Global firm launches legal contracting venture

by Steve Randall18 May 2018

The recently-combined law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has entered the legal tech space with a startup venture.

The firm aims to make legal contracting more efficient through an innovative digital approach with the launch of Swiftagree, which is based in the UK but is one of several new solutions that will be rolled out globally.

The service provides clients with a consistent, efficient and low-risk approach to negotiating and executing high quality unbiased contracts.

“The future of legal service delivery will require service providers to meet their customer’s requirements through multiple channels one of which will be digital,” says BCLP partner Barry Gross. “Swiftagree is a significant step forward in bringing legal service delivery truly into the digital marketplace saving clients time and money.”

Although SwiftAgree is currently focused on English law contracts, it expects to ultimately scale out its reach to contracts governed by US law.

More regulation, certainty for disputes needed in Asia survey reveals
A global survey of more than 4,000 people at conferences in 24 countries has identified key priorities needed to improve dispute resolution.

And the report published by Herbert Smith Freehills, PwC and the International Mediation Institute (IMI) reveals that Asia has some differing requirements from other regions.

"The results reflect the diverse and complex region in which we work and know so well," said Justin D'Agostino, Herbert Smith Freehills' Asia managing partner and global head of dispute resolution.

Asia needs more regulation and greater certainty of outcomes, the poll found.

"Many of those surveyed in Asia manage businesses and disputes across many borders, where legal regimes can vary from stable, tested and familiar to those that are only a decade old," added D’Agostino.

He noted that the call for regulation and certainty is “even more critical as the pace of Asian development intensifies through new trade treaties and investment, and massive initiatives such as the Belt and Road."

There were four key themes identified globally:

  • Efficiency: identified as the key priority (65%) for clients choosing a dispute resolution process.
  • Collaboration: 61% of clients want to see more collaboration from their advisors during a dispute.
  • Mediation: near universal recognition that parties should consider processes like mediation before turning to the courts or arbitration.
  • Barriers: 70% of global delegates identified private practice lawyers as the primary obstacles to change.

The full report is available on the Herbert Smith Freehills website.

Highly regarded private wealth lawyer joins Stephenson Harwood
Kevin Lee has joined Stephenson Harwood as a partner in Hong Kong.

The addition to the firm’s global wealth practice is dual qualified in Hong Kong and Canada and brings more than 30 years of experience including private wealth advisory, trusts, tax, philanthropy, corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, general business law, private equity and cross border transactions.

"Many of our clients have strong connections with the UK, the US and Canada and many people in Hong Kong and mainland China have Canadian citizenship," said Stephenson Harwood partner Ian Devereux, head of the firm's private wealth team in Greater China. "Having a lawyer of Kevin's quality – seen by many as the premier Canadian tax and private wealth advisor in Hong Kong – enables us to broaden the support we can provide to our clients."