Law firms seeking panel work with Barclays will have to collaborate on a shared digital platform under the banking giant’s plan to transform its legal function. Six ‘early adopter’ firms are already on the LegalEye system, which is claimed to enable in-house teams and firms to track and manage their interactions and improve knowledge sharing.

Paul Branscombe, legal change director at Barclays, said the technology will enable the bank to standardise the way it works with panel firms in ‘a more joined-up legal ecosystem’. For example, the platform will require firms tendering for work to apply in a standard way, allowing the bank to ‘compare apples to apples’, Branscombe said. This will improve performance and make legal costs more transparent, he said.


Barclays aims to standardise the way it works with panel firms

The system’s developer claims that LegalEye could save in-house teams and law firms 40-60% of the time they spend managing tenders.

Branscombe conceded that the move effectively makes adoption of the platform – from Australian lawtech supplier LawAdvisor – mandatory. However he said he had met no resistance. He expects to have all the bank’s main panel on the platform by the end of March: ‘It makes life so much easier I’d be surprised if people didn’t want to be part of it.’

LawAdvisor, founded in Melbourne in 2015, relocated to London last year to take advantage of what founder Brennan Ong says is a fast-growing market. The company says it is working with international firms including Bird & Bird, Simmons & Simmons, Allen & Overy, Paul Hastings and Ashurst as well as Barclays.  

Branscombe added: ‘We believe we are leading in our approach to working with outside counsel and we are committed to continuing to improve and develop ever more collaborative and efficient ways to work together. Our work with LawAdvisor on LegalEye is an exciting leap forward for us and our law firms that creates efficiencies for us all and streamlines the way we work. Technology is driving significant transformation in all areas of the legal industry and Barclays are proud to be continuing to drive this innovation.’

LawAdvisor is far from the only lawtech business with eyes on the panel-management space. UK startup Apperio offers a system which displays data on legal activity on a continuously updated dashboard, allowing in-house teams to monitor legal spend. Among its users is Network Rail, which already requires its firms to share information via the system.