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DWF announces growth and development plans for document automation service

Legal business DWF has announced further investment in its award-winning document automation service, dwf draft, with the appointment of Jonathan Badrock from Pinsent Masons who joins as the firm’s new Automation and Technology Solutions Manager.

Jonathan will lead the next phase of development for dwf draft, particularly focusing on the growing the offering across the firm’s commercial services teams and collaborating with specialists in the firm’s process improvement, project management and MI teams to design and build new services and solutions for the benefit of the firm’s people and clients.

Jonathan is a qualified lawyer with experience in corporate, commercial litigation and real estate investment and litigation work and has significant experience as a legal knowledge engineer focusing on product development, with a particular focus on document automation. DWF has been widely recognised for its innovative approach to developing and rolling-out dwf draft through its innovative people engagement process called ‘lawyer whispering’, whereby specialists with a hybrid mix of legal, consultancy and technology skills work alongside the firm’s fee earners to co-design automation solutions for legal documents. This process has seen DWF working in collaboration with document automation and workflow specialists at BamLegal, which has led to the firm automating more legal documents in the first 12 months since implementation than any other UK legal firm following extensive take-up of the service across the firm’s legal teams. BamLegal will continue to support DWF in the next phase of development under Jonathan’s leadership, whose combined legal and technology experience will allow the firm to develop and maintain its unique collaborative development approach.

The firm also intends to further enhance its client-facing services by developing new ways to use document automation capability to create value-added products for clients. DWF has previously piloted bespoke versions of the system with clients, the first law firm to do so, enabling clients to benefit from the efficiency and cost-benefits via a ‘self-service’ approach rather than needing to make a large capital investment in developing the expertise and systems in-house.

Jonathan Badrock comments: “DWF is a leader in legal innovation and the speed at which automation has been adopted across the firm and the firm’s method of involving its people directly in the early stages of development is testament to the firm’s forward-thinking approach. This next phase is about driving further capabilities across the firm and expanding the offering into other teams across the business, ensuring that we’re focusing on continuous improvement, and looking for new ways to use document automation particularly in combination with other technologies and methodologies. We will then start to look at analysing the data used to generate documents to help advise our lawyers and their clients, which can add a great deal of value in terms of strengthening client relationships and increasing efficiencies across the business.”

Andrew Chamberlain, head of DWF’s service delivery executive, comments: “Our approach to legal development is about making sure our solutions are not just technologically superior but deliver genuine results for the end-user, whether that’s an improvement in cost, efficiency or risk management. We identified that lawyer engagement has traditionally been an obstacle to implementing tech products, so by bringing in specialists such as Jonathan who have a hybrid mix of legal, project management and product development experience we’ve been able to overcome these obstacles and achieve a remarkably fast and enthusiastic take-up of services such as contract-writing and document automation. We’ve spent 12 months refining the offering, bedding it in and piloting bespoke versions with clients, and now with Jonathan’s expertise we’re focused on the next phase of growth and development as part of our wider commitment to doing things differently.”

DWF’s success with document automation and lawyer whispering was highly commended for innovation in culture, brand and strategy in the 2016 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report, which also named DWF as one of Europe’s Top 50 most innovative law firms.

Andrew Chamberlain

Partner - Head of Employment & Chair of the SDE

I am a Partner, the National Head of the Employment Team and the Chair of the Service Delivery Executive (SDE), which is focused on building better solutions for clients.