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BigLaw Firm Launches In-House Tech Lab

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sometimes, including these tech times, you just have to do it yourself.

That's about what Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe has decided with its internal technology incubator, "Orrick Labs." The developers are building custom solutions for the law firm.

"Clients worldwide are asking us how we are addressing innovation and value, and Orrick Labs is a key part of the answer," said Orrick chairman Mitch Zuklie. "With a dedicated team collaborating with our lawyers, our goal is to innovate where optimal solutions are not available in the market."

In House Solutions

Legal tech is an industry unto itself, but Orrick will build programs for itself. Jackson Radcliffe, Orrick Labs' technology architect, said his team can create solutions that no law firm has had before.

For example, the lab team created a dashboard portal that enables the firm and clients to share "comprehensive corporate legal information" and to collaborate on projects. The dashboard is already working for more than 800 of the firm 's tech clients around the world.

Bloomberg reported that Orrick joins a "growing number of law firms seeking to shake off the boilerplate reputation of law firms as stale organizations that cling to outmoded and inefficient work methods."

Zuklie, who recruited the technology team, said they are already working on the next project. "I think we're at a tipping point," he said. "We're an industry that has lagged behind."

"A Tipping Point"

Zuklie said advancements in technology, client demands, a war for talent, artificial intelligence, and disaggregation are creating an environment for law firms to innovate. Other firms have invested in developing their own technologies, including Dentons and Littler.

Joe Patrice, writing for Above the Law, praised the innovation movement. "Why wait for a legal tech solution when you can build it yourself?" he asked.

Meanwhile, legal tech veteran Dennis Kennedy says, most law firms are reluctant to try any novel and creative technology. Law firms need at least a tech committee to keep up with technology for the firm.

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