28 May 2021

Burges Salmon is pleased to announce that it has been named as the winner in the ‘Client Management Innovation’ category at The Legal Week Innovation Awards 2021 for its Distressed Contracts Toolkit.

The first national lockdown in March 2020 was a disorientating experience; and at Burges Salmon, we quickly saw the need to support clients who were facing the prospect of their commercial contracts being unilaterally varied or abandoned (‘distressed’). To address this need, a multi-disciplinary team worked on the idea of an online toolkit to help clients identify, navigate and work through the complex legal issues.

  • The Toolkit the team developed is an intuitive, web-based application accessible from anywhere, and demonstrates the power of our low-code innovation platform utilised by our Innovation team.
  • Designed for in-house legal advisers and senior commercial managers, it enables them to better understand their legal position in relation to distressed contracts.
  • The Toolkit uses a decision tree process, and applied intelligent document automation to produce a concise risk report that outlines the legal position.
  • The toolkit demonstrates the power of combining our legal expertise with technology to create an intelligent solution to support clients.

Developed as a value-added service and offered to over 100 client contacts, the Toolkit helped our clients during that difficult time, and reminded them that we were available to help if needed. It generated highly positive feedback: clients described it as “really user-friendly”, “very impressive, particularly given the speed with which it has been developed” and a “really professional tool”.

What particularly marks out this project was speed. The idea was put in writing on the first day of the national lockdown. Its importance was immediately appreciated; and from then a small core team from the firm’s Dispute Resolution, Innovation, Corporate, Business Development and Design teams collaborated to create the toolkit in just ten days. To put that in perspective – it had taken ten days to produce something that usually takes 12 weeks.

Roger Bull, Burges Salmon’s Managing Partner, says: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been named as the winner of the ‘Client Management Innovation’ category at this year’s Legal Week Innovation Awards.

“Legal innovation is a critical part of the firm’s strategy to successfully deliver exceptional services to our clients. By working with clients to understand their requirements and identifying areas where we can implement innovative legal service delivery solutions, we’ve made great progress in placing innovation front and centre of our offering.

“Moving forwards, our focus is to keep listening to our clients and continue investing in an innovation and digital strategy that enables an enhanced client experience.

“It’s great to be able to announce another high-quality award for the firm, following our success at last year’s British Legal Awards and more recently being named as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women.”

This year’s awards were held as an online virtual event and winners were announced at a ceremony that took place on Friday 28 May.

For more information, please visit The Legal Week Innovation Awards website.



Key contact

Roger Bull

Roger Bull Managing Partner

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