Recap: Spotlight on Commercial Event at Addleshaw Goddard's Leeds Office

LegalTech in Leeds







On the Thursday the 20th June 2024, we gathered at Addleshaw Goddard's Leeds office for our LegalTech in Leeds ‘Spotlight on Commercial’ event. The session brought together industry experts and professionals to discuss the interception of commercial law and technology. We’ve compiled the key points discussed and insights shared during the event.  

The session commenced with Georgina Powling, Partner at Addleshaw Goddard giving a warm welcome and overview of the day's agenda. Georgina highlighted the importance of firms and technology working seamlessly together to drive productivity and ultimately elevate the service clients receive. Technology innovation isn’t a new focus for Addleshaw Goddard, they have been driving the evolution of the way they do business for decades, so it’s no surprise they have been quick of the mark to adopt GenAI, building their own in-house tool, AGPT.  

AI has been a prominent topic in recent LegalTech discussions. However, this session shifted its focus to Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and the technological advancements that are enhancing efficiency in this domain.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) - An in-depth look at a high-profile client.

Leading this session Addleshaw’s Legal Operations Consultant Amy Brookbanks and Jodie Tisley Senior Legal Technologist. They explored the role of technology in streamlining the CLM process, using examples from high-profile clients. They emphasised the importance of a well-considered business case for technology adoption, underscoring that successful implementation often determines its effectiveness.

Key Tips for CLM Implementation:

  1. Be clear on challenges and requirements.
  1. Don’t focus just on features, make sure you’re considering scalability, support, and integration.  
  1. Define must-haves and nice-to-haves for vendor assessments.
  1. Set clear metrics and data definitions to measure success.

CLM Tool Disaster: Lessons Learned

Amy discussed a scenario where two CLM tools failed, stressing that implementation and adoption are critical.  Amy advised to “never forget the people element” encouraging the development of a robust marketing and comms plan. She identified change management and business operations as common points of failure and outlined the stages of a successful rollout:

  • Prelaunch: Engage in change management, market the tool internally, and build excitement.
  • Launch: Go all out with promotions, including setting up stalls and drop-in sessions for user education.
  • Post-launch: Continue training, establish FAQs, and set up a feedback system with clear categories (user issues, glitches, functionality issues, and non-feasible requests).

Amy also addressed questions on justifying ROI, emphasising that while tech may not reduce headcount, it significantly changes operational efficiency.

Fireside Chat: Asda's Experience

During the second part of the session, a fireside chat featured Georgina Powling, Partner at Addleshaw Goddard, and Anna Beaumont, Senior Solicitor at ASDA.

Anna recounted her journey with technology in retail and contract management. She highlighted several key areas:

  • ASDA faced operational challenges when they moved to managing commercial contracts internally.
  • By implementing a new CLM system, ASDA was able to measure metrics, track departmental trends, and optimise team performance.
  • Anna emphasised the importance of understanding contract journeys and workflows, learning from past failures, and leveraging webform intake for reporting and self-service proposals.

During the Q&A session, the audience raised several pertinent issues:

  • Demonstrating ROI: The discussion touched on balancing upfront investment with return on investment, emphasising the need to quantify time saved to justify costs.
  • International Vendors: Challenges related to working with vendors in different time zones and ensuring alignment with business needs were addressed.
  • Custom vs. Out-of-the-Box Solutions: There was a debate on finding the right balance between customisation and relying on pre-packaged solutions from vendors.

Key Takeaways

  • Adoption and change management: Ensure thorough user education and engagement throughout the implementation process.
  • Data and metrics: Use clear metrics to track success and optimise processes ahead of implementation.
  • Vendor selection: Carefully evaluate vendor capabilities and roadmaps to ensure alignment with business needs.

The event concluded with a networking session, offering attendees the opportunity to share practical insights into the integration of technology in legal and commercial operations.