Embracing innovation

September 3, 2020

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) continues to embrace and invest in innovation in order to support its clients’ needs, which continue to change, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. WBD’s head of Newcastle and partner Nigel Emmerson – who heads the firm’s Innovation Group – explains more

At WBD, we’re focused on identifying potential innovation opportunities and coordinating initiatives and projects across the firm. In recent years, we have launched a number of new services and invested in technology that bring together innovative technology and commercial services that complement our existing legal advice.

E-signatures to keep transactions moving

When lockdown took effect, several challenges arose in relation to the signature of legal agreements and the management of transactions. WBD had recognised the potential for e-signature platforms to transform how legal documents can be executed well before the pandemic, becoming an early adopter in the legal sector. We were therefore in a strong position when the use of this technology became a necessity rather than an innovative option.

As an early adopter of DocuSign, a prominent platform in the legal sector, we were able to use the technology with confidence and ensure business could go on as usual whilst our lawyers continued working from home.

Over the past few months, the firm has increased the use of DocuSign with more than 600 registered users and thousands of legal documents have already been created, circulated and signed using this platform.

This has been incredibly important for many of our teams, particularly those working on real estate and corporate transactions. The expectation is the use of e-signatures will continue and become the norm.

Our early adoption ensures we remain ahead of the curve to best support our clients.

WBD Advance to apply innovative solutions from a different perspective

WBD Advance is a service that pulls together all of our key technology and business services, which are becoming increasingly essential to clients alongside traditional legal advice. These services include support for high volume projects.

WBD Advance delivers these services through a multi-disciplinary team of more than 100 people focused on developing new ways of working for clients which include lawyers, project managers, technologists, data analysts, knowledge managers and operations professionals.

“Our early adoption [of e-signatures] ensures we remain ahead of the curve supporting our clients”

WBD Accelerate to support fast-growing businesses

WBD Accelerate is designed for fast-growing SMEs and provides a package of streamlined services, created to help and support the legal foundations of the business in a user friendly way. WBD Accelerate allows access to a number of standard legal documents that SMEs are able to access through an online portal, and also have access to a range of legal experts experienced in supporting businesses at a similar stage in their life cycle.

In the North East, we’ve also invested in supporting innovation through support of industry bodies such as Dynamo and our involvement in Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival.

Driven by our Transatlantic Lawyer Network, an initiative to strengthen relationships between the US and UK and promote collaboration at all levels across the firm, the festival will see us hosting a design sprint where we’ll explore how businesses can ensure their staff are incentivised to embed and embrace innovation in everything they do.

WBD is a transatlantic law firm operating in 27 key locations across the UK and US, with the largest office based in the North East. We have deep roots in the region and are committed to using our local, national and international reach and expertise to benefit the local area.

Womble Bond Dickinson
www.womblebonddickinson.com/uk
@WBD_UK

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