Big four professional services firm Deloitte is placing technology at the centre of its legal services offering by announcing the recruitment of a high profile chief technology officer. In his newly created role, Bruce Braude will put artificial intelligence, data analytics and automation ‘at the heart’ of the firm’s legal strategy, Deloitte Legal said. It has also hired Laura Bygrave as ‘innovation lead’ and Chris Bull as ‘legal operations architect’.

The big-four firm said it wants to use technology to operate more efficiently, develop solutions for clients and deliver legal services. One such AI system is Deloitte's proprietary 'contract management' tool, dTrax, which assembles first drafts of contracts. Another is MyInsight, a portal that lets clients track their compliance activities. 

Deloitte sees new technology as giving it a competitive edge over traditional law firms. ‘Clients often tell us that the legal services market is currently not meeting their needs in the innovation and technology space,' said Michael Castle, UK managing partner. 'Bruce’s appointment is a critical part of our strategy to lead the market in legal technology and innovation.’

Engineering graduate Braude joins Deloitte from international firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP (BCLP), where he was director of legal operations solutions. He was previously head of strategic client technology at Berwin Leighton Paisner. 

BCLP is itself creating a law-tech service that will provide integrated solutions for in-house lawyers. Meanwhile international firm Eversheds Sutherland has announced plans for a spin-off tech-driven alternative business structure in response to the ‘changing legal landscape’.