Legal Trends 2020

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#InnovationMonth: Fast-developing world of innovation in law

Although not typically known as an innovative sector, the legal industry is rapidly embracing technology and the advances and ease of access it can offer.
© phartisan –
This Innovation Month, we have a look at some of the new innovations on offer...

Dawn Raid App

Antitrust probes and investigations into collusion are becoming more and more common as competition commissions crack down on anti-competitive behaviour. In April this year, Baker McKenzie launched its Dawn Raid mobile app, which offers clients a step-by-step guide to their rights and obligations should they be subject to a sudden, unexpected inspection.

The app is available in 44 countries and provides answers to questions based on specific country law such as “Can inspectors demand passwords to allow IT access?” and “Can employees leave the building with their laptops?”

Other features include:
  • Coverage of 44 key jurisdictions covering both local administrative and criminal laws
  • Automatic click-through to the correct country checklist with step-by-step practical guidance on what to do and what not to do for civil and criminal antitrust raids
  • Ability to contact a local Baker McKenzie antitrust specialist directly with one tap
  • Camera accessibility so users can take and send photos of the dawn raid warrant and other key documents so Baker McKenzie can provide immediate legal support
Nick Altini, partner in the Antitrust and Competition Practice in Johannesburg, notes, “The advent of dawn raids in African countries, outside of South Africa, together with the regularity of raids in South Africa makes it imperative that businesses have procedures in place in the event of a raid on their premises. While there is no substitute for having received training on how to deal with a raid and having a procedure in place, this app will take businesses through the procedure to follow during this disruptive process, including facilitating instant access to our legal team. In addition, for multinationals who might be experiencing raids in several countries simultaneously, the app will help co-ordinate the process by providing the different legal information and guidance in various jurisdictions.”

Global head of Baker McKenzie's Antitrust and Competition group Fiona Carlin said, “Innovation is critical to our clients' success, and they look for that same commitment to innovation in their law firms. Harnessing technology to deliver novel practical global solutions allows us to better serve our clients in a fast-changing world. The Global Antitrust Dawn Raid App is a very tangible example of innovation in action, and is leading the way in the legal industry in terms of its scope and user friendliness."

At the recent African Legal Awards, Baker McKenzie was highly commended in the Innovation category for the app, which is available on IoS and Android.

African Legal Awards for Innovation

East African law firm, Anjarwalla & Khanna won the Innovation Award (law firm) at the 2017 African Legal Awards for the automation and process improvement project that the company has implemented over the past year.

Exigent was awarded first prize in the in-house project Innovation Award category for the Optimization Project it developed with its client, Anglo American. The project helped Anglo American Group Legal South Africa team achieve a cost savings of 50% across the whole department and improve their overall turnaround time to the business from 10 to three days.

With the use of Exigent’s outsourced support, the in-house team was able to reduce its reliance on external/panel firms and the legal department could extract better value from remaining providers.

Through appropriate resourcing, the allocation of tasks to the Exigent team and effective project management, the in-house legal team can now focus on their core areas of expertise and strategic business objectives. Duplicate work has been reduced by Exigent's standardization of contract templates, thereby improving consistency of output and productivity.

Said David Holme, CEO of Exigent, “GCs can really change the narrative around legal departments as a key business function – it’s possible to deliver measurable results to the broader business by having the courage to believe that the legal team can be an agent of positive change."

HiiL Innovating Justice Challenge

Last month, seven Southern Africans were chosen as semi-finalists of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) Innovating Justice Challenge.

Seven Southern Africans in Innovating Justice Challenge in semi-finals

Seven entrepreneurs and innovators from South Africa and Zimbabwe have been selected to take part in the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) regional semi-finals of its annual Innovating Justice Challenge...

28 Aug 2017

In 2016, South Africa's Legal Legends - Africa's first e-commerce website offering legal services for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses at fixed upfront prices - was selected as one of the 10 winners of the HiiL Innovating Justice Award.

Legal Legends offers access to a range of services to new businesses, including company registrations, intellectual property registrations, and the drafting of company incorporation documents and agreements, etc.

Service orders made through the platform are then distributed among a panel of selected freelance lawyers for completion. Total costs for the service are quoted upfront, and are not tallied on uncertain hourly rates, so users know what to expect and can budget accordingly.
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