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Our innovations

Find out how we are transforming legal services through our people for our clients by reading the following case studies which showcase the most recent innovations across our business.

Our purpose is to transform legal services through our people for our clients. That’s not just about providing high-quality, innovative legal and connected services. It also means doing things differently and disrupting to progress.

The cases studies below represent just a few of the ways we are embracing change and disruption as an opportunity to provide greater service to clients.

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Legal Design Challenge

DWF, LEx Open Source, Radiant Law and Wavelength Law collectively hosted a Legal Design Challenge.

 
Legal Design Challenge

Earlier this year, DWF, LEx Open Source, Radiant Law and Wavelength Law collectively hosted a Legal Design Challenge with the support of Legal Geek, with the aim of bringing together a group of 60 people to collaborate on an evaluation and re-design of key elements of drawing up contracts.

The challenge

Drafting and completing contracts is an everyday feature of business but has long presented challenges to companies in terms of cost, efficiency, speed and risk. For such a significant area of legal services there has been very little collaboration to find improvements.

The innovation

Earlier this year, DWF, LEx Open Source, Radiant Law and Wavelength Law collectively hosted a Legal Design Challenge with the support of Legal Geek, with the aim of bringing together a group of 60 people to collaborate on an evaluation and re-design of key elements of drawing up contracts.

The Legal Design Challenge used design methods, tools and techniques to focus on identifying problem areas and come up with new solutions.

It is the first time a cross industry collaboration has come together with such a significant and diverse mix of expertise and the six scenarios explored as part of the challenge were published in a guide to improving contracting, available at no cost on an open-source basis to anyone in the industry.

The results

When structured effectively, legal design techniques can be easily mastered by a wide range of roles (not just lawyers) in a short space of time to analyse and put forward solutions to challenges. This reinforces that people are easier to engage when you ask them to tackle a real life challenge rather than listen passively to an academic theory.

By making the six scenarios to re-design contracting freely available in a guide, it starts a conversation that can be built upon and gives organisations practical ideas they can use in their business.

Staging this challenge has convinced all four organisations to continue to work together to find ways to increase collaboration on the subject and promote the value of what came out of it.

Read the Guide which was produced as a result here

Watch a film from the Legal Design Challenge below

Becoming the first legal business to list on the LSE main market

We made the transition from partnership to corporate model, with a unique post-IPO structure.

 
Becoming the first legal business to list on the LSE main market

Innovative Lawyers 2019 Winners

DWF won the New Business and Service Delivery category at the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe in recognition of becoming the first legal business to list on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, overhauling our partnership model to form a unique corporate structure.

The challenge

We wanted to raise external investment from institutional investors in the UK and the US through an initial public offering on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The listing would ultimately enable us to capitalise on the expanding global legal services market.

The innovation

We transitioned from a partnership model to a corporate model, with partners agreeing to exchange their partnership interests for shares in the company and sell down a portion of their stake to contribute to the 25% “free float” required for a premium listing.

A unique post-IPO structure was developed, and we also developed a revised retention and compensation model for partners.

The results

In March 2019, the business achieved what no other law firm has done before, becoming the first legal business to list on the LSE main market and the largest IPO in Europe in Q1 2019.

The transaction raised £75m which will support the next phase of our evolution, including supporting future acquisitions and up to £10 million to invest in IT systems and a global managed services platform.

We have also significantly increased the equity participation of our people, a key objective of the IPO, with more than 2,000 of our people receiving share awards.

The listing also provided significant, long-term support to the DWF Foundation, with partners donating a total of 1.8m shares, with a valuation at the time of admission in excess of £2.1m.

The Manchester Law and Technology Initiative (LaTI)

Collaboration between the legal and education sectors is paving the way for new skill sets within legal businesses.

 
The Manchester Law and Technology Initiative (LaTI)

Collaboration between the legal and education sectors is paving the way for new skill sets within legal businesses.

The challenge

As innovation changes the way legal services are delivered, the related roles and skills need to adapt. Nowadays, legal services providers need legal engineers and data scientists just as much as they do lawyers. This raises questions about how the legal sector can collaborate better with academia to ensure our next generation of graduates are appropriately skilled.

The innovation

We joined forces with Freshfields and The University of Manchester to launch an ambitious project to explore how technology is impacting the legal sector.

The consortium is the first collaboration of its type in the UK to formally combine the capabilities of leading law firms with the academic expertise of individual schools inside a globally renowned university.

