News & Analysis

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills launches Innovation 10 program for staff projects

- February 18, 2019 2 MIN READ
Herbert Smith Freehills

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has launched Innovation 10, a program allowing staff to spend up to 10 days per year working on innovation projects.

According to the firm, the program will support staff to work on projects that find innovative solutions to the challenges facing the organisation and its clients, for example building legal apps, working on document automation and artificial intelligence tools, or working on the firm’s blockchain and smart legal contracts project.

Mark Rigotti, CEO, said, “Innovation 10 will accelerate our global strategy for innovation and technology.  We are empowering our people to increase the momentum behind projects, creating opportunities to connect with our clients, and further strengthen and differentiate the services that we offer.”

Andrew Pike, regional managing partner for Australia and initiative sponsor, added, “Innovation 10 will allow all our people to play an active role in transforming our business. They’ll be able to collaborate, share ideas, and broaden their skill set while creating lasting benefits for our clients and the firm.”

Herbert Smith Freehills last August teamed up with IBM and the CSIRO’s Data61 to develop the Australian National Blockchain (ANB), a large-scale, publicly available blockchain solution designed for Australian legal compliance.

The ANB will enable organisations to digitally manage the lifecycle of a contract, from negotiation to signing and onwards over the term of the agreement, with transparency and permissioned-based access for parties in the network.

The three organisations are testing the solution as a pilot project using IBM Blockchain, with the group inviting regulators, banks, law firms, and other businesses to take part.  

Meanwhile, legal firm Lander & Rogers announced last week that it has partnered with Melbourne coworking community YBF Ventures to open a LawTech Hub.

The space will be open to the firm’s staff and clients, and startups, with startups to be accepted for set periods through two intakes a year.

With applications for the first 2019 intake to open next week, the hub is looking for startups working in the areas of blockchain, artificial intelligence, smart contracts, predictive analytics, automation and robotics, smart connectivity platforms, and those working on legal sector issues requiring an innovative tech solution.

Beyond this, startups must have a solution that is in market or that has gone through an accelerator or incubator program, have either secured seed funding or raised a Series A round.

Startups, in turn, will receive, among other things, access to industry mentors, the opportunity to run trials and proofs of concept with Lander & Rogers and its clients, and introductions to the firm’s wider network.

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