275 not out I NSI DE I N NOVAT ION AT F R E SH F I E L D S
Law enters the new age HOW NEW TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS ARE PROVIDING FRESHFIELDS THE FRICTIONLESS EDGE
Click to watch our exclusive interview where Jon Grainger introduces the Legal Services Centre
LOT HAS happened in 275 years. From mass industrialisation of the late 1700s to the invention of electricity, modernisation of warfare and the building of the first ever computer, the way in which lives are lived and jobs are worked has transformed. Global law firm Freshfields has been a first-hand witness to all of this since its founding in 1743, a claim few businesses still in operation today can make. Indeed, the company lived through the very creation of the term Luddite – a protest group of textile workers opposed to the introduction of automation and machinery during the Industrial Revolution. The term still carries tremendous relevance, for organisations spanning all industries are continually seeking ways to implement new technologies to optimise their outputs. CIO Jon Grainger is charged with ensuring that Freshfields leverages maximum benefit from current and future technologies, creating a frictionless end user experience for clients, legal 04
Video: 275 years of Freshfields history
partners and other employees. Grainger is a relative newcomer to the industry having joined in February 2017, and it is the coming together of legal practice and technology that enticed him to Freshfields. “This convergence still has a long way to run,” he says, speaking from the seventh floor of the firm’s brand-new offices in Manchester, UK. “I wouldn’t say we’re at a ubiquitous state with technology and law, nowhere near it, but certainly the relationship between law and technology has changed quite markedly. That’s something that
Freshfields — setting the scene Freshfields is one of the oldest global law firms with a ‘onefirm’ mindset. Whether it is supporting businesses on entering new markets, defending corporate reputation or managing multi-jurisdictional regulation, Freshfields has worked for some of the world’s largest organisations through its 275-year history. Among the company’s recent successful client case studies are Mastercard, Fraport, AB InBev, BT-EE and First Abu Dhabi Bank. In terms of the technological setup, around half of the company’s technology-focussed staff are based in Manchester, with regional tech hubs in London, New York, Hong Kong, Berlin and Frankfurt. These centres service 27 Freshfields offices around the world. I saw as a very attractive attribute, as a technologist, to follow.”
275 NOT OUT Grainger is the first to admire the immense legacy of Freshfields, citing Charles Babbage, the brain behind the Difference Engine brass computer, a machine so complicated that it couldn’t be built in the pioneer’s lifetime. “Freshfields was already 50 years old when he was born, just to give you an idea of the span that the company has covered,” Grainger adds. “That’s something to be celebrated and,
speaking from personal experience, the culture here is a culture of pursuit. We don’t accept the status quo, and we strive for excellence.” So, what must the industry and Freshfields do to ensure they thrive for another 275 years? For Grainger, creating a frictionless user experience for clients, fee earners and business service personnel forms the essence of his mission as CIO, fostering an environment where technology can be developed to ensure a sustainable, competitive advantage. “I think the key point, when you look w w w. f r e s h f i e l d s . c o m
Quote from Freshfields CIO Jon Grainger:
â€œIf you take WM Promus, our Puppet provider, for example. I met those guys and what was instantly apparent was just their passion and drive, and a real belief that they could make a difference. That is something you can't hide. It's also very very difficult to imitate or to fake. So that is really important because that also becomes infectious to our engineersas well.â€?
at the industry we’re in, is there are a lot of technologies that get mentioned again and again,” Grainger continues. “Machine learning and data analytics, for example. I think in themselves those are very important problems to solve, and we have some amazing capability within our teams who are working on those very problems. “However, I think the other element is for the industry to work out how it delivers these technologies. You can be first to market with a piece of technology – the trick is staying in that position. From a technology perspective, we should borrow approaches taken from the software sector, where we can keep our software fresh and up to date.”
