This post is part of our Future of Law series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Nicholas d’Adhemar, Founder and CEO at Apperio.
1. What is the history of Apperio? Where and how did you begin?
NA: After working as a lawyer in both private practice an inhouse and in private equity I formed Apperio, meaning to ‘reveal, or make clear’ in Latin, in 2012 out of my frustration at the opaque nature of legal fees and the lack of visibility over invoices.
Apperio has since grown from an idea into a movement, tracking more than $1bn of legal fees, showing how digital technology can increase accountability and trust, fostering better relationships. Apperio was initially known as Legal Tender but rebranded and shifted focus towards monitoring and analytics.
2. What specific problem does Apperio solve? How do you solve it?
NA: Most corporate legal departments struggle with the opaqueness of legal fees and invoices. This lack of transparency leads to surprise invoices, an inability to effectively budget, forecast and run their legal departments efficiently. Apperio helps legal departments overcome these challenges by giving users unparalleled visibility and control over their legal spend. The dashboard allows users to have visibility in realtime of WIP and invoices, analytics on overall legal spend as well as the ability to benchmark law firm performance.
The platform has already been successful in providing a comparison of firms’ ability to stick to budgets, identifying areas for improved efficiency and has proven to save clients an average of 15% on their legal spend, whilst improving recovery rates for lawyers by an average of 10%.
Desktop – Apperio
3. What’s the future of law?
Prediction #1: The adoption of technology will enhance rather than replace the role of the lawyer. Certain tasks will be done by technology and lawyers and clients will have more information at their fingertips than before. However, the lawyer will still be the chief relationship officer to the client, will still interpret, deliver and advise the client.
Prediction #2: Clients are increasingly demanding more transparency over law firm fees and pricing. Gone are the days of a one-line invoice and annual rate increases. Law firms will provide much deeper levels of visibility to their clients.
Prediction #3: Law Firms will continue to hire non-lawyers to help run the partnerships more like businesses. Part of this will include a much deeper understanding the cost and margin on both people and matters.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in the legal industry?
Trend #1: Cloud. Amazingly, law firms are still quite varied in their appetite to keep data in the cloud. Change is picking up pace and will continue to do so.
Trend #2: Transparency tools. More law departments are adopting transparency tools to manage increased legal needs while controlling costs. This will enable legal departments to have greater visibility over their spend and ultimately allow their organisations to make more strategic management and operational decisions.
Trend #3: AI. More hype than a trend at the moment but this will start to augment the way certain actions are completed.
5. Why is the legal industry ripe for disruption?
NA: Fierce competition and increased client demands have led to the legal industry to be ripe for disruption. Many of the manual, inefficient ways of working are no longer an option if firms want to keep their clients happy. By using the transformative technology available today, they can create more sophisticated services as well as more efficient turnaround of projects.
Transparency tools, such as Apperio, give clients intelligent analytics to optimise their spend and identify areas for improved efficiency as well as secure the best deal among competing firms.
Also, there are many customers who cannot afford the main legal services on offer today and would prefer a more cost-effective solution with more basic advice. With this trend, you start to see new legal firms on the market with prices directed at this market.
About Nicholas d’Adhemar
Nicholas spent six years working as a lawyer for large international law firm, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, as well as working as Legal Counsel for Sterling Energy plc. After which he completed an MBA at INSEAD and transitioned into private equity, spending three years as an Investment Manager at Platina Partners LLP.