Kira Systems Q&A with Lee Morrissey, Head of Managed Services at Johnson Hana
Johnson Hana is an ‘on-demand’ lawyer business and managed legal services consultancy. They work with a technology enabled community of smart-working lawyers with a common purpose: to change the legal services marketplace so it works better for everybody.
The company aims to fill the vacuum that exists between high-value partner led legal advice and low-value process driven legal work helping their clients scale back on unnecessary legal spend. They deliver fully outsourced legal solutions including the provision of technology solutions, project management services and highly qualified, skilled legal teams for assignments.
We had a Zoom call with Lee Morrissey, Head of Managed Services, to discuss the company’s vision for the legal industry, the tools put in place to stay resilient despite very difficult times, key learnings as the company shifted to work from home protocol, and more.
What is your role at Johnson and Hana?
Johnson Hana’s services split broadly into two: providing experienced lawyers to supplement our clients’ existing legal teams and outsourcing “large data” projects. My responsibility is to ensure the smooth and efficient execution of these outsourced projects, which includes all kinds of document reviews such as contracts, leases, discovery, and data access requests. A key focus for this role is the delivery of smart, technology enabled legal solutions, which led to our connection with Kira.
What is the company’s vision for the legal industry?
We’re a mission-based company first and foremost, founded on the belief that the current legal industry is broken and could function better for both lawyers and clients. Clients are paying more than they need to for non-advisory work and lawyers are faced with poor work life balance in an inflexible career model.
We disaggregate legal advisory work from process based legal solutions and focus entirely on the latter. We offer clients bespoke solutions and flexible team sizes along with significant cost savings compared to traditional suppliers. For our consultants, they get a flexible career; the ability to take back work life balance or to provide solutions to our clients alongside pursuing their own work also.
How did you identify the need for contract review software?
Many of the solutions we provide such as discovery are heavily supported by technology. When we looked at what other areas could benefit from a ‘tech first’ mindset, contract review was a clear opportunity. The benefit of this approach is that it supports our consultants in their ability to deliver their work while ensuring quality for our clients through the removal of human error. Once we started looking for a market leader to partner with, Kira quickly became the obvious choice.
How will Kira support your company’s long-term goals?
We see Kira as a key strategic partner in enabling us to achieve our long term vision. Given the versatility of Kira and the ability to use functionality like “QuickStudy” to tailor the system to different use cases and geographies, we see great opportunities to use the system beyond our original intention of wholesale contract reviews.
For example, when the pandemic properly took hold and the lockdown kicked in, we wrote to all our clients to offer them assistance in reviewing their force majeure clauses by our consultants who are accredited to use Kira. This allowed our clients to fully understand their potential risks and exposures without having to dedicate their already busy resources to such a review.
How is Johnson Hana monitoring COVID-19 developments and sharing insights related to legal and business considerations to help clients?
We have been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and continue to assist our clients in any way we can. As our clients span all industries and sectors, we’ve seen a broad range of impacts. In some industries, it’s been business as usual albeit with the logistical complexities of remote working. For others, there’s been a slow down in operations and we’ve been able to assist with detailed analysis and reports of how client’s existing contractual commitments can respond to this.
Of course, in uncertain times there’s a renewed focus on value for money and there is an increased onus on in-house legal departments to reduce external legal spend. Thankfully we have not suffered a reduced workload for our consultants, nor have we had to reduce the rates that we pay our consultants. We were in the fortunate position that our fees are so competitive compared to traditional providers that it puts us in prime position to scale our business.
How did the company shift to work from home protocol? What tools have been leveraged to assist with remote working and business continuity?
As a young company with an agile, smart working culture, I’m proud to say that our team pivoted to a work from home scenario very smoothly. We had begun our contingency planning early on and made the decision to move to remote working for headquarter staff the day before guidance came from the Irish Government. For our consultants, remote working was already part of our operating procedure on many engagements and therefore an easy transition.
In terms of key enablers for this successful pivot, we were already fully cloud-based for all key technologies. This prepared us well from a data security and accessibility point of view. Partners like Kira, Reveal eDiscovery, and Jira project management solutions have all been a massive support in this “new normal.”
We are also near paperless in our typical operations which certainly eased the complexity of not having physical access to the office. In terms of staying connected, we had already been introducing collaboration software across the organisation. This accelerated as a prolonged work from home situation became more likely and is now indispensable for everything including our daily stand ups, client calls through and regular team social events!