Reed Smith Launches Free Arbitration Mobile App

International law firm Reed Smith has launched a mobile app to allow people to calculate the potential costs of an arbitration in various venues across the world. It is available for free on Apple’s App Store and also with Google Play.

With the Arbitration Pricing Calculator or ‘APC’ you can explore the cost structures at key arbitral institutions, for example, SIAC, The Singapore International Arbitration Centre, (see below). It provides key information about the various pricing elements and administration costs, along with providing sliders that show costs based on the time taken, and also what level of deposit needs to be made by the parties.

App Store screen shots.

It currently covers 37 international arbitration centres and converts into 20 currencies. In short, it gives an initial estimate of arbitration costs, allowing parties to forum shop and to have a realistic initial idea of what going down this dispute resolution route could mean financially.

Other things that the app can help with, include:

–       Whether the tribunal is to consist of a sole arbitrator or a panel of three,

–       Whether an expedited or emergency procedure is to be adopted.

The firm added that this calculator has other added benefits, such as helping lawyers who are drafting commercial contracts to decide which centre to include as the default arbitration venue for any potential disputes.

The app was developed by Timothy Cooke, a partner in Reed Smith’s International Arbitration practice. Previously the firm has also developed a mobile app for eDiscovery.

The announcement is timely. Artificial Lawyer just last Friday wrote a piece about Rocket Lawyer’s increasing focus on providing consumers and SMEs with mobile access to all its legal products and services – and then asked the question: will Big Law see an increase of focus on mobile applications?

Now, you may ask: ‘It’s free? What is the point in that?’ The answer is that it’s a ‘value add’ that generates goodwill and stickiness with clients, which makes them more likely to turn to Reed Smith when they need more fulsome input.

Moreover, the fees a firm could charge to provide this publicly available information would be minimal – if anything at all – and it simply soaks up time. I.e. it’s better to provide it for free in a handy app that helps potential clients, who may then engage Reed Smith for what then becomes a significant matter.

Timothy Cooke, Reed Smith

Commenting on the app, Cooke, who is a barrister based in the firm’s Singapore office, said: ‘I created this app to simplify the process of estimating institutional costs of arbitration for clients, arbitration and transactional lawyers, and arbitrators.

‘Navigating the rules, practice notes and schedules of the various institutions can be complex, especially when you consider the potential pitfalls posed by different procedural options and currency conversions.

‘With the Arbitration Pricing Calculator, users can estimate costs instantly and access a wealth of other information about an institution and its rules at a tap of the screen. There is no other app like it and so we are delighted to be offering it to the market for free.’

Peter Rosher, Reed Smith’s International Arbitration global chair, concluded: ‘Timothy’s creation ties perfectly into the firm’s global expansion of our international arbitration practice. Our clients are engaged in arbitrations across the globe, and they all want predictability of the expense of the arbitral process.’

Overall, this is a great example of leveraging publicly available data, along with user-friendly technology, to provide potential clients with something that is very useful and easy to engage with. The mobile element may also be especially handy for parties who are on the move.