Robert Lankester

Rob Lankester
Founder and Director

An independent legal engineer, consultant and specialist in process and document automation. Since April 2018 Rob has been working across the in-house legal, sales/licencing and IT teams for global technology and media corporations. Rob’s clients range from large companies and international law firms, to innovative start-ups and sole practitioners, based across the world.

For two years Rob was responsible for the global implementation and growth of document automation at Berwin Leighton Paisner (now BCLP). Thomson Reuters featured Rob’s implementation as one of their customer success stories.

Rob started his career as a Business Analyst at Irwin Mitchell (IM) and during his 9+ years there, led several change and knowledge initiatives, including the implementation of document automation. This led to Rob taking on its management full time, automating 250 documents in the first year (more than any other law firm) with a team of just 1.5 FTE. During this time Rob was recognised by Thomson Reuters as one of their first Automation Champions.

“Rob is committed to doing the best possible job for his clients and continually strives to develop systems and solutions which deliver tangible benefits to business practice. Having worked closely with him on a number of projects, I have always been impressed by his drive and enthusiasm.”
Catherine Cadman
Catherine Cadman
Head of Knowledge at Bedell Cristin

Rob’s work at at BLP (now BCLP) was featured by Thomson Reuters as a Contract Express Customer Success Story.

Rob and David Halliwell from Pinsent Masons LLP discuss the motivation and impact behind implementing drafting and document automation software.

What does a successful document automation project look like?

  • Rob was recognised by Thomson Reuters as one of their automation champions.
  • Thomson Reuters feature Rob’s implementation of document automation at BLP as one of their customer success stories.
  • Law firms and corporate legal departments are being asked to do more with less. Legito interviewed Rob on some of the challenges faced.

Document Automation FAQ

How does the client experience affect the way your clients buy and use document automation tools?

The client experience is key, although efficiency is obviously a driver as well. There’s interest in presenting document automation directly to clients and letting them fill out the forms themselves.

Is it easy to get buy-in and investment for technologies such as document automation?

No. It’s never easy for any product at any firm or business. You need to gather and document your requirements, then there’s a selection process, a detailed business case, and then a number of rounds to get budget. Document automation and similar technologies, when implemented properly, can require a significant investment. Investing in legal technology is not to be taken lightly, but it’s very rewarding when all that hard work pays off and this is where RLegal Engineering can help. We have experience writing successful business cases which lead to firm-wide purchases of 1000+ software licences, and then following this up to make the implementation a success. RLegal Engineering can lead your business through the process from start to finish to help you achieve success.

What does success look like in implementing an automation project?

For each document automated, we estimate time-savings, working with the lawyers to discover how long it used to take and how long it takes now. For example, one document suite automated for the Construction sector saves around 5 ½ hours each time it is used. We use that data to report on the benefits – it helps justify the investment.

Is communicating the benefits and existence of document automation a key element in its success?

When launching Contract Express in the Real Estate practice at BLP (now BCLP), We delivered a presentation to the whole department, followed up with articles in the regular bulletin and on the intranet. You know it’s a success when the lawyers start selling it for you and we had some excellent feedback. Heads of department were actively selling the concept at meetings with other senior stakeholders and taking responsibility for encouraging its use within their teams.