On the 16th of September 2019, eagle lsp was founded. Now, barely eighteen months later, the company has over 50 employees, two DAX-30 clients and three Business Units. This growth clearly shows the hunger for cost efficiency and high quality in legal services. Automating certain legal processes, especially those that cost a large amount of time and have a repetitive nature is a huge driver for growth at eagle lsp.
eagle lsp has three cofounders, one of whom is Jan Wildhirth. He talks about how three friends from law school went their separate ways, only to decide to start their own company together a few years later. Friends who saw the big potential of technology in the legal sphere. They also realized, however, that even though people at law firms are great lawyers, they are not necessarily familiar with technology. ‘Just to give you one explanation for this (and there are many more): the state exam for lawyers is still done in pencil.’
Not another law firm, but a legal service provider
‘We didn’t want to set up yet another law firm, but really make an impact with technology by automating legal processes. Of course, we can’t automate highly complicated legal cases for which arguments need to be built. We can’t automate going to court. But we can automate a lot of demanding, standard legal work. That’s why we call ourselves a legal service provider (lsp) that works for law firms, inhouse legal departments and public authorities.’
The first service eagle lsp addressed was a fairly new and growing legal challenge: mass litigation. ‘We have a lot of startups in Germany that help the consumer to file claims. This has led to a massive increase in lawsuits. However, unlike in the United States, these claims are individual lawsuits. It easily amounts to thousands of individual cases. We help our clients and their legal counsel to defend against such claims by streamlining the process and automating as much as possible. This, in combination with our team of well-trained legal services managers, makes handling these cases drastically more efficient.’
Following mass litigation, eagle adapted its concepts and capabilities to reliably serve clients in two additional areas: eDiscovery and legal service center outsourcing. ‘In all fields, eagle enables its clients to manage large numbers of cases and huge amounts of data, cost efficient and at the highest quality. The key value eagle brings to its clients is cost efficiency as a result. However, there is a lot more to it: eagle tries to enable digitization and a mindset change to foster an agile, tech-savvy environment at their clients. Access to tech and maximum leverage of tech remain two tasks in the end.’
Connecting numerous systems without APIs
In order to automate legal processes, Wildhirth and his colleagues soon realized that they needed to connect with a lot of systems in order to get the right information. In complex legal projects numerous players can be involved. And everyone works with a different system, often without an open API for integration. ‘Channeling all the information was a challenge and that’s when we started looking for a technology to help us. We chose Robotic Process Automation (RPA) of UiPath.’
It is no coincidence that eagle lsp found the right solution for the job. Wildhirth: ‘Our tech team scouts technologies. They look at what’s new in the market, at the current trends, and then we build up our own forward-looking database. We classify the solutions based on our own model and that helps us make an informed decision.’ Also, for RPA, eagle lsp inventoried interesting solutions.
Three criteria for choosing external or internal development
However, the company doesn’t always choose to use external software. Like the SQL-databases which are built by eagle lsp itself on an open-source platform and other solutions for individual tasks. ‘We have three criteria on which we base our decision to use external software or build something ourselves. The first one is: which solution can be rolled out the fastest? The second: which will have a higher reliability and quality? And the third: what is the most cost-efficient?’
‘But when we looked at RPA, we knew we were definitely not going to build it ourselves,’ says Wildhirth. ‘We chose UiPath because of their huge community, which helps you to find solutions quickly. And what they do very well: they have this free community license. So, you don’t have to contact sales first or wait for a demo, you can try it out yourself straight away. Also, we can run the software securely on our own servers in Germany.’
What would a human do?
When setting up a robot, there is no big-bang implementation, but a carefully thought-out process. ‘We start by building the process the way a human would do it. We map what steps a human would take. Then we check with our client if these processes are correct. Next, we extract a small part of the process and we automate that. If that works, we do another and so on and so forth, until almost the entire process has been automated.’
An example of a small part of the process that can be automated is something as simple as downloading information from an FTP. ‘Of course, you can do that by hand, but it’s easily automated and done in the early hours before the team starts to work. We also automate parts of the more complex processes, like sending out court briefings. Our software sets up the first draft of the document. After clearance and signature by a lawyer, the software will send the legal document automatically.’
You will always need humans
Will legal processes be completely automated in the future? Wildhirth thinks not: ‘I think you will always need humans. Maybe the work will change, but technology will only make the lawyer better. And there will always be work that only a human can do. But if there are processes a human and a computer can do, the computer will do it better: it makes fewer mistakes, it will do the work faster, and of course, it doesn’t sleep.’
Needless to say, eagle lsp’s team is enthusiastic about their relentless colleagues. ‘Robots and other software solutions make the work faster and easier. This helps us to deliver our services more efficiently. So, we can offer legal departments and law firms a way to better deal with cost pressures while expecting higher reliability at the same time. Also, the quality of the work increases. There is zero tolerance for errors, like missing deadlines, in the legal world. The 80-20-rule does not apply here. Luckily, robots never forget a step or a deadline, if you use them in the right process with the right team.’