Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has officially opened its first Freshfields Lab in Berlin. The Firm is working collaboratively with clients in the space to develop technology-based solutions that tackle the challenges and opportunities stemming from digitization across the legal sector and clients’ own industry sectors.
Based in Berlin’s community of innovators known as the Factory Berlin, this is the first location for the Firm’s global Lab offering. Other locations are planned. The firm says today’s mass claims litigation, global investigations, cyber risk, and complex competition issues mean that clients need a combination of sophisticated legal advice and bespoke technology-based solutions. At the Lab, Freshfields is combining its legal advice and technological expertise to improve its approach to client experience. Commenting on the launch of the Freshfields Lab, Matthias Koch, partner and head of Freshfields’ Digital Advisory Board, said “The Freshfields Lab is a vital part of our response to the challenges presented by a fast-moving digital landscape, ensuring that we can continue to support our clients and transform our own business in the face of digitization. Legal Tech and digitization sit at the heart of our client offering. The Lab will further strengthen the Firm’s expertise in both areas, and will enhance the processes adopted to develop ideas and products.”
Initial client projects, focused on the development of bespoke technology-based products that can deliver better outcomes on large and complex matters, are underway at the Freshfields Lab. The activities in the Lab are led by multidisciplinary teams, including Freshfields lawyers, client representatives in legal and IT roles, as well as external digital experts, software providers and academics. A number of Freshfields’ lawyers split their time between working on Lab projects and traditional client work, thus embedding the Lab approach across the Firm. The Lab is led by Freshfields counsel Gerrit Beckhaus and Felix Netzer as well as chief legal innovation officer Isabel Parker. Ms Parker said the Lab’s location “ensures that our innovation activities are embedded in a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem. It allows us to learn new skills from industries beyond legal services, and to bring our own legal expertise to the community.” Mr Netzer added, “Berlin is the epicentre of the European start-up scene.”