04:53, March 26 239 0

2018-03-26 04:53:08
Macfarlanes finally wades into innovation race with Kira partnership

Macfarlanes has joined a number of firms formalising its relationship with AI software Kira Systems in a bid to open up its innovation strategy.

Macfarlanes has been late to engage with AI-enabled technology that is already used by firms including Mishcon de Reya, Travers Smith, DLA Piper and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to conduct due diligence exercises and real estate lease review.

While Macfarlanes has conducted a proof of concept over the past 18 months, head of knowledge, innovation and legal technology Christopher Tart-Roberts told The Lawyer that Macfarlanes is now “taking the relationship on a more permanent footing”.

The announcement is significant considering Macfarlanes’ traditional blue-blooded reputation. “One of the things I’ve certainly realised is actually as a firm we don’t tend to shout about this stuff very much even though we’re doing lots of stuff,” Tart-Roberts explained.

“As a firm we don’t to tend to put out loads of press releases about loads of things – we tend to take a subtle approach to marketing the firm,” Tart-Roberts said.

Macfarlanes is bedding down the use of Kira in its commercial, real estate and finance practices, and is experimenting with Kira within the firm’s derivatives and trading groups.

“We’re using Kira to surface information about the terms of deals post their execution to give us and our clients far greater insight into the terms of their portfolio. That’s something that our financial institutions clients are very interested in, because they enter into huge numbers of transactions,” Tart-Roberts told The Lawyer.

“I’m conscious now in particular clients are becoming more sophisticated in terms of expectations of their law firms. I think it’s important for us to talk a bit louder than we have done previously – particularly around tech and innovation – especially now it’s a differentiator.”

Tart-Roberts said: “It’s quite important to let clients know we are investing in these technologies.”

Kira Systems says its building out more built-in provision sets to broaden the products use cases. It launched 150 new models for facility agreements in January this year.