The new LOD SYKE partnership was created to help you build a future-fit legal team through digital transformation and new operating models. Adding SYKE’s technology implementation to LODs flexible resourcing and operational and tech consulting allows us to meet your needs end-to-end.
To understand how this will work and the benefits you can expect, we delved further into the detail with two people who will be leading the charge, Stephanie Stephenson, Service Design Lead at LOD, and Lewis Bretts, COO and Chief Legal Engineer at SYKE.
LOD: Can you tell us a little about how your career has led to this conversation today?
Lewis: As a practising lawyer, I enjoyed the challenge that came with making the complex seem straightforward. However, I increasingly found myself wanting to wind the clock back to simplify and transform the underlying processes. I felt lawyers (particularly corporate legal teams) spent too much time doing boring, unfulfilling work which didn’t make the best use of their skills and training. I consistently found myself thinking: surely there’s a better way of carrying out this task? - and that set me on a journey which culminated in me joining SYKE.
I now get to help others find better ways to deliver legal services every day. Concepts like AI, Contract Lifecycle Management and Digital Matter Management can sometimes seem arid or abstract, but when implemented correctly they can make a real difference to people’s working lives. By reducing risk and simplifying processes we’re able to help lawyers go home earlier, and senior managers sleep easier; that might sound overly romantic, but it’s very real to me and it’s the reason I get up every morning.
Stephanie: I started out as a lawyer, and found myself frustrated at how distant I felt from the client and how inefficient the processes seemed to be. I was spending an awful lot of time doing work that wasn’t particularly legal (memorably spending one evening changing the pronouns in an employment contract from the masculine to the feminine). As Lewis says, it felt like there must be a better way.
Since joining LOD I’ve focussed on helping in-house teams challenge and remove some of the inefficiencies that keep them at their desks longer and prevent them from focussing on more meaningful strategic priorities. We’ve done things like take BAU commercial contracting off their hands so that they can focus on strategic projects, and helped remove common inefficiencies like multiple sign-offs before signature. Ultimately, I love my job because I get to work with people both inside and outside LOD who see the opportunity to improve how legal work gets delivered, which in turn inspires me.
LOD: How will your respective LOD and SYKE experiences influence the partnership?
Stephanie: Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really exciting projects for clients, and it feels like COVID-19 has increased clients’ willingness to embrace change and improve their ways of working. It's often been the case that these opportunities have come from our Managed Services clients, for example I’m currently project managing the design of a tool to automate first drafts of NDAs.
At the core of our Managed Services are excellent lawyers supported by a delivery team of great people with excellent data management skills. We’ve always thought about our work as part of a broader process within the client, and once we fine-tune that process the natural next step is to consider how we can layer in technology to maximise their gains. To this end we’ve redesigned the matter management software we use, and we are in the process of trialling a tool to automate parts of contract review. It’s going to be really exciting working with SKYE to enhance our Managed Services and guide clients through digital transformation with the best technology available.
Lewis: I’m really proud of all the work we’ve done at SYKE. Over the past few years, we’ve automated hundreds of documents in a huge range of languages, saved thousands of hours, and delivered tools and platforms which are used by thousands of users all over the world.
That being said, I really get excited when we’re able to use the data generated and captured by those platforms to drive further improvements and efficiencies. Traditionally, law and legal operations have been guided by unstructured information and qualitative feedback; through technology we can give structure to that information and quantify that feedback. The data can then be used to produce meaningful, continuously updated reporting which delivers further efficiency and value. Working with LOD means that we can use this approach to answer a wider variety of client challenges.
LOD: Can you explain how you will work together?
Stephanie: Working with SYKE allows us to capitalise and build on the technology we already use in our Managed Services and on the legal operations support we provide to our clients. I often find that clients are paralysed by indecision around technology, because there is so much out there with a lot of conflicting information about what it can actually do. We firmly believe that technology is not a panacea, and you’ve got to have the right people following a robust process first. However, there’s no doubt that the right technology can offer real gains in terms of time and cost. Together with SYKE, we’ll be helping more clients identify the right product for their specific needs and implementing it to get ROI as quickly as possible.
Lewis: At SYKE, we always aim to work in partnership with our clients; understanding their problems and (hopefully!) solving them. This is why I am so excited about working with LOD, who have a similarly integrated approach. I’m eager to learn from secondee lawyers who’ve encountered challenges which could be solved through the use of technology. And in turn I’m keen to help them further support their clients by giving them ready access to our market knowledge. Together we can amplify LOD’s Managed Services proposition to deliver highly efficient solutions combining the best of people, process, and technology.
Stephanie Stevenson is Service Design Lead at LOD, where she provides operational and technology consulting to clients. She will take a leading role in bringing the partnership with SYKE to clients and getting the best out of both organisations.
Lewis Bretts is COO and Chief Legal Engineer at SYKE, where he is responsible for overseeing the successful delivery of its engagements. Lewis will work alongside Alistair Maiden, CEO, to lead and develop the LOD SYKE partnership.
To find out more about the partnership, click here.
To read our press release and the wider coverage to date, click here.
To find out more about SYKE, click here.