ALL ABOARD THE TOOL CHAIN As technology continues to refresh and update, so too has the way in Freshfields approaches innovation. Grainger identified the need to unite the imperatives of fast delivery and the ability to keep such technology up to date and relevant once it has been deployed. Further, Freshfields’ innovation team, comprising lawyers and industry experts with a wealth of experience, should not have to worry about fixed costs associated with running their own innovation platforms. Rather than concentrate on such costs (like scalability and security), the focus should be on the core value proposition and what software development can achieve. Enter Freshfields’ own software development tool chain, the company’s answer to the ‘buy versus build’ conundrum. 08
Click to watch ‘Freshfields. Ready.’
Grainger says: “Often there are barriers to building your own software – for example is it going to take a long time? Are we going to get what we need? Do we have the right people? Do we have the right understanding? So, we’ve developed a continuous integration and continuous delivery platform, called a tool chain.” This is made up of several component parts, one of which being Puppet, an automated testing tool deployed with key partner WM Promus. “It’s one of those really difficult problems to solve, and Puppet and the automation that we’re putting in has helped tremendously,” Grainger explains. “If you look at the way we’re doing testing, before we had our platform, certain test cycles could take two weeks. We’ve boiled those down through automation and tooling to take an hour. This means we can test five times more often, so we’re getting an assurance on quality that was just unachievable before.” Another vital element of the Freshfields tool chain is Jira and Confluence, part of the Atlassian solution suite which the company is leveraging with the support of another important partner, Business Data Quality. Grainger adds: “We use those to great effect, and they enable the ability to report on tasks, to have really rich, co-located group discussions in a very meaningful and accessible way.” The tool chain is a system that brings together lawyers, technologists and, ultimately, clients. w w w. f r e s h f i e l d s . c o m
Cybersecurity attacks on law firms are on the rise, and in fact, a 2017 PwC study found that more than 60% of law firms had reported a security breach in the past year. In today’s digital environment, secure communication and collaboration are essential to protecting both firm and clients’ confidential data. BlackBerry has been a longstanding technology partner to the legal industry and is proud to work with all five Magic Circle law firms in the UK.
from anywhere, anytime on their mobile device of choice, whether it’s “bring your own” or corporate-owned, whether they’re in the courtroom or at a client’s office. With BlackBerry, you can protect sensitive information by controlling who accesses it and how, while enabling productivity and collaboration between internal and external team members. At Freshfields, thousands of devices have been enrolled onto a single platform, allowing increased productivity and cost efficiency.
With BlackBerry UEM, legal firms can empower fee earners and staff to work
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To find out more about BlackBerry’s work in the legal industry, what makes the company an ideal partner of choice and what it has achieved with Freshfields to date, watch the interview with Florian Bienvenu, Senior Vice President for EMEA.
BlackBerry Software achieved Highest Scores in 6 of 6 Use Cases in the Gartner Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management for the second year in a row.
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David Ford - Legal Sector Lead Mobile: +44 (0) 7795 290457 firstname.lastname@example.org
In-Orbit with Freshfields BDQ is a process and technology consultancy founded in London, with its roots in product development. We utilise technology and highly experienced consultants to help our customers manage tasks, automate work and collaborate more effectively. • Consultancy, training and support
• Value-added reseller
• Integration and development
• Specialist recruitment
“Jira and Confluence are very solid, proven elements of the tool chain. We have a lot of familiarity with Atlassian’s products, and BDQ are a key strategic partner” Jon Grainger - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Click to watch Grainger introduce Puppet and its place in the Freshfields technology tool chain
Underpinning this is what Grainger terms agile scrum, a new way of working whereby these stakeholders collaborate in small groups, called scrum teams, able to respond quickly to client feedback and demands. “What’s very interesting about the technology tool chain that we’ve created in Freshfields is the high rate of adoption,” the CIO says. “It is something that our software engineers enjoy, which is actually very important when you’re in a really competitive market for talent as we are here in Manchester. Give a software developer a great tool chain, and give a lawyer
a great user experience, and they can make the difference.” Again, this comes back to the question of how technology is delivered: “It’s not as difficult to work out what we need to do, but actually nailing how we do it. I think has been a real source of benefit for everyone,” Grainger adds.
