Shearman & Sterling Launches Legal Operations Offering

Global law firm Shearman & Sterling announced the launch of Legal Operations by Shearman, a new offering designed to meet the evolving people, process and technology needs of in-house law departments. The new offering is focused on embedding tools, techniques and behaviors as part of the firm’s commitment to finding innovative and efficient legal solutions and service delivery for its clients’ business needs.

Legal Operations by Shearman will initially offer services in five key areas:

  • Knowledge Management: Supporting improved capture of tacit and explicit knowledge.
  • Process Improvement: Identifying processes in need of improvement and supporting the design of new processes.
  • Legal Technology: Identifying the most relevant technologies to support efficient ways of working.
  • Business Intelligence: Supporting law departments in making the most of the data at their disposal, including through data visualization and analysis.
  • Training & Development: Supporting the continuing legal operations training needs of our clients’ teams.

Legal Operations by Shearman is led by Anthony Widdop, Global Director of Legal Operations, alongside Meredith Williams-Range, Chief Knowledge & Client Value Officer, and Lawrence Baxter, Chief Technology Officer.

“Our success is built on our clients’ success. We are committed to forging long-term relationships with our clients, providing them with genuine insight and practical advice, and supporting them as they navigate the challenges of our global economy. Our new Legal Operations by Shearman offering builds on our distinguished history, and supports our clients in this dynamic and growing area,” said David Beveridge, Senior Partner at Shearman & Sterling.

In 2018, the firm’s Client Value Team was formed. Led by Meredith Williams-Range, the newly formed team was tasked with increasing efficiency and client value through improving access to data and information, streamlining process and technology. The team brought together individuals from multiple disciplines around the globe and focused on connecting the firm’s lawyers with the right people with the right data information at the point in time when action needed to be taken.

Meredith Williams-Range said: “Over the last few years, the team has continued to mature and refine its capabilities and service offerings. Our award-winning data management program, Shearman Analytics, is a great example of that. By integrating data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence into everything we do, we can deliver better results than ever before. As a firm we are focused on enhancing our data and technology, increasing efficiency, profitability and maximizing the service we offer our clients. The key to our success in this space is efficiently integrating people, processes and technology.

Anthony Widdop added: “Technology and innovation have changed the landscape for delivering legal services, and we are always exploring new ways to increase value and efficiencies for our clients. We had observed that in-house law departments face similar challenges to our lawyers and identified alignment between the strongest areas of need from our clients and our own capabilities, to support the development of a legal operations offering. Our client conversations indicated that many legal operations departments are still in the early stages of development, while our teams have been supporting the business needs of lawyers for a generation.”

In addition to the five services listed, the new offering also provides clients with access to tools and methodologies to help accelerate change and innovation. For example, the flagship offering is called Shearman Acceler8, and together with Shearman subject-matter-experts, this enables clients to reach decisions in days that would normally take months. Example use cases include improving a complex existing process, identifying opportunities to apply technology to increase operational efficiencies and developing a multi-year legal operations strategy.

The offering also includes access to legal operations specialists via Legal Operations In Your Pocket, a customized subscription offering that negates the need to onboard legal operations specialists for smaller law departments or those with ad-hoc support needs.

Commenting, Lawrence Baxter, said: “In 2021, members of our teams started to bring their capabilities directly to bear with external clients. In an environment where many corporate law departments are developing their own legal operations teams, there were significant areas of common focus. While law firms don’t have all the answers, they do have experience of what has and has not worked, which can be very valuable to newly formed legal operations teams.”