Funded through corporate membership fees, LaTI focuses on:

  1. developing future skills
  2. training needs and curriculum development
  3. organisational behavioural factors in the adoption of new legal technologies
  4. developing and evaluating new technologies; and
  5. creating long-term research partnerships.

Since the launch, other legal firms have joined LaTI in order to ensure a broader perspective across the different segments of the legal market.

The initiative has a dedicated aim to publish research and create curriculum content that is focused purely on the successful use of technology in the legal sector.

Senior-level leadership was provided by Freshfields’ co-chief legal innovation officer and the managing director of our innovation and R&D business, DWF Ventures, alongside senior academics from each of the law, business and computer science schools in the university.

To ensure the project had the right blend of expertise, both the law firms contributed a diverse mix of specialists to work alongside the academics. This included experts in law, technology, data analytics, innovation, consulting and R&D.

The results

Collaboration between law firms and universities has been notoriously difficult. But LaTI is setting a new standard, being the first of its kind in the UK and receiving endorsement and recognition from government ministers.

Success will be measured by the value of curriculum changes and research output over five years but since launch, the initiative has made a positive impact via:

  • Legal experts from both firms delivering lectures in the Law and Business schools
  • the innovation masters course using legal services innovation as a case study
  • a new short course on legal technology, along with a full curriculum review and a year-long law and technology course being launched in 2020
  • unprecedented collaboration, with content being taught across all three schools
  • In addition it has delivered legal technology based experiences and opened up new research capabilities including:
    • a competition to work on an innovation project with DWF Ventures and a major sports club
    • part-time legal engineering roles with legal-tech business SYKE
    • sponsorship of the Manchester Legal Tech Meetup and the Global Legal Hackathon
    • the recruitment of a full-time dedicated researcher
    • opportunities for students to complete research projects for DWF and Freshfields as part of their modules.

Using data as a route to market and reduce cost of claims

Using data and collaboration, we've developed an innovation which predicts the likely behaviours of any new claim.

 
Using data as a route to market and reduce cost of claims

Innovative Lawyers 2019 Winners

DWF won the Data, Knowledge and Intelligence category at the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe in recognition of our use of data analytics to help insurers mitigate the effects of adverse claims and behaviours.

The challenge

Insurance companies face thousands of fraudulent and exaggerated claims every year. They have developed reasonably effective 'Know Your Opponent' strategies to tackle adverse behaviours by claimant solicitors, including fraud and claims farming, which have seen some success. However they related to a number of individual solicitors and therefore did not cover the full claims market.

They were cumbersome to use for claims handlers, were difficult to keep updated to reflect changes in behaviour by the targeted solicitors and did not take into account new entrants to the claimant solicitor market. Furthermore, all claims presented by an individual claimant solicitor would not all behave in the same way, diluting the effectiveness of insurers’ strategies.

This resulted in insurers still finding it difficult to identify the likely behaviours of any given claim at the outset, leading to new claims being routed to claims handlers lacking the relevant, specific skills to tackle those adverse behaviours.

The innovation

Following extensive research into the motor market, DWF theorised that large cohorts of motor claims were likely to behave in very similar ways based on the route by which the solicitor initially procured the claimant. Our theory held that there were three main routes available to claimant solicitors that accounted for the vast majority of motor claims and that large groups of claims procured via the same route, irrespective of which claimant solicitor was presenting the claim, would behave very similarly. The theory was borne out when we undertook analysis of our motor claims data.

This fully solved the problems with individual Know Your Opponent strategies by simplifying many hundreds of different strategies into strategies around behaviour rather than the individual opponent, and also covering the majority of the motor claims market

This innovative collaboration between our lawyers, strategists and data analysts predicts the likely behaviours of any new claim at the initiation stage based on its specific case features. Insurers can use this to inform individual handlers decision making, or in some cases they have organised their target operating models so that different routes to market are handled in ring-fenced teams.

It has given us an insight into claimant solicitors' business models that is unprecedented in the industry and which allowed us to predict their next move.

The results

The initiative has delivered efficiency savings to our clients by routing the right claims to the right handling skillsets causing less friction in claims handling, and therefore, time and cost savings.

The initiative is largely 'future-proof' in that it remains fully usable in the faces of legislative reform and evolving claimant business models.

Ultimately, the initiative represents a legal solution, and it is within the development and deployment of the appropriate legal counter-strategies that our lawyers have delivered the most value.

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