving a static report in a Word document, the results of the review are delivered via customisable dashboards, providing an easy-to-digest top-level assessment and the ability to drill-down into further detail where necessary. A compelling and intuitive interface was designed to allow the client to interrogate the data and tailor the analysis according to their needs.

What our client had to say

“We’re really pleased with how Macfarlanes has combined a high level of legal expertise with first rate tech capability on this project. The LIBOR transition is an important and complex issue for our business, and the Vantage AI solution has allowed us to understand our exposure accurately and efficiently. The AI dashboards have been very useful to help us understand the analysis, share internally with our risk committee and other stakeholders and to prioritise the path forward. A great example of how technology can help deliver value and excellent client service.”

Legal counsel at leading alternative asset manager

Market analysis and business decision support

Situation

An important client for the firm was keen to explore new ways for extracting critical information relating to the legal terms contained within transaction documents. Dealing with vast quantities of data meant that manual review processes were becoming time prohibitive, particularly when business decisions needed to be made quickly. The client felt that they could achieve a competitive advantage if this insight was unlocked and made easily available when needed.

Action taken

We worked with the client to develop a bespoke AI-based solution to allow them to access detailed analysis relating to key terms, market trends, outliers and anomalies in their significant body of data very quickly and easily, with significant flexibility for self-configuration and adaption.

Our team custom-trained AI models and optimised them for the client’s key data points, with the lawtech team working closely with subject matter experts to ensure that extremely high levels of accuracy were achieved.

The client, a sophisticated technology user, was eager to have access to the underlying AI technology and to be able to use it themselves, so the solution needed to allow the client to change, reconfigure and re-run analysis depending on what they were interested in. The ability to add to the underlying data set so that the analysis could be updated was also important.

Impact for client

A key driver for the client was to enhance the value that they as a team could provide to the other business teams when making certain trading decisions. By having full access to the AI technology themselves, the client was able to drive analysis depending on their needs at the time, filtering the data by reference to individual data points or a combination of variables, allowing them to access a range of both general and nuanced insights.

To date, more than 1,800 transactions have been analysed using the solution and the analysis made available for interrogation. This data then feeds into the platform’s dashboards which can quickly identify trends, patterns and discrepancies to aid the business’ decision making.  

What our client had to say

“We were impressed with the project’s outcome – particularly the combination of legal and technological expertise that Macfarlanes was able to field. It’s a great example of a law firm embracing technology and using it to benefit their clients. The project has given us access to insight and analysis that we couldn’t have accessed any other way and helps demonstrate how AI can be used in a legal context to support investment research.”

GC at international hedge fund manager.

Entity management

Situation

An asset management client was seeking a solution for several operational complexities. As a firm, they were regularly creating new fund structures, alongside managing existing ones, which made it challenging to keep track of all the most up-to-date data and documentation regarding their multiple subsidiaries. The client was looking to address:

  • the management and analysis of key documents and data at point of need;
  • silos forming where information is held by different advisors and counterparties; and
  • a need for better collaboration and visibility internally and between interested parties.

Action taken

To tackle these pain points, the lawtech team worked closely with the client to develop and embed a comprehensive entity management solution to act as a single point of truth for all information regarding their fund structures.

Feedback from the client was used to tailor functionality and user interface, resulting in a centralised system which was quick and easy to navigate for both the client and their team of professional advisers. 

The cutting-edge security protocols and full permissioning capability were set to the client’s requirements to facilitate effective collaboration but also to lock down information and documents to specific individuals or groups, allowing secure segregation of their key information where needed.

Impact for client

As the organisation’s existing adviser, we understand the legal context for the structures they have in place and, having often established them ourselves, the corresponding documentation and data. This gave us a significant advantage over the off-the-shelf information management systems on the market.

As well as providing a comprehensive and centralised access point for data, the solution gave our client the tools they needed to better understand and manipulate that data via real-time reporting, data visualisations and interactive dashboards.

The client appreciated the ability to share documents and information with other advisers, counterparties and key persons and the facility to receive and distribute notifications and tailored alerts to specific individuals.

What our client had to say

“This project really demonstrates our commitment to delivering best-in-class client service – not just in relation to our clients’ purely “legal” needs, but also in relation to the issues they face within their business and in their own operations. As well as providing our client with a comprehensive and centralised access point for their data, the solution gives our client the tools they need to better understand and manipulate that data via real-time reporting, data visualisations and interactive dashboards.”

Ceinwen Rees, partner in our tax and reward practice.

Christopher Tart-Roberts

Head of lawtech and chief knowledge and innovation officer

Awards