Law Firm DWF Ups AI + Data Focus With Knowledge Transfer Deal

UK law firm DWF is to launch a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), in conjunction with the University of Manchester, which will see the firm further develop legal data analysis systems along with machine learning and AI tech applications.

A KTP is a formally agreed three-way partnership between an organisation (in this case DWF), an academic institution and a graduate.

DWF will use the KTP to ‘develop and embed a data-empowered business model focusing on the capture, structure and application of data to transform service delivery, internal processes and product offerings’, it said.

The 30-month project will be overseen by Mayowa Ayodele, a data scientist from the University of Manchester. It marks an increasing trend in the legal sector for law firms to partner with university-based tech/data experts in order to help develop new services and products for their clients.

Ayodele has recently completed her PHD in Computational Intelligence and her appointment allows DWF to ‘take advantage of the latest academic expertise in machine learning, optimisation algorithms for problem solving and the application of new technologies’ the firm added.

Working closely with DWF’s business intelligence team headed by Geraldine Gallagher, Ayodele will play a key role in helping the business establish ‘a model for enhanced data use and management, recognising legal data as ‘a corporate asset’ fundamental to DWF’s growth strategy’.

Jonathan Patterson, DWF/DWF Ventures

The KTP is one of several research based projects which DWF have entered into with the University since it launched DWF Ventures, an arms-length R&D company, in 2017; including membership of a Legal & Fin Tech Group established by the University.

Jonathan Patterson, from DWF and DWF Ventures said: ‘We recognise that developing a data-driven approach to legal services will allow us to stay competitive and offer more tailored services to clients.’

In addition, Patterson told Artificial Lawyer that: ‘We see the KTP helping us to establish the infrastructure we need to underpin a data-empowered business model.’

‘As part of this we expect to see larger and better quality data sets emerging that will in turn enable the more effective use of AI technologies. This will include both the utilisation of AI to improve organisational processes and also to continue to develop and train various AI based tools that enable DWF teams to deliver faster, more efficient and better value services to clients,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Professor Ian Miles, Academic Lead for the KTP, Alliance Manchester Business School concluded: ‘This project will be simultaneously exploring the technical and organisational elements of establishing new types of support for a particular set of activities within a legal services firm: the results will be relevant to other activities of that firm, and also to legal and professional services more generally, as emerging Artificial Intelligence applications, and evolving demands from clients, continue to foster digital and cultural change.’

The KTP scheme is part-funded by Innovate UK, a public body which aims to increase the UK’s economic strength and competitive edge by helping organisations gain access to skills and funding.