LegalTech News: Baker & McKenzie Scales Up Machine Learning

LegalTech News: Baker & McKenzie Scales Up Machine Learning 2

Global law firm Baker McKenzie continues its investment in bringing advanced machine learning to the legal sector, powered by SparkBeyond. The Firm is now establishing a dedicated team to combine legal domain expertise, data, data science and machine learning, following Baker McKenzie’s successful pilot of SparkBeyond’s transformational technology. 


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The pilot exceeded all its key performance indicators, demonstrating the potential for this partnership to solve many of the problems that have so far prevented true disruption of legal services and the legal business by machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as in social impact activities, which are at the core of Baker McKenzie’s mission. 

The team will collaborate with SparkBeyond on a series of projects under the leadership of Research and Development Partner, Ben Allgrove. The exclusive deal, which is part of Baker McKenzie’s innovation program, Reinvent, ensures it is the only law firm that will have access to SparkBeyond’s technology.

The partnership focuses on three key domains: 

  • AI-powered legal services
    Leveraging augmented analytics technologies and data science to develop and provide new services to our clients. Our aim is to deliver machine learning enabled judgement.     
  • Social Impact at Scale
    Amplifying social impact initiatives with machine learning-driven research and analysis, eventually using machine learning to scale its pro bono practice in a way that cannot be achieved through human resourcing alone. 
  • Internal transformation 
    Incorporating data-driven insights and machine learning across the Firm’s legal and commercial operations as part of its continuing digital transformation. This will focus on developing and deploying new models to boost the insight, speed and accuracy of Baker McKenzie’s own machine learning enabled decision-making. 

SparkBeyond’s technology is specifically designed to support problem solving, aligning well with the role of Baker McKenzie’s lawyers as problem solvers for their clients. Rather than a suite of ‘out of the box’ products, this is a technology platform on top of which Baker McKenzie will build its capability to design applications tailored to meet the specific needs of its clients and its own business. The partnership aims to reimagine the future of legal services and scales up the Firm’s current use of AI in a number of areas to benefit clients. It will also drive significant efficiencies and insight across the Firm’s internal operations through advanced analytics and data science.

“Five years ago our industry was flooded with hype about AI disruption,” says Ben Allgrove, Research and Development Partner at Baker McKenzie. “Our oft stated view at the time was that this disruption would not happen overnight, but that it was coming. We have spent the last five years preparing for the technology to mature. We have laid the infrastructure foundations, such as our enterprise data architecture, and we have built our innovation muscle and partner and client buy-in through a market leading design thinking and engagement program. It is exciting to find a partner like SparkBeyond, because we can now confidently take the next step in embedding machine learning in our business to create new value for our clients.”

“This partnership is emblematic of our commitment to innovation and a statement of intent for the future,” said Baker McKenzie’s Global Chair, Milton Cheng. “There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will become an even more essential part of our business going forward and now is the right time to invest in building our capabilities and skills to deploy that technology internally and externally for the benefit of our clients, our business and our communities.”

To leverage the new platform effectively, Baker McKenzie is building out a specialist, multi-disciplinary team of 11 people. We announce today that we are recruiting for two co-founders to work with Ben Allgrove to lead this new team. Successful applicants will be steeped in legal innovation and have the opportunity to work within a well-resourced, dedicated team able to call on the resources of one of the world’s largest law firms and SparkBeyond’s cutting edge technology. 

We anticipate the roles will be of most interest to lawyers or former lawyers, but others who have extensive experience in leading innovation within the legal or other professional services industries may also be interested. If you would like to be part of this exciting, ground-breaking approach to driving change in the legal industry, you can register interest and request further information by emailing Sharon Swift or you can apply directly here.

The Founders will be provided with access to SparkBeyond’s cutting-edge technology and a dedicated team of data scientists, data architects, data analysts and project managers along with a 3-year runway to deliver a series of projects with clients and internally to solve those problems that would most benefit from combining human judgment and machine learning capability.

Social Impact at Scale: Channeling tech towards social good

From the beginning, Baker McKenzie and SparkBeyond have sought to bring domain expertise together with technology for social good. Our first social impact project is nearing completion of its first stage. It set out to demonstrate the links between child detention and unintended negative consequences for detained children and the authorities detaining them. 

While more details about this project will be announced soon, Sagie Davidovich, CEO & Co-Founder of SparkBeyond commented: “Leveraging Baker McKenzie’s global outlook and footprint with SparkBeyond’s problem-solving technology is poised to disrupt the legal industry across a number of levels. One of them being the social impact, a focus here at SparkBeyond. Our technology is very much designed around these massive challenges, and our people are focused and energized to make a difference.”  

Throughout each stage of the partnership with SparkBeyond, Baker McKenzie is committed to building an ambitious social impact program.

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