Weekly Update - April 18

A. Quote of the Week

A traditional response for a litigator is to suck their teeth and say the work is terribly unpredictable. That’s not good enough anymore. We need to be good at telling clients how much our work will cost and then committing to how much it will cost.” (Matthew Newick, global litigation head at Clifford Chance)

B. Articles to Read

1. Using Legal Tech in Litigation

The Law Firm Disrupted: Walmart Won't Pay You to Cut and Paste (Roy Strom)

Key Quote:

He said partners at law firms almost always worry about the loss of associate hours that corresponds with licensing a tool like LegalMation…. In one instance, an Am Law 100 firm’s management committee learning about LegalMation was hesitant to show it to their associates, worrying the young lawyers would “freak out,” Lee said, about what it meant for their job prospects.”

Why it Matters:

There is no doubt that many legal tech tools will result in a reduction in associate hours. After all, the goal of most legal tech tools is to increase efficiency or increase quality (or both). But partners should not expect associates to fear the introduction of new technology. Rather, as the partners in this example learned, the associates were thrilled that they got to use a new legal tech tool that would allow them to focus on more substantive work and less on repetitive work.

2. Using Legal Tech in M&A Transactions

Siemens Piloted AI Diligence Tools on Recent Transaction (Jennifer Brown)

Key Quote:

So, when an acquisition transaction in the health-care space came his way recently, Brait took the opportunity to use it as a test case for some of the new technologies being touted in progressive legal departments and firms around the world. He wanted to see artificial intelligence tested during a transaction in real time.”

Why it Matters:

It’s no surprise that clients are looking for their legal work to be done more efficiently, and in the M&A context, there are a number of legal tech tools available. This article from Canadian Lawyer highlights how Siemens and their Canadian legal counsel leveraged several legal tech tools, including (i) a document drafting tool that helps check references; (ii) a closing agenda system that helps collect signature pages and create record books; and (iii) leading AI due diligence engines.

These are tools that we have available at Aird & Berlis to deliver greater value to our clients, and it’s great to see firms recognize the potential benefits of using these technologies.

3. Law Firm Student Recruiting: Moving Beyond Law Students

Allen & Overy Launches ‘Lawtech Training Contract’ (Katie King)

Key Quote:

The firm is seeking candidates who “ideally” have science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees, or economics degrees. This is only a preference, though, so law graduates can still apply. Upon completion of their training, A&O’s tech-savvy bunch will have a recognised qualification in project or process management.”

Why it Matters:

Legal services delivery is transitioning away from a lawyer-centric model, so it should come as little surprise that some innovative law firms are looking to hire recent graduates from programs other than law. As law school is not exactly great preparation at the moment for a career in project management, process management, or data analytics (which will all be key areas in the law firm of the future), it makes sense that some firms are looking to capture top-tier talent from other programs.