Launch of Ashurst Advance creates integrated platform for future innovation

International law firm Ashurst today announces the launch of a new integrated global team - Ashurst Advance - as the next step in its focus on legal service innovation for clients.

Partner Mike Polson and head of strategic projects Mark Higgs have been appointed directors of the new global team, which focuses on these three key areas of innovation in legal service delivery - resources, process and technology.

Clients confirm they are under increasing pressure to deliver operational efficiency and are looking to address this challenge in three ways:

  • A more efficient use of resources
  • Application of process to legal work
  • Better use of technology

With a uniquely integrated approach and focus on these 'new law' services issues, the global capability includes:

  • Resources - The rapidly expanding team of legal analysts, led by Iain Brown in Glasgow, provides a global centre of excellence for recurring work to support the efficient execution of legal matters for clients.
  • Process - A team of specialist legal project managers, led from Sydney by Rachael Moore, ensures that client matters are managed in the most effective way possible, with work undertaken by the right people, at the right time in the right place. The firm will also look strategically at how to build material process efficiency into the approach to legal matters, working in partnerships with experts in this emerging field.
  • Technology - The global legal technologist team, led by Tae Royle from Brisbane, builds automation into Ashurst's legal services, improving client service by saving time, increasing accuracy and providing analytics. The team's unusual combination of legal background and software expertise represents a critical resource for Ashurst and its clients.

Through Ashurst Advance, the firm is also establishing an R&D capability, leading on the capture, evaluation and deployment of new ideas, reflecting the firm's renewed commitment to remaining at the forefront of change in the industry. This platform will provide a focus for Ashurst to continue building innovation into its approach to legal service in the future.

Bruce MacEwen from Adam Smith, Esq. observed:
"Clients continuously re-examine and re-design their business operations, boosting efficiency, and energetically pursue innovation. Ashurst Advance is a great example of applying the same agile approach to delivering its capabilities to clients."

Dr George Beaton, senior co-author of Remaking Law Firms: Why & How, commented: "Ashurst Advance is an early move in what will become a major global trend as BigLaw business model firms adapt to the new normal of providing clients with alternative methods for meeting their needs."

Mike Polson said: "What is really different about Ashurst Advance is the integrated approach to innovation in service delivery, application of new technologies and investment in R&D. This combination will bring significant advantage to clients by ensuring that work of the highest quality is delivered by the right people, supported by cutting edge technologies and robust process. We believe that we are the first firm to create such a clear, global platform to address the three areas that are current strategic imperatives for clients. Ashurst Advance has significant scope for future development and we expect it to play a key role in the future success of our business."

Mark Higgs commented: "Embedding an R&D capability is an essential development for the firm and its clients. R&D is at the core of successful businesses in many other sectors but to date in legal it has rarely been given the focus it deserves. We have to keep evolving our approach to meet and guide client needs and the commitment to this area is a clear signal of Ashurst's intention to take a lead on service innovation. A key priority has been aligning ourselves with the very latest developments in LegalTech, which is fast becoming an industry in its own right, following on from the explosion in FinTech since 2008."

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