A KTP has been established between legal firm Stephenson Harwood LLP and the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex to introduce an in-house pricing tool, based on internal data, to calculate the estimated cost of legal work for clients by using historical records.

“Clients are increasingly demanding greater certainty around how much a piece of legal work will cost,” said Stephenson Harwood’s CEO Eifion Morris. “This project will enable us to draw on the huge amount of experience, knowledge and data we have available – from across the firm – to develop an innovative tool that will help us to accurately and consistently predict the costs of our work.”

Data scientist Jessica Cebrian has been recruited as the KTP Associate who will work with a team of up to 20 partners and associates from Stephenson Harwood. The firm’s head of innovation, Paul Orchard, said “Our data-led analysis will utilise leading natural language processing, machine learning and data analysis technologies to enable us to provide our clients with the information they need to know about what it will take to achieve their business objectives.”

Commenting on the project, lead University of Essex academic Şefki Kolozali added: “This project gives us an exciting opportunity to put our research into practical use.  We aim to develop a pricing tool that predicts the correct price and most suitable lawyers for law cases, based on historical data. This is a fascinating and innovative research direction linking machine learning and (algorithmic) game theory. We are hoping that alongside building a successful pricing tool, we will identify approaches that can be used to address the effective use of data in the law domain.”

Knowledge Transfer Adviser on the project, Mohan Ahad summarised the opportunity presented by KTP to this type of innovation challenge: “This project is a really good example of how a firm can use KTP to facilitate changes to its business processes, introduce new technology, establish an innovation culture and improve its competitive position.”

Funding competitions for KTP are open throughout the year. You can find out more here. 


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