A NEW AGE OF LEGAL SERVICE DELIVERY Another important focal point linking up Freshfields technologists and fee earners is the Legal Services Centre (LSC), a hub of legal experts offering services for the more process-driven elements of client work. w w w. f r e s h f i e l d s . c o m
“Blockchain has the ability not just to disrupt business — it’s clearly going to create new business models”
— Jon Grainger, CIO, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Around 100 staff are spread across three locations – Manchester, where most reside, Germany and Hong Kong – enabling provision of near 24/7 support for partners and their clients. Common tasks carried out include document reviews, due diligence and non-disclosure agreements, and the centralised provision of such services allows clients greater flexibility, at the same time offering certainty on pricing. “What’s also very interesting about the LSC is we have our legal services team, and obviously they’re the most important element of the centre, but a lot of the services that they deliver 14
rely on technology,” Grainger adds. Artificial intelligence is perhaps the most striking example. LSC’s legal support assistants (LSAs) leverage the AI capabilities of Kira, a machine learning software that automates contract reviews as part of the due diligence process. LSAs can configure certain search algorithms with Kira able to handle large amounts of documents in multiple languages – a system which is significantly faster than ‘eyes-on’ review. “What we also do at the LSC is use it as just one of the places we bring clients to when they want to understand how Freshfields is responding to new requirements,” Grainger says. “Very recently we brought together a group of very important clients from global institutions to showcase some technology that we’d created.”
INVESTING IN INNOVATION Though Freshfields’ client roster comprises some of the world’s largest and most well-known organisations, the firm also supports the legal sector’s up and coming tech startups. For the third consecutive year it will
be sponsoring Legal Geek, the largest law tech community in the world, made up of 2,500 members. “Our involvement in that space, with really exciting technology startups and lots of moving parts, shows that within Freshfields we have this hunger, this thirst to be involved,” says Grainger. “We want to make sure we’re relevant and at the centre of the pacesetters.” Closer to home, Grainger sees tremendous promise in Manchester’s technology talent pool, with graduates and post-graduates from the University of Manchester already making their mark. “If you think about Manchester, it lays claim to starting the industrial revolution. If you point out that the university invented graphene, and all the implications that we’re only just working out for that, you can see Manchester has this repeated ability to start big ideas off globally. Not to mention, Alan Turing (considered to be the founder of modern computing and artificial intelligence) teaching at the University during his time.” “Do we have technology talent in Salford and Manchester? Absolutely w w w. f r e s h f i e l d s . c o m
Powered by partnership Delivery and ownership of technology products at Freshfields is the result of close collaboration between the firm and an ecosystem of partners. “Increasingly, the characteristics we’re looking for in our technology partners are people who have a vision to provide their software in a way that the end user wouldn’t even know they were contributing,” Grainger explains. “We’re working with partners rather than vendors, and I find that when I speak to prospective technology partners, very quickly you determine whether they get our platform story and where we want to go.” Below are some of the key technology partnerships that are helping Grainger and his team to power operations at Freshfields:
WM Promus: Provider of Puppet. “I met those guys and what was instantly apparent was their passion and drive, and a real belief that they could make a difference. That is something you can’t hide. It’s also very difficult to imitate or to fake. That is really important because it is also becomes infectious to our engineers as well.”
Business Data Quality Ltd: Provider of Atlassian products. “For Jira and for Confluence as part of the Atlassian suite, again those are very solid, proven elements of the tool chain. We have a lot of familiarity with that, and it’s a very well-established set of products.”
Blackberry: “Our thoughts are now to extend our tool chain approach across all of technology covering devices and ways of working. We have started this in earnest with using Blackberry UEM which provides us with a ‘single pane of glass’ to manage both Apple iOS, Android and Blackberry devices. The introduction of Blackberry UEM has allowed us to consolidate four separate mobile device management platforms, into one. Regardless of the operating system or ownership type, UEM is able to provide policies that secure the device and the data held on it. We have used UEM as a platform to launch in-house developed, bespoke mobile applications, that are tailored to the needs of our Lawyer’s and clients. The device enrolment process became far simpler and more secure with the adoption of QR codes, negating the need for long provisioning codes. Over the past eight months, Freshfields IT has enrolled over 5,000 devices onto the UEM platform.”
