UK Law Firm DWF Launches ‘New Ideas Incubator’ to Develop Client Services

UK law firm DWF has launched a specialist business division, Connected Services, that packages together legal tech R&D, technology incubation and legal process design consultative services.

Jonathan Patterson, DWF Ventures

A key piece of Connected Services will be the launch of ‘a new ideas incubator’, DWF Ventures.

Wholly-owned by DWF it will focus on driving client-focused research and development opportunities and ‘nurture early-growth services‘. DWF’s Development Director Jonathan Patterson will take on the role of Managing Director and Head of Development of DWF Ventures.

Connected Services also includes DWF’s in-house advocacy team, a new independent claims management business, a forensic accountancy arm and resourcing solutions.

And the Connected Services launch includes the formal introduction of tech consultancy DWF 360. Initially acquired as part of Triton Global, the IT solutions and software business provides a variety of technology solutions to help clients streamline their systems and processes and will play a key role in driving innovation through DWF.

In effect one could call this a hybrid legal, consulting and legal tech innovation arm, though it’s not clear yet if the firm will be providing advice on legal AI adoption for its clients. That said, providing AI solutions, or at least advice on them, may be inevitable for DWF as inhouse legal teams increasing ask for such services. Meanwhile, ALSPs such as Axiom and Elevate, along with the Big Four managed legal services arms of Deloitte and PwC are also already offering AI-driven services to clients.

One might say that once you start down the road of legal design and innovation you soon enough reach the realm of legal AI applications. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Andrew Leaitherland, DWF Managing Partner said: ‘This is a milestone for DWF and very much reflects the strategic direction of the business. Our aim is first and foremost about finding the best ways to solve our clients’ challenges, so by introducing a wider range of solutions and technologies to sit under one roof with our legal offerings, we are better equipped to support our clients in a more holistic way.”

Jason Ford, DWF partner and former COO of Triton Global, will lead the new venture as Head of Connected Services.

‘We’re led by our clients, so the offerings within Connected Services are all very flexible and scalable to what they need, whether that’s a standalone solution or a more bespoke combination of resources,’ Ford concluded.