Legal Professionals Join Forces to Solve Industry Problems


Joint action is not negotiable when it comes to solving big challenges – climate change, public health or cybersecurity, for example – but bringing people together to collaborate is rarely straightforward.

“Collective action problems” are those where the combined efforts of many organizations and industries would bring benefits to all, but individual interests prevent this from happening. And this is a flaw to which the legal industry is particularly prone.

Not only are lawyers trained to compete with other lawyers to get the best deal for their clients, the industry is fragmented, making anything that requires coordinated action even more difficult.

This is why the FT Collaborative Innovation Award was launched as part of the FT Innovative Lawyers program in March of this year: to provide a forum for individuals or organizations with industry-changing ideas to come together to develop them.

Technologies that could allow legal work to be done faster, more cheaply, and to a higher standard already exist, as do the skills to work with these tools and the vision to see how they could be applied. But these technologies have not yet proven their potential for lack of collaborative action.

Some of the biggest potential leaps forward for the legal industry require competitors to agree on shared processes and taxonomies. These include standards on how data is shared or how contractual terms are formulated, for example.

The award aims to bring together law firms, corporate legal teams, legal technology companies and other industry players to work together to address these and other challenges facing the legal industry.

Projects are currently underway and will be developed over the next five months and submitted for consideration for the award in December. During five development cycles in 2021, the FT presents a selection of these initiatives and follows their development, from idea to prototype or working solution.

The following eight projects were selected in the second round of the program for their potential impact on the industry, including one ‘spotlighted’ by a panel of experts (see more details below) for its high potential and success. viability.

Collaborative innovation projects

In the spotlight: D2 legal technology

The expert panel selected this project to be highlighted in the second round. A team whose members include D2 Legal Technology, Standard Chartered Bank, law firm Juris Corp, blockchain company SETL and 3 Hare Court Chambers are working to create a marketplace for banks to purchase legal opinions from law firms.

This would allow banks to purchase close-out netting notices on derivatives and financial securities. These establish the likely amount that each party to a financial agreement would have to pay if the agreement ends and determine the capital that banks must hold under the Basel Accord on Banking Regulation. Currently, banks must obtain thousands of such legal opinions, which cost between £ 10,000 and £ 50,000 each, with separate opinions required for each jurisdiction.

The team’s solution would make the process faster, more efficient and less expensive. Using distributed ledger technology, it would also create an immutable record to prove that notices were received and could automate reporting to regulators.

D2 Legal Technology Founder and CEO Akber Datoo says new tools are needed because the current process is not working: “We have 35 years of bad process overlay, duct tape and more duct tape, and the regulators are not happy. . . financial stability [is] at the heart of the problem.

Della, Bouygues Bâtiment International

Before a new construction project can start, lawyers must spend many hours analyzing many long and complex contracts in order to limit risk. Artificial intelligence firm Della and construction firm Bouygues are working together to build a solution that would allow contract managers to quickly answer questions about risks, such as “what’s the protocol in extreme weather conditions?” And communicate this information to people. on the site. The team also plans to create a chatbot interface to answer questions.

DXC Technology, UnitedLex, BriefBox, Simmons & Simmons, Major, Lindsey & Africa

The group is collaborating in the design and construction of a new generation legal talent management system. The objective is to help companies in the legal sector to manage their employees throughout their careers, from recruitment. Features include an integration facility with real-time chat, friends and reviews, individual development platforms, and a performance review tool.

Eversheds-Sutherland, Wartsila Corporation

Negotiating cybersecurity arrangements often results in delays in shipping contracts. Working with a group of law students, the team is developing a legal project management application, MariTime Track, to guide shipping line sales and procurement teams through the process of building and negotiating cybersecurity provisions in new contracts.

AI Engineering

Working with two universities and legal teams from leading tech companies, Genie AI is creating a platform to share legal documents, models and knowledge, making them more accessible and less costly. AI technology will be used to standardize and remove any personalized information from models shared by contributing lawyers, and to automate the production of new documents.

Kennedy’s IQ

Global losses from cybersecurity breaches are estimated at $ 1 billion per year, according to a 2020 report by software company McAfee and the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. Kennedys IQ, a technology company created by law firm Kennedys, offers to work with collaborators on a technology platform to enable law firms to tap into a network of firms in jurisdictions in which they are not. present. The platform would allow lawyers to coordinate a cross-border response to cyber incidents for their corporate clients.

Law of Themis

A group of law firms, academia and legal sector consulting firms are supporting a project led by Themis Law to create a work breakdown system for lawyers that will promote and measure diversity and inclusion. The system will seek to ensure that work is distributed fairly and that teams include a diverse mix of professionals.


Forensic imaging of electronic devices, in which data is copied so that it can be examined during an investigation, can be both expensive and inefficient. Law firm Trilegal is working with tech firm FPS Services and digital forensics firm Lab Systems to create a system to perform forensic imaging remotely, while ensuring that data cannot be tampered with and meet the requirements of admissible evidence in court.


Registered participants were invited to submit project ideas for the second round of the FT Collaborative Innovation program. Among the submissions, eight projects were selected to be presented at the FT Innovative Lawyers Summit, which took place from June 15 to 17, 2021.

The project managers gave a two-minute presentation to a panel of experts, who assessed the presentations against two criteria: the potential impact on the industry and the viability of the project idea.

Expert scores were compiled by RSG Consulting and reviewed by the Financial Times. The project with the highest average score was selected for highlighting. Experts were asked to declare any conflicts and to recuse themselves if they or their organization were involved in the project or otherwise conflicted to provide a fair assessment.

All participants will be invited to submit their final projects to be considered for the FT Collaborative Innovation Award in December 2021, with winners to be announced in early 2022.

New participants and projects are also invited to register to participate. You can find more details on the price, timeline, and a link to register here.

The expert panel

Debra Filippin, Asia-Pacific Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons
David Fisher, Founder and CEO, Integra Ledger
Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law School
David Halliwell, Partner, Client Solutions, Pinsent Masons
Rafiq Mohammadi, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, iManage
Mary Ormerod, Research Consultant, RSG Consulting
Tom Saunders, Research Consultant, RSG Consulting
Lucy Shurwood, Partner, Pinsent Masons
Andrew Soh, Director, Transformation Coordination and Product Management, Singapore Academy of Law

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