CMS has set up a new team to drive further benefits from platforms like HighQ as part of the firm’s innovative approach to collaboration with clients. John Craske, head of legal service design and delivery at CMS, says one of the biggest attractions of HighQ is the way it helps the firm help clients manage legal and business projects or transformations more efficiently.
The challenge: Adapting technology to the individual needs of clients
“We’re always looking for new opportunities to refresh how we’re working with clients,” explains Craske. “Whether we’re pitching for a new piece of work or uncovering something interesting from our client insight program, we regularly stop to think about how we can improve the mix of people, processes and technology we’re deploying.”
Laura Fessey, product manager at CMS, adds, “Initial conversations with clients on how they can improve the way they collaborate with their law firms or their own teams often lead to interesting opportunities. Everything starts with a conversation. We listen first and adapt technology to the individual needs of clients.”
Craske gives the example of working for HP on its $1bn acquisition of Samsung’s global printer business, where his team used a combination of tech tools, project management and efficient resourcing to speed up complex contract management on the deal across multiple jurisdictions.
The solution: CMS Mix – identifying the right people, processes and technology
“Potentially bringing on board thousands of new contracts with distributors, partners and manufacturers, HP needed to quickly uncover and understand where they had suppliers in common with Samsung, key data such as their termination dates and which contracts they would or wouldn’t continue in future.
The result: Increased lawyer efficiency and improved monitoring of project progress
Craske explains, “We used the document management capabilities of HighQ to take advantage of the detailed playbook and conditional fields to ensure paralegals or lawyers are only asked questions, and therefore inputting information, relevant to a particular type of contract in the particular jurisdiction.”
That helped streamline the process and created a repository where both documents and metadata are accessed in the same place. Attaching statuses to contracts for project management and reporting purposes was also useful; for example, prioritizing progress on a particular contract category or in one language or country.
The future: Transforming innovation into practice for clients
A dedicated Tech Tools team has been created as part of CMS By Design, the firm’s integrated group of specialists from across the firm who help turn innovation into practice for clients. The Tech Tools team is helping Partners and lawyers across CMS get a better understanding of what’s possible with technologies like HighQ, Kira and Brainspace.
As John Craske explains: “The challenge for all law firms isn’t so much getting access to these new tools as it is developing deep knowledge of what they can do for you and how they can bring practical benefits to our clients. At CMS, we are building an ecosystem around our tools – supporting people with the practicalities of using a platform like HighQ, but also educating them on the range of use cases.”
In line with that direction, the team at CMS is self sufficient at building HighQ client sites such as the HP example for itself. “The IT training team offers some minimal HighQ training, but it’s easy to use,” says Craske. “If there’s anything more exotic than documents and folders to manage, the legal tech team are there to help, and of course they will become quite the specialists over time.”
Fessey adds, “We have also prepared some training materials with guidelines, FAQs, and so on, but the idea is that in the future, lawyers will have access to a growing group of ‘power users’ they can learn from, so they’re more familiar with technology possibilities when talking to the next client. It’s about turning this from the innovative into a business-as-usual tool.”
For her part, Fessey now plans to measure success in terms of the range of use cases that are developed in collaboration with the tech team, and how deeply these start to run through the business.
“We recently pulled a report, and it’s no great surprise that the biggest use remains document storage,” she says. “I’ll now be measuring the volume of requests from the firm and support actions that take place, and would like to see more instances of people using HighQ in project and task management. The team are excited and looking forward to getting their hands on the workflow functionality too!”
“As well as meeting individual client need for collaboration or efficiency, more varied usage of the tools we have at our disposal will be another sign of success.”