Birketts is a full service, UK Top 50 law firm. With a heritage spanning 160 years, it has more than 500 lawyers and legal professionals based in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, London, Norwich and Sevenoaks.
“There are clear benefits of document automation versus manual drafting. For us, the main one is the fact that it frees up fee earners’ time to focus on the bespoke and complex parts of an agreement. Fundamentally, we want to get to the first draft across as soon as possible."
Head of Knowledge Management, Birketts
For Birketts, there were two main drivers behind the move towards automating the drafting process. Firstly, they knew it would provide them with the opportunity to enhance drafting consistency across the firm while reducing room for error, and secondly it would improve their overall efficiency by making processes more streamlined.
Marcos Toffanello, Head of Knowledge Management at Birketts explained:
“Automation wasn’t a hugely difficult sell at Birketts. Convincing my colleagues that we should move away from manual drafting was relatively easy."
“We interviewed several players in the market and found that Clarilis’ proposition appealed to us as a business that doesn’t have endless resource in our legal support function. Many of the other providers we looked at were toolkits that you had to take away and build yourself. So for us the Clarilis managed service approach was refreshing as we knew that we didn’t have the resources in house in terms of our PSLs and their time nor the automation skills.”
“Birketts had some experience of using off the shelf automation software previously but many users had found the solution to be cumbersome with hundreds of questions to answer which had no relevance and made it a slow and painful process, so much so that many of our lawyers decided it was quicker to print out the document and fill it in manually rather than answer all the questions which totally defeated the object of the exercise!”
Birketts have implemented the Clarilis platform in their real estate and employment departments.
“There are clear benefits of document automation versus manual drafting. For us, the main one is the fact that it frees up fee earners’ time to focus on the bespoke and complex parts of an agreement. Fundamentally, we want to get to the first draft across as soon as possible.
“Using the Clarilis platform allows us to quickly get a good first draft which is 80% there and allows our lawyers to focus on adding value and what goes into the other 20% of the document.
“Our lawyers in real estate are now able to produce a good first draft of a lease in significantly less time than they did working the traditional way.
“Drafting manually is fairly labour intensive and light on the value add. Some of the effort goes into formatting, if you delete a clause, the numbers all shift and this means that references to what was clause 15 now need to say 14, and you have to update the entire suite of documents! Automation doesn’t worry about that, which is a huge time saver!
“To sum up, working with the Clarilis team has been a positive experience and I’ve found the Clarilis team to be very responsive. Our lawyers engage directly with the Clarilis platform and it is embedded in our KM system. The system is very intuitive so we’ve found that users have taken to it easily and there’s minimal training required.”