CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, the 2nd largest law firm in France by revenue and 4th by workforce size, has been a trusted partner of Beeleev from the very beginning. Christophe Blondeau, one of its partners and a devoted supporter of entrepreneurs, agreed to tell us more about this global network of experts and give his insight on working in legal services in the age of technology. Enjoy the read!
Hi Christophe! Thank you very much for sharing your experience with the Community. What can you tell us about CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre?
CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre was established in 1925 and gathers today more than 400 lawyers in France (Neuilly-sur-Seine, Lyon, Strasbourg, Algiers and Casablanca). It is a French law firm reputable for its expertise in Tax, Business Law and Employment. Since 2001, it has joined CMS, the leading network of lawyers in Europe with more than 71 offices in 40 countries and over 4,500 lawyers across the world. Today, the 3rd legal global network in terms of locations.
CMS is increasing its international foot print in 2016 in Iran and Hong Kong, this year with three Southern American Law firms from Peru, Chile, Columbia and more recently in Singapour and Monaco. Furthermore, CMS is now ranked 6th in the UK with the merger of CMS Cameron McKenna with Nabarro and Olswang. It also has a strong historical presence in Moscow and China along with its historical presence and offer in Africa.
We know that you have been very active in facilitating entrepreneurship, especially with the FABLAW service. Can you tell our readers about FABLAW and the advantages it brings to entrepreneurs?
FABLAW is a service dedicated to early stage start–ups. We offer them services at competitive prices, but only after their application has been reviewed by an internal committee. The idea is to provide support in corporate, tax, commercial, intellectual property and social law for start-ups.
The advantage of the offer is that it’s more affordable. Plus, it is led by a team of lawyers determined to be particularly involved in helping young entrepreneurs.
Candidates will be in contact with people who, beside their work at FabLaw, are very much involved with incubators at top-ranking higher education establishments (Business schools) and deliver courses in entrepreneurship at HEC Entrepreneur, at the Law department of Dauphine or Centrale Supelec.
FABLAW is an essential element of CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre’s dedicated involvement towards young entrepreneurs.
Is this offer available for entrepreneurs outside France?
FABLAW is a French initiative of CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre. In other countries, there are similar initiatives in some countries such as the UK with its EquIP offer, in Germany, in Central and Eastern Europe, and in some dynamic Southern European countries such as Portugal.
Let’s focus on a critical issue… Few of us have heard of the possible applications of Artificial Intelligence and other automated tools in legal consulting services. Is this a major threat to your business? How do you think Legal Tech will influence your future activities?
The Legal Technology can influence us in several ways.
Data security is a very sensitive issue for law firms and the current process of Digitalization of data commands us to put an emphasis on security.
A lot of new tools are being developed like algorithms that provide legal services. Some of them target the general public to facilitate access to legal information. We do not see this as a threat because these tools target people who, basically, would not go to a lawyer.
Plus, with the technological evolution, tools are created to carry out tasks that were not necessarily done before. For instance, in CMS network, we are testing tools for contract due diligence. Previously, when auditing a package of 1000 contracts, we had to work with a system to probe the package. Today, some tools enable the virtual audit of the 1000 contracts on specific aspects. This allows for more sophisticated analysis and improved risk management.
The press also speaks of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which are capable of legal reasoning. It is difficult to anticipate how far this technology can go. This is the concept of Big Data.
In our line of work, part of our activities includes mining data to produce legal arguments. Indeed, in more or less near future, AI will be able to produce extensive legal reasoning. For instance, today, it is almost possible for an AI to predict the probability of winning a trial. Of course, such tools improve the analysis. But they do not necessarily replace a lawyer.
What is certain is that the legal profession will be and is already greatly structured by new technologies. It is true that today I do not see myself working without emails, computers and moreover an iphone! It is up to us to seize the opportunities and let the tools help us work better and provide the value clients expect from us. It is true to think that the mastery of new technological tools could strongly differentiate between offers law firms who invest massively in technologies and innovation and the ones who don’t.
Christophe, thank you very much for sharing with Beeleev community!
Want to contact Christophe and CMS Francis Lefebvre? Tell us about your project through the Smart Connector and we’ll take care of the introductions!