Global law firm Reed Smith has rolled out a partnership with no-code company BRYTER. Artificial Lawyer spoke to the firm’s Adam Curphey about how initial pilot projects for a client have now led to a broader programme.
Curphey, (pictured above), who is a Senior Manager for Innovation Engagement, explained that it all started with a project to help a client’s procurement team handle GDPR issues.
The challenge was that the inhouse legal team didn’t always want to have to deal with data privacy compliance checking every time the procurement team at the large US company needed input. Nor did they want the procurement team to skip that compliance step. So…what could Reed Smith do to help?
The answer came in the shape of BRYTER’s no-code decision automation platform, legal advice from Reed Smith’s lawyers, and with the mission needs set out by the client. In the centre of that mix were Curphey and team.
‘Effectively this was a test case. The client needed to allow procurement to answer a series of questions [by itself] and be able to flag up only those issues that needed a response from the legal team,’ he explained.
They built a tool to meet this need and the project worked well. Then they were asked to do the same for the CCPA, the Californian data privacy rules. Again they used BRYTER and legal input from Reed Smith to meet the need, and built a no-code tool that took a lot of pressure off the client’s inhouse team.
As Curphey explained, the client’s legal playbook for how to handle such compliance issues was vast, running into dozens of pages. But, Reed Smith’s lawyers managed to boil this down to a handful of key questions and logical steps that were then built into a tool using the BRYTER platform.
The second application also worked. At that point the firm decided to expand its use of the no-code platform. It had passed its test. And this success was no doubt a relief for Curphey, who as he explained, really needed a system ‘that just worked’. After all, if you’re leading an innovation project inside a law firm, the project ending because the client didn’t like the result is clearly something you really don’t want to happen.
‘We knew we were onto a winner, but we had to prove it before it was rolled out,’ Curphey noted.
‘Now we are marketing BRYTER internally for new cases across the firm,’ he added.
Curphey, who previously taught at the BPP Law School in London, also said that a key part of innovation is about ‘thinking differently’ and no-code tools help a lot with that.
‘The lawyers get used to thinking in terms of a process and computation,’ he added.
The firm is also making use of the platform with students from Queen Mary University and Exeter University who are on placement. This gives them an early insight into the application of legal tech and as Curphey explained ‘helps with the training and education piece’.
All well and good, but what’s next? Curphey explained that aside from encouraging people across the firm to develop no-code applications, they are also looking at how they can integrate BRYTER into their client extranet.
‘We could then have a one-stop-shop for the clients. We already have a financial dashboard for the clients there, (which shows information on matter billing), but we could also add in BRYTER,’ he noted.
Clients could then work directly with the no-code software, all within Reed Smith.
‘Integration is important. Clients don’t want 15 different log-ins to use applications, or to have lots of different environments that look very different,’ he added.
In conclusion, Curphey said: ‘This is about providing a service to the clients, it’s all about inhouse teams having to do more with less, and it’s about making processes more efficient.’
Plus, he added, a key factor here is that the client knows that the legal content in any of the no-code applications they have built has been provided by lawyers at Reed Smith.
‘We now have a pipeline of people thinking about projects. So, all of that ground work was so important,’ Curphey concluded.
Moral of the story: identify a clear client need, test with a small project, bring in legal expertise to ensure you’ve got it right and have quality assurance, rinse and repeat to get buy-in, then roll out more widely.