The aim is to make the G4S inhouse legal team more efficient by speeding up the way lawyers there review and pre-screen contracts that come into the internal legal function. G4S operates in around 90 countries and has over half a million staff globally – i.e. this is a business generating a huge number of contracts that soak up a lot of lawyer time.
The move builds on an earlier relationship between ThoughtRiver and the global law firm that started in 2017 when its ES Ignite arm began to use ThoughtRiver’s technology. The tech involved is based upon ThoughtRiver’s Lexible universal contract language – (see story which explains how this works).
The project is a good example of how legal tech companies can work closely with law firms to provide corporate clients with a solution in what is a win-win scenario for all involved. The end client gets a solution that works for them with the support of a law firm they know, which benefits in return, and naturally the tech company benefits as well.
It also shows a mature approach to the realities of how automation is shaping the way lawyers work. I.e. rather than a large firm shying away from introducing such tech to their clients – which some may fear might be seen to be eating potential revenue – they have embraced the direction of travel the market is taking and have sought to be out in front of this change.
One could say that if inhouse legal teams are already starting to use AI tech for the review of contracts isn’t it better to be helping to lead this change? Moreover, are large and sophisticated law firms really adding value to a client’s work by seeking to handle high frequency, lower value review using manual methods alone? Probably not. It would seem to be better to sustain a positive relationship with the client that helps them to handle lower value matters, while offering your higher value services directly from the firm at the same time.
Eversheds has long had a very forward-thinking approach toward how it works with some of its larger clients, and has developed novel approaches in the past, including creating ‘sole advisor’ deals with corporates where the firm seeks to offer a broad range of advice for a fixed price. One such example was with Tyco.
G4S’s Group General Counsel, Soren Lundsberg-Nielsen, said of the project: ‘G4S has had a global arrangement with Eversheds Sutherland for several years and the close partnership between Eversheds Sutherland and ThoughtRiver was very attractive to us.’
We are keen to take advantage of technology to support our in-house lawyers and we believe ThoughtRiver pre-screening technology is the cutting edge solution that will provide us with increased quality and efficiency.’
While Eversheds Sutherland’s Global Head of client development, Stephen Hopkins, said: ‘Our clients are seeking more effective solutions to all aspects of their legal issues. From the most technically complex through to more routine work.’
Tim Pullan, ThoughtRiver founder and CEO, concluded: ‘Our mission is to digitise the world’s contracts and that thought gets me out of bed, excited, every single day. Working with amazing clients like G4S and partners like Eversheds Sutherland just makes the journey that much more fun.’