Q&A with Edson Kawabata, General Director at Machado Meyer

Written by: Kira Systems

May 12, 2021

4 minute read

Machado Meyer is a leading law firm in Brazil with more than 900 employees. For 49 years, the firm has built a reputation for legal intelligence that leverages opportunities and creates value for its clients. As a result, the firm has received some of the most important awards in the legal industry.

Machado Meyer also prides itself on continuous improvement and innovation. As a Kira user since 2019, the firm continues to use the software across its M&A and Litigation practices. In addition, Machado Meyer is collaborating with Kira Systems’ Legal Knowledge Engineering team to create M&A smart fields in Brazilian Portuguese so that commonly analyzed provisions can be automatically identified by Kira without the need for building customized smart fields (more details releasing soon!).

As part of our Q&A series, we invited Edson Kawabata, General Director at Machado Meyer, to share his experience with Kira, how the firm incorporates new technologies into its operations, and more.

Use Case

M&A and Litigation




Founded in 1972

Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil

What is your role at Machado Meyer?

My role consists of overseeing our operations and providing the best possible infrastructure and services to our teams, so that we can deliver superior value to our clients. From a strategic perspective, this entails helping the partnership to achieve higher growth, profitability, client preference, and employee engagement; keeping an adequate balance across all business elements; and respecting our values and principles.

A key element to conquer this challenge is fostering continuous improvement and innovation by assessing value creation opportunities, and translating them to institution-sponsored initiatives to get sustainable results. An in-depth understanding of market landscape and client needs, combined with diligent management of performance drivers, is essential to the success of this mission.

How did you identify the need for contract review and analysis software?

As an engineer by academic background and after a 20-year career as a management consultant, I find the business of law an open field for applying a more systematic approach to achieve superior performance. As a team, we are continuously mapping out market solutions, benchmarks, and best practices, combined with a thorough assessment of new opportunities for development.

Although each client and matter demands an individual perspective, we have identified common elements in due diligence and contract review to standardize routines and leverage internal knowledge. This initiative has led us to the consideration of machine learning and contract analysis software, as means to enable our vision for the operations and IT architecture. After a comprehensive assessment of market alternatives, Kira was selected as the best solution for us.

How will Kira support your firm’s long-term goals?

Operational excellence is one of our strategic pillars, and the partnership with Kira embodies our commitment to innovation and technology, bringing leading edge techniques and tools to enhance the agility, efficiency, and quality of our work.

Being part of Kira´s community allows us to obtain useful insights from experts all over the world and not only reflect on opportunities for improvement, but also to incorporate them into our operating model, following a well-structured change management approach.

How has the pandemic changed your approach to leveraging technology in the firm?

With the pandemic, the majority of our staff is working remotely. Fortunately, we adopted a cloud-based IT architecture and enabled mobile connectivity some years ago, and we were able to promote an accelerated digitization journey to enable more fluid and dynamic workflows, even while being more distant physically in the moment. Common routines such as reviewing documents and running meetings were incorporated into digital platforms, and we have reaped relevant benefits (particularly time savings and quick connections) much earlier than a pre-pandemic reality would indicate.

After this rapid adaptation, even those who are not technology-savvy recognize the need for reflecting on traditional operating models, and incorporating new ways of working and tools in research, analysis, document assembly, collaboration and communication (internal and external). Moreover, this new level of digitization enables more agile and reliable information flows, and ultimately better management in general.

How does Machado Meyer incorporate new technologies into its operations?

Change management usually begins with mindsets. Without proper understanding and engagement, initiatives are often put at risk. So, it is fundamental that we clarify the reasons behind any changes we promote—and their impacts—to all involved. That is why we have a very diligent change management process from early on.

Any new technology goes through a proof of concept phase under conditions that represent real operations on a smaller scale. At this stage, we assemble a representative team from each key area to experience the new techniques and tools, and provide feedback to get the most out of the solutions and foresee additional requirements. After careful assessment, a business case with financials and other key metrics is presented to our Board to approve investments and resources to move forward. Then we ramp up the introduction of the solutions, in line with their learning curve, with permanent support of an expert team. Simply put, agility with responsibility.

In a broader sense, we adopt an open-minded approach to innovation. As an illustration, we actively participate and sponsor events to share knowledge about new practices and solutions in the legal marketplace. So, we always welcome new ideas and potential partners, as we aim to stay at the forefront of our market!

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