SnapLogic: Integration tool provider. “If you take the SnapLogic product, that’s an interesting selection because we were looking at a number of integration tools. It’s a very competitive space, but again at this stage in our lifecycle, in our maturity model, it was the only product which I think you didn’t need to have a computer science degree to operate.” Further, Grainger outlined a plan to create a panel of technology providers, a synergistic forum to facilitate even deeper collaboration and knowledge sharing.
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Freshfield’s recently relocated to Salford in Manchester, England
we do. Have I been able to access all of it? Not yet. We moved from London, wholesale, only a year ago, and I’m very pleased to say we are beginning to attract lots of talent. We’re getting a name for ourselves locally.”
LOOKING AHEAD What technology does Grainger believe this next wave of Freshfields technologists will be leveraging in the future? When asked to name a technology 18
that will transform the legal industry, his answer is unanimous. “Blockchain is, without a doubt, a transformative technology that people are only just getting their heads around,” he says. “There’s a lot of similarities between blockchain and the early discussions around the internet, and what the internet would and wouldn’t be used for. But blockchain has the ability not just to disrupt business – it’s clearly going
to create new business models.” In terms of Freshfields, Grainger points towards a shift in approach to technology more widely. Although the CIO admits the journey is still in its nascent stage, the move towards approaching technology as a set of products rather than a series of projects, is very much in motion. He concludes: “Going back to a year or so ago, we were running things in quite a sequential fashion, sometimes referred to as waterfall, and we were looking at individual projects in a narrow context. “When you’re looking at things from a product point of view, you’re looking at them over a product lifecycle, so you’re talking years rather than months, and you’re also looking at a much wider group of unified features and technology, so you’re less likely to have overlap. “So, if you wanted to have a peek into the future: we think using a product lens, rather than a project lens, will give us a whole new perspective. Watch this space…”
Jon Grainger joined Freshfields as Global Head of Service & Transformation in February 2017, before assuming the role of CIO in December last year following a month of servitude as interim CIO. Before this Grainger spent seven years at Capgemini as Vice President & Programme Director, responsible for leading IT transformation programmes, content development strategies, innovation and research as well key operational functions. Grainger has also spent time with Fujitsu, Deloitte, and Accenture. Between 2013 and 2015, Grainger attained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Warwick, through Warwick Business School. He is also a holder of a degree in computer science.
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“If you wanted to have a peek into the future: we think using a product lens, rather than a project lens, will give us a whole new perspective. Watch this space…”
— Jon Grainger, CIO, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Grainger on the buy versus build question “Before thinking about technology partners, it’s really important for you to look at the fundamental question of buy versus build. I think in many companies this decision tree has almost got reversed. “There has been a universal frustration with internal technology departments perhaps not being able to deliver as quickly as people would like, certainly historically, and so there is a draw towards the buy. So, you buy the product and it doesn’t exactly match your needs, so you need to customise it. That customisation process takes some time – you’ll eventually get there, but any further customisation is going to be a trip back to the vendor. This can sometimes take years. “My proposition is to look at buy versus build with a slightly different lens. First thing is, you’ve got to have credible delivery. So, looking at our platform, that gives us our credibility. If it’s a source of competitive advantage, then by its nature it shouldn’t be available anywhere else, because otherwise what’s to stop another competitor just buying it off the shelf. If it truly is a differentiator, a source of competitive advantage, then you should look really carefully at building it. “However, our platform isn’t solely for the individuals and engineers that work in Manchester. We’ve developed our platform so that we can have other third parties doing the development. We could use a hybrid team, we could use teams split over two locations.” w w w. f r e s h f i e l d s . c o m
One New Bailey 4 Stanley Street Salford Greater Manchester, M3 5JL United Kingdom T +44 20 7936 4000 www.freshfields.com