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Travers Smith launches innovative homegrown Tech.Smart training programme for lawyers and business services teams


Travers Smith LLP has today announced the launch of a unique technology and legal technology training programme for its lawyers and business services teams. The Tech.Smart Programme has been developed in-house by the firm's Technology, Knowledge and Learning teams, with input from junior and senior lawyers and members of the Legal Operations team.

The Travers Smith Tech.Smart Programme will equip the firm's lawyers and business services teams with a background in tech concepts, themes and hot topics, enabling them to:

  • collaborate more effectively with tech sector clients
  • empower them to identify opportunities to innovate and partner with the firm's Legal Tech team on ongoing legal technology projects
  • bolster their ability to scan the horizon for the associated risks and rewards when developing legal tech solutions and advising on tech investments for the firm and its clients.

There has been significant growth in tech sector work in recent years, a trend which is set to continue as the global economy looks for tech solutions to climate issues and post-COVID "build-back-better" strategies. In the legal industry, the delivery of legal services is evolving rapidly and today's lawyers need to understand the legal technology tools available to them, be aware of the trending topics in the tech sector and appreciate how their clients are using and investing in technology.

The Tech.Smart Programme is structured on two levels, the Core level, providing an overview on relevant tech topics for everyone, and the Advanced level, giving a deeper dive aimed at specialists in the firm's Tech Sector Group, with a certificate awarded on completion of each of the Core and Advanced levels.

Through a series of online sessions led by the firm's Legal Technology team along with other in-house specialists, the programme will cover topics such as AI and machine learning, cyber security, computer languages and role of the software engineer, and smart contracts. The Programme will also cover key themes such as bias in AI and the value of labelled datasets.

In order to put these topics into context, the Programme has been tailored to focus on Travers Smith experience, using client and legal technology case studies from across the firm (on a confidential basis). This ensures that the Programme covers the knowledge and skills which the firm's clients really need their lawyers to have, and to share, in order to optimise client service.

The team leading the Tech.Smart Programme includes Head of Legal Technology, Shawn Curran, Product Engineer, Karim Nassar, Associate and Legal Engineer, Eleanor Hobson (who works one day a week in the firm's Legal Technology team) and the firm's Head of Knowledge and Learning, Rachel Woodburn.

The Tech.Smart Programme builds on work that has already been done across the firm to bring new legal technology products to market aimed at supporting clients and others in the legal sector with tasks such as email filing, identifying force majeure provisions triggered by Covid-19 and building datasets of labelled contracts for developing AI and machine learning tools.

Travers Smith's Head of Legal Technology, Shawn Curran, commented: "It is becoming increasingly important for lawyers to have an understanding of the nuts and bolts of technology and how to utilise legal technology tools available to them, as well as what clients are using and the challenges they are coming up against. We want to leverage our technology expertise to enhance the firm's client service and to attract and retain legal, business services and technology talent.

Tech.Smart will equip lawyers with the technological expertise to get under the skin of our clients' businesses to deliver cost-effective tailored and commercial advice, and work with my team to better leverage off-the-shelf legal technology or to build more effective legal technology solutions to reduce the burden of easily-automated repetitive or commoditised tasks, so our people can spend that time on more sophisticated work or simply log off from work earlier. Whether it's tech-assisted contract review or automated email filing, it all adds to reducing the daily friction on non-legal tasks."

Rachel Woodburn, Head of Knowledge and Learning at the firm, commented: "We have hugely talented lawyers at Travers Smith. We are also lucky to have an equally talented team of software engineers and other legal tech specialists, many of whom have a legal background. They are already working together on the development of legal tech solutions which we have deployed for the benefit of our clients. We strongly believe that our in-house Tech.Smart programme, along with the Law Foundation Course, another in-house programme of legal training for our tech and other specialists, which we are running in parallel, will result in an even more fruitful partnership in the tech space which is so pivotal to the future of legal services delivery."

Managing Partner, David Patient, commented: "An innovative approach and an understanding of tech are of vital importance to our strategic vision for the firm and will become increasingly important over time. Our clients are well aware of the capabilities of tech products and expect us to deploy those products in delivering our services as efficiently as possible. The launch of our Tech.Smart Programme is therefore very exciting news. The fact that our lawyers and Legal Tech team have worked together to build such a targeted programme is a another example of the collaboration between our teams and will provide a sound basis for continuing to work together on the development and use of tech solutions to facilitate new ways of working."

Key contacts

Read Shawn Curran Profile
Shawn Curran
Read Rachel Woodburn Profile
Rachel Woodburn
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