Victoria Barratt - legal manager and solicitor at Riverview – on the firm’s evolution and the launch of its Virtual Assistants
How are things at Riverview Law?
Things are great thanks. We may only be four years old but Riverview Law’s growth and impact within these four years has been significant. This can be seen not only in the work we now do and the customers we are working with but also the opportunities for the people who work here. I have been lucky enough to secure two promotions within my time at Riverview Law and as a growing business there are always new opportunities, including opportunities you may have never even considered for your career. One of the positives about working here is that not being bound by the traditional law firm model means you can grow your career in the way you want to. With the feedback we have received from our current customers and the interest in the market for the services Riverview Law can offer the next year is going to continue to be an interesting time.
What have been the biggest changes within the business over the past 12 months?
Where do I start? Over the past 12 months we have expanded our offices both in terms of space and location, we have grown our managed services teams, we have acquired a US based technology business and we have launched our first Virtual Assistants and these are just some of the highlights! Riverview is a dynamic young company which certainly embraces change. We are encouraged to question and suggest changes to the way things are done to improve the experience for both our customers and the Riverview Law team. Change is sometimes challenging but, at Riverview, it is not approached negatively, it is seen more as an opportunity to constantly improve the service we already offer and the environment we work in.
What are your predictions for the legal market as a whole?
I think that most people involved in the legal market have accepted that change is happening whether we like it or not. However, I do not think that this is anything to be scared of. The legal market as a whole will need to adapt to new technology, additional regulation and the continually changing requirements of customers. But we can’t see these as barriers or threats. These are opportunities for the right people who are providing the right services. I know solicitors who think that they have heard this all before and that ultimately there will be no great transformation to the way legal services are accessed and provided but we have seen the changes starting already.
Where will the growth areas be for you as a business?
We have seen growth in a couple of areas. Firstly our managed service functions from which we support in-house legal teams by providing dedicated-to-customer teams. We have found that having whole teams built around the customers’ requirements is a huge benefit to both the customer and the people working in the team. It creates commercially focused relevant legal advice and it also allows the solicitors the time to fully understand the risk appetite and culture of the customer and really get to know the customers’ business.
Another significant growth area will undoubtedly be with our technology and there are not many legal businesses who can say that. With the recent launch of our first Virtual Assistants and the potential for their application the opportunity for growth in this area is great.
You’ve recently launched your first Virtual Assistants. What are they exactly & who are they aimed at?
The Riverview Law Virtual Assistants are a series of tools to assist In-house teams, globally, whatever their size to (i) manage instructions, (ii) manage risk, (iii) provide better and quicker advice to their colleagues, and (iv) ensure, via comprehensive reporting, that the right work is done by the right people, at the right price, whether that work is undertaken internally or externally.
We launched the first two Virtual Assistants on 25th April and more will be released in due course. The first two that we released are the In-house Assistant and the Instruction and Triage Assistant. The Assistants are secure, easy to use, quick to launch, cost effective and are based on our proven Riverview Law operating model and the Kim technology.
How do Virtual Assistants add value?
Our Virtual Assistants add value in a number of ways. The Assistants solve challenges that have been articulated to us by general counsel, heads of legal, in-house lawyers, chief legal operators and business users seeking legal support by helping them manage the work coming into the function and triage it to the right person.
They show the type of work that is being handled, where it has come from (individual and business unit), what its risk profile is and how long it has taken. The Assistants provide accurate data so that In-house teams can plan and make sure that the right work is done by the right people, at the right price whether this work is undertaken In-house or by a third party.
The Virtual Assistants are also case management tool, document management and version control capability, more granular case status and enhanced reporting. All the Riverview Law Virtual Assistants have comprehensive dashboards so that users have the live and trend data that helps In-house teams make better and quicker decisions. More will be launched in the coming months, including Advisory and Smart Assistants, as well as different language versions.
What’s the response been like amongst the legal community & your customer base?
The response has been very positive. Current customers and potential customers can really see the value of the offering. It just makes sense. These tools provide clarity to In-house legal departments on a global level all the way down to very granular detail. They also provide efficiencies which are much needed at this time of restricted legal budgets. Ahead of launch we showcased the Virtual Assistants to a number of in-house teams which resulted in a number of orders so overall it’s been fantastic!
Last year you acquired a US tech business. How important was that deal in the launch of the Virtual Assistants?
It was essential. Before the acquisition we worked with the business for over a year to test the relevance of the platform in the legal market via our managed service and licensed technology offerings to global customers.
We know from our use of these tools both internally and with customers that they can add huge value. Launching the Virtual Assistants is one of the ways in which we are seeking to scale Riverview Law globally.
Are there any new initiatives/ project launches in the pipeline?
You have probably realised that there are always new initiatives and projects in the pipeline at Riverview Law. We will continue to work closely with our customers and potential new customers to make sure that we are offering the best and most effective legal services possible. We will also be launching more Virtual Assistants and different language versions of the Virtual Assistants to support our international customers.
What does the future hold for Riverview & what does it want to be known for?
The future for Riverview Law is exciting. It may sometimes be difficult for people outside the business to work out exactly who we are and what we do but for me it is really easy to explain, we are a legal business which provides not just the commercially focused legal advice that customers need but also the commercial support required to help customers manage their legal operating model. Riverview wants to be known for being customer centric providing high quality legal advice and support in a way which really can add value to our customers’ businesses.
And no discussion about Riverview is complete without mentioning the culture. Riverview is certainly known for its culture. For people who have experienced working in legal businesses before I can honestly tell you coming to Riverview is a change in culture and I would say certainly a change for the better!