Kerry Westland

Head of Innovation and Legal Technology, Addleshaw Goddard

Supernova Award Category: 

Future of Work - Productivity and Collaboration

The Company: 

Addleshaw Goddard is a premium international business law firm with an exceptional breadth of services. By delivering what clients want wherever they need it, from high value strategic advice, to the everyday, we pride ourselves on our straight talking approach and a service which is high quality, focused and consistently excellent. As technology is now an essential component in the efficient and cost effective delivery of legal services, Addleshaw Goddard has invested in a range of technology systems including those with artificial intelligence, document automation and project management functionality. This approach gives immediate tangible results in terms of speed of performance and costs efficiencies.

The Problem: 

Our client, a Big Four bank, was undertaking a re-organisation of its business. In order to proceed with this, a large scale due diligence (DD) exercise was required involving the review of c.20,000 documents across various sectors of the business. A DD exercise of this scale would traditionally come with a high cost both in time and to the client, however this is something that the Bank wanted to avoid. The Bank was also working to a tight regulatory timescale and required periodic detailed reports on the progress of the project in order for the necessary information to be shared with the relevant teams of the Bank, to be used to carry out the ongoing re-structuring. In addition to these periodic reports, the Bank required a detailed DD Report which was to be generated at the end of each phase of the project, for each sector of the business. These requirements meant that all of the data gathered throughout the process would need to be readily available and organised for analysis.

The Solution: 

We worked with the Bank to create a bespoke questionnaire that covered the necessary data points which we then built into the iSheets module on a dedicated HighQ datasite. This meant that we could ensure a consistent approach was taken when answering the data points, this was achieved through the use of the functionality available in iSheets which allowed pre-set options agreed with the Bank to be selected by the reviewer. We coded automated reports which could be sent to the Bank at the click of a button. We used our Transaction Services Team (TST) to carry out a first pass review of the documents using iSheets, facilitated by the allocation functions, email alerts and filtered views. After the first phase of this project we introduced an AI solution, Kira, to reduce the time spent on this first pass review. We used the knowledge gathered on the first phase of this project to train Kira on recognising and extracting the relevant data points which we then imported into HighQ.

The Results: 

Traditionally a project of this scale would require a large team with a lot of senior lawyer time spent on process management and reporting to the Client. Due to AG's TST and tech capabilities we could use paralegal reviewers and technology to reduce the time spent on the exercise.The use of HighQ iSheets meant that all of the data was stored in an easily accessible way. The Innovation and Legal Technology Team created automated reports using Velocity coding that extracted and amalgamated the data in iSheets and inserted it into easy to read documents which the senior lawyers could use to report to the Bank. This meant that very little senior lawyer time was spent on the production of the progress reports, lowering the cost for the client. This principle was also used to provide clear and concise data which fed into the overall DD Report produced at the end of the project. After the introduction of Kira, the accuracy and speed of the first pass review greatly improved, meaning that less time was spent on the project as a whole. Teaching Kira in house using expertise from within the firm meant that we could improve the system as the project proceeded and we can use the learnings on other similar projects.

  • 71% time saving on first pass review using Kira;
  • A later phase of this project was completed in just 13 days when it would have taken 45 days using traditional ways of delivery;
  • Significant decrease in time spent producing weekly progress reports, allowing the team to have a cut off time of 3pm Friday to be provided by 4pm to the Bank from a previous time of 9am and provided by 4pm;
  • Much easier to analyse results of DD, allowing comments to be made relating to patterns and trends by senior lawyers within minutes rather than hours;
  • Total cost saving of c.£250,000 for the Client.
The Technology: 
  • HighQ Document Automation
  • HighQ iSheets
  • Kira Systems
Disruptive Factor: 

The ability for AG to provide a project such as this at such a reasonable cost and on a tight time-scale due to our TST and tech offering has meant that Clients have come to us to discuss similar projects of their own. This project was the firm's first big use case of AI and integrating that with our use of HighQ was key in succeeding in meeting the Client's requirements. Our innovative use of the various functions of HighQ such as document automation to run calculations and analysis on statistics and using the iSheets to focus on efficient delivery meant that we could provide a first rate service without the associated costs. Using the experience of our firm's Partners and senior associates we were able to build systems that meant that valuable time was never duplicated and processes could be put in place to reduce the amount of time spent on high volume but low complexity work meaning that the senior lawyers provided value rather than extra cost.

Shining Moment: 

A project of this scale being done so efficiently using innovative approaches and technology had an effect throughout the firm as it cemented this new and innovative approach to work as an approach that gets results. It made us in the team proud to see all of our research and hard work on process improvement and innovation pay off for one of our biggest clients.

About Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard is a premium international business law firm which creates and delivers superb value and results.