Legal Business Blogs

‘Thinking space’: Reed Smith to collaborate with clients with launch of new Innovation Hub

Reed Smith has made a concerted investment in the legal technology and innovation space with the launch today (4 October) of a dedicated ‘thinking space’, believed to be the first of its kind in London, after developing its own software to maximise efficiency in corporate deals.

The ‘Innovation Hub’ is the brainchild of global chief knowledge officer Lucy Dillon who has employed the former leader of Lexis Nexis’ new product development team, Alex Smith, to run it. Smith joins as the firm’s dedicated innovation manager, to be based in London. He will work internationally with clients to develop technology that cuts costs and enhances legal services.

As well today’s launch of a dedicated 538sq ft space in the City where clients can collaborate on projects with Reed Smith, as well as another 320 sq ft in New York, Reed Smith plans on launching the hub globally, with other cities yet to be confirmed.

The firm has no set budget for investments but in 2014 developed its own Deal Performance Platform – a suite of software built in-house which reduces legal costs and streamlines deal closing activities – and has also invested in executive education initiatives.

Dillon (pictured), who started planning the Innovation Hub six months ago, said: ‘We have already carved out some budget as part of our planning and will be focusing on investing that in the initiatives that show real promise and longevity. Our clients often come to us to help them to find clever solutions for changes affecting their businesses and we hope this initiative, and the dedicated spaces we are developing across the firm, will offer them thinking space to do just that.’

She added: ‘What we’ve been looking at is how tech is driving change for our clients. When you talk about fostering innovation, all the research says that you need put people in a different environment.’

As well as having the space available for clients to use, Reed Smith has a schedule of events to trigger collaboration between clients, the first of which will be focused on fintech.

Reed Smith’s move follows the launch of an insurance-focused innovation lab opened by DAC Beachcroft in July. While that hub has no dedicated space, the firm said it was setting up such an area in its Birmingham office. DAC’s offering has a team of 14 including lawyers, project managers, risk and IT managers.

Similarly, Dentons, which launched NextLaw in May 2015, already uses IBM Watson and earlier this year said it had invested in fee transparency firm Apperio.