Honigman LLP is a leading business law firm serving clients locally, nationally, and internationally from its Midwest base. They counsel clients on complex legal issues in more than 60 areas of legal practice.
Consistent with its continued commitment to providing unparalleled client service, while pushing the boundaries of the ever-changing legal landscape, Honigman launched Honigman FOCUS in 2019. This initiative puts Honigman’s Client Service Standards into action by combining innovative practice technologies, legal project management principles, and matter-specific staffing models to drive efficiencies and value.
Through Honigman FOCUS, the firm views every relationship and portfolio of work as a unique opportunity to tailor its services for clients.
We spoke with Esther Bowers, Director of Practice Management at Honigman, to discuss Kira’s role in the Honigman FOCUS program, how the contract review and analysis software will help drive innovation, and more.
M&A, Real Estate, Market Intelligence
Founded in 1948
Headquartered in Detroit, MI
What is your role at Honigman?
My role is actually pretty fun and interesting. I have the opportunity to work with the firm’s Operating Committee which is focused on innovation and efforts to improve legal operations. I connect the practices with operational functions to develop programs and solutions that enhance how we deliver services and value to our clients.
How did you identify the need for contract review software?
The firm has very strong transactional practices and is ranked in the top-tier nationally for M&A work. We recognize that in order to be a leader, we need to leverage technology and equip our lawyers with tools to provide the highest value and service for our clients. The Chair of our Corporate department and of the firm’s Operating Committee is a prominent driver of new methods of practicing smarter and better, all while maintaining the highest level of quality the firm is known to deliver. He envisions the use of technology as being a key strategy for the firm’s Corporate practice with Kira playing a key role.
What have you been most impressed with so far?
I have been most impressed by Kira’s commitment to client service and growth that supports their client’s strategy. When I look at technology, I am not looking for a vendor. I am looking for a partner. I am very satisfied with how Kira has partnered with us to make this a successful relationship and in helping to drive attorney adoption.
What surprised you the most during the onboarding process?
I was most surprised by the seamlessness of the product implementation. The weekly calls to talk through project status and updates kept the communication lines open and enabled us to meet target timelines.
How will Kira support your company’s long-term goals?
We see Kira as being an integral part of how we practice and deliver service to our clients. The use of Kira has sparked new growth ideas which is driving an innovation mindset, and promotes the focus on evolving our service delivery model to meet our client’s changing needs.
Additionally, we are excited about exploring how to integrate Kira into other work streams and leverage the AI in other areas.
Can you speak on Honigman FOCUS and what drove the firm to launch this client service initiative?
Honigman FOCUS is the product of combining long-standing firm disciplines such as legal project management and pricing with newer initiatives like the use of practice technologies (Kira and others) and our flexible staffing program. FOCUS provides us with the ability to organize internally to develop solutions and offerings to best serve our clients. By connecting these client services together within one brand, we enhance our effectiveness.
How is Honigman monitoring COVID-19 developments and sharing insights related to legal and business considerations to help clients?
Our practice groups have developed new and creative ways to get closer to clients during this time, mobilizing their teams to monitor developments and produce relevant alerts on changes. The litigation group began sending a Litigation Trends Analysis, aggregating cases of interest and summarizing the relevant details. The firm also issued a survey to a group of clients to take their collective pulse regarding the impact of COVID, the challenges they are facing and how the firm can best support them during these uncertain times. We also have a dedicated area on our website to share the latest news and insights for COVID-related topics.
How have the events of this year changed your approach to leveraging technology in the firm?
We are seeing an increased interest and willingness to embrace technology, as well as opportunities to augment our practices with new platforms. The time for adoption and experimentation is now while there is a bigger appetite for tools focused on collaboration and efficiency. Big kudos to our IT department which was able to quickly mobilize and support the firm in the pivot to a remote work environment. Their ongoing work to maintain a secure network has been vital for continued tech usage and confidence in our systems, a foundation for any new technology initiative.
What’s your top advice for colleagues?
My top advice for colleagues is to share your Kira growth strategy with your Kira team. We developed objectives for Kira use this year and a corresponding roadmap with an action plan. We brought Kira into these discussions so they knew where we wanted to go and to collectively work towards solutions. While most of the work was on our end, having the chance to brainstorm with Kira about successful strategies accelerated our efforts out of the gate.
Anything else you would like to share?
This is such a significant time for legal technology with the combination of huge investments from private equity funds and the pandemic acting as an accelerant of adoption. Because of this, I am excited to not only see how technology platforms expand to provide comprehensive solutions across workflows, but also to experience how technology is being used to achieve growth.