Baker McKenzie Launches New Global Innovation Arm ‘Reinvent Law’

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Baker McKenzie recently announced a collaboration with technology company SparkBeyond to mark the launch of its global innovation arm – Reinvent Law.

Over the coming months, Baker McKenzie will apply SparkBeyond’s artificial intelligence-powered problem-solving technology to predict what kind of services clients will require from law firms, the unseen drivers of client demand and how Baker McKenzie might evolve its business to meet those needs.

Thereafter, the parties plan to explore client-facing collaborations across the M&A, anti-trust and IP spaces, among others.

The firm is also planning to apply the platform to its sustainability efforts, in particular supporting good governance and the Rule of Law as part of its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and SparkBeyond’s parallel commitment to making sure its technology has a positive social impact.

SparkBeyond’s platform uses AI to bypass human bias and cognitive bottlenecks in problem-solving, generating millions of hypotheses per minute to brainstorm solutions.

These hypotheses will fuse Baker McKenzie’s knowledge with unique insights gleaned from SparkBeyond’s rich network of external data sources, delivering actionable insights powered by AI ideation.

The Managing Partner at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, Morne van der Merwe, says that in the post-pandemic new normal, lawyers in Africa must be able to provide their clients with high quality, adaptable, legal support within the framework of a new and virtual reality.

“With the uncertain environment expected to remain for some time, law firms have to keep an eye on the horizon, consistently offering new solutions to specific client challenges. Clients are also requesting that we adapt our innovation mindset to their operations, aiding them in pushing forward their own innovation agendas and assisting them to identify new opportunities for growth.

“An essential element of this strategy is having access to a global, forward-thinking approach to innovation, via our Reinvent innovation arm, and the implementation of latest legal tools and thinking. This exciting AI technology will be invaluable in helping us understand our clients’ key drivers in Africa and how best we can support them as they navigate the challenging post-COVID landscape.”

The Baker McKenzie partner and Global Head of R&D, Ben Allgrove, commented, “As the first global law firm, innovation has always been an integral part of Baker McKenzie’s DNA. We are the original legal industry disruptors and throughout our history this legacy has enabled us to thrive. The legal sector is on a new disruption path now and our partnership with SparkBeyond will turbo-charge the change in our business. The collaboration will give us unparalleled insights into the future of legal services and what they could be if only we had a wider perspective. Understanding these unseen drivers and roots causes driving future client demand will allow us to shape the future of our business. Thereafter we plan to quickly explore, with our clients, how we might co-create a range of new value across the legal, tax and compliance functions. We are also excited about partnering with SparkBeyond to deploy our mutual skills to create real positive social impact.”

The collaboration with SparkBeyond marks the launch of Baker McKenzie’s new global innovation arm, Reinvent Law, led by Ben Allgrove.

Building on its founding sponsorship of the Frankfurt legal innovation hub of the same name, the Firm is uniting and aligning all its diverse innovation initiatives worldwide under a single arm, Reinvent.

“Throughout 2020, innovation has helped us successfully navigate the disruption and advise our clients as many things changed in completely unexpected ways,” said Milton Cheng, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie. “Moving forward, we will embed innovation in our overall Firm strategy and the services we deliver to our clients. We are excited at the prospect of collaborations with cutting edge business partners like SparkBeyond. Reinvent will build on our history of innovation and carry it into the future.”

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