Founded over 100 years ago, Withers advises clients from across the world including in some of the most economically vibrant jurisdictions like the US, Europe and APAC. Its 18 offices generate revenues of over $220m and represents clients whose combined value is far in excess of $170bn.
Withers is regarded as a trusted legal advisor to its clients helping them navigate through complex legal needs, in good times and bad
Maintaining standards, lowering risk
Withers monitors the market, technologies and suppliers as part of its regular business processes to see which solutions can support their business goals without putting client experience or operational effectiveness at risk.
With their ambition of supporting a continuous drive to deliver higher quality services to clients, Withers identified the potential benefits of Lexis Draft.
Their goals were clear: reduce the kind of mistakes that would be picked up through proofreading, typing errors for example, and improve their own ability to expedite legal accuracy. Overall Withers wanted to improve the effectiveness of their proofreading and document creation discipline.
“We wanted a more cost‐effective alternative to document checking than repetitive proofreading, given the costs of that to the client.”
Adoption is as important as deployment
Withers wanted to ensure that technology updates had minimal negative impact on operational performance. To this end it wanted extensive sandbox testing. Withers took comfort from LexisNexis’ proven track record of implementation in complex and diverse operating environments. Withers worked with LexisNexis’ technical teams to make sure that the technology and operational implementation did not adversely affect the way it wanted to work. LexisNexis’ responsive and expert approach focussed on understanding Withers’ distinctive operational systems and providing Withers with comfort and confidence that the deployment would be smooth and effective and that the real benefit from their investment would materialise if adoption was simple and quickly became part of business as usual.
“The journey to making this type of technology mainstream is inevitable. I can see this type of tool becoming part of everyday life for lawyers. But easy adoption is the key to moving beyond the risk or hesitation that ‘early adoption’ normally creates.”
The main value for Withers was in the reduction of time lost to mundane, but important proofreading. Reducing that time lowered the potential cost impact to clients, increased the amount of productive time available to lawyers to focus on client issues, and improved margins.
Staff adoption was key and, working with LexisNexis, Withers’ grew their understanding of usage and what steps to take to increase it. Withers took a pragmatic view of adoption — staff would use it if they saw value in it. Withers took a very proactive approach to their adoption efforts, working through those practice areas with high document transaction volumes.
“We’re glad that Withers has decided to invest in Lexis Draft, as a way of improving their drafting quality and efficiency. We know that document creation is one of the cornerstones of a lawyer’s working life and often it’s the most time consuming. The reputational risk caused by mistakes is considerable. We’ve worked hard to really understand the drafting process and develop ways to safely expedite it, mitigate risk and reduce complexity.”
Using technology needs to be BAU
Withers lawyers and legal support staff wanted something more effective than the lacklustre and time consuming “find and replace” tool in Word and other document proofreading or automation. The task of correcting formatting errors like missing brackets and making sure definitions and citations were correct was highly time consuming when just relying on the standard Word tools. Withers’ implementation of Lexis Draft provided an “easy to use” tool that loaded quickly and highlighted potential issues in a single convenient “risk dashboard”. More importantly, Lexis Draft also flagged the citation, definitions and referencing risk as well. The rapid load time and risk dashboard combined with the comprehensive integration with intelligent legal authorities, quickly made Lexis Draft the “go to” proofreading tool for many lawyers and support staff, even for short documents.
“Looking for errors, like formatting, in Word alone was time consuming and it still wouldn’t pick up numbering mistakes without looking at every line item. Lexis Draft picked up all formatting, and numbering mistakes as well as the more serious ones and took me right to them.”
Withers took a confident “self‐service” approach to Lexis Draft, allowing staff to engage with the intuitive tool at their own pace.
For some Lexis Draft became like an “on demand” extra set of expert eyes.
“I had a number of very late nights working remotely on important documents running into the early hours. It was invaluable being able to trust and run Lexis Draft over the documents to focus the proofreading process before sending them out.” Ben Simpson, Special Counsel, Corporate team said.
“It was invaluable being able to trust and run Lexis Draft over the documents to focus the proofreading process before sending them out.”
The integration between Lexis Draft, Lexis®Library and Lexis®PSL was a key component in helping Withers staff redirect their time from mundane repetitive drafting tasks to the more “value add” services that their clients wanted. Most importantly they were confident that they could redirect their time without compromising on quality or content.
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