KWM leads in digital transformation with innovative technology

Are efficiency and time-saving a priority for your legal team? Are you currently performing a manual contract analysis, searching for obligations? Do you manually search through lengthy contracts and legislations to locate clauses? In this case study with King & Wood Mallesons, David Horley, Manager in the Applied Legal Technology Team, discusses how VT Docs drives efficiency for this top-tier international law firm.
Aoife Keane

Customer Marketing Specialist

3 min read

About King & Wood Mallesons – Australia

“Mastery of the Law, from Asia for the world.”

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is a top-tier international law firm, from Asia, for the world. With over 3,000+ lawyers in 30 global locations, KWM draws on its Western and Eastern perspectives to deliver incisive counsel. KWM’s focus is on their clients – people and organizations with distinctive ambitions and challenges. KWM’s priority is to understand their client’s needs, solve their problems and unearth the right opportunities for them.

KWM works with industry-makers, nation-builders, and market disrupters to drive growth and power innovation. Through design of new legal frameworks, they apply their legal expertise delivering solutions that address complex challenges.


KWM’s award winning Innovation Team are responsible for the design and delivery of innovation and transformation strategies. They implement software tools following rigorous testing and effectiveness validation. Selected tools need to repeatedly demonstrate significant time-savings with the Applied Legal Technology team providing application support on client engagements


Prior to adopting VisibleThread, legal teams would perform contract analysis manually, including searching for obligations and particular clauses. This process was very time-consuming and error prone as they were dealing with high volumes of content and contracts. Dealing with lengthy documents, lawyers would manually search through contracts and legislation to locate clauses and updates for their clients. In summary, purely manual review was incredibly time-intensive and inefficient. 

The Solution

Some legal teams at KWM use VT Docs to quickly identify obligations and other clauses across multiple contracts and agreements. Using a VT Docs “Search Dictionary”, they can see keywords and phrases that need review in minutes. Lawyers also “shred” documents into an Excel format, decomposing every sentence into a row in a spreadsheet. This allows them to manage compliance against these requirements. The extracted Excel format also allows them to conduct further focused analysis, using Excel “filters” to report on key requirements in the matrix. 

KWM can use VT Docs to help in legislative reviews, for example in a pro-bono matter to undertake a review of legislation (Acts and Regulations) to identify provisions which may be discriminatory. This involved a review of approximately 1,500 Acts and Regulations for instances of discriminatory words. The VT Docs Search Dictionary allowed the team to categorize these terms, a useful function for subsequent reporting and analysis.

One key use case identified by KWM, which helps improve efficiency across teams, is to create a Responsibility Matrix for various agreements.

Using the responsibility matrix in VT Docs to ‘shred’ multiple contracts to identify obligations and ensure compliance, and to effectively delegate across workstreams. This involved applying a search dictionary of words suggesting an obligation, including ‘will’, ‘shall’, ‘must’, in combination with a category of words that suggest a responsible team, e.g., Finance, Marketing, and Legal.

The Impact

  1. Time-saving: For lawyers, time-saving is extremely valuable. The concept tracking report gives a bird’s eye view at the beginning of the process, from a project management perspective. This allows the KWM lawyers to assess the amount of work required to review documents and prioritize what needs to be focused on. Time-saving tasks include identifying clauses and referring to certain terms across a 100-page document. On one matter reviewing a 100-page contract, they saved approximately 70% of review time. On a pro-bono matter where the team had to review legislation for discriminatory provisions, they saved hundreds of hours to search across 800 pieces of legislation.
  2. Pivoting Searches: VT Docs acts as a sanity check to see if search terms need adjustment. Searching for multiple words across multiple documents at one time saves the team hours and days. VisibleThread accelerates turn-around time of the required client reports.
  3. Accuracy: Carrying out a manual search can result in requirements being missed. The risk of making mistakes and missing obligations can be significant. VisibleThread helps by removing this manual element of the process and instils confidence that everything has been accounted for.
  4. Value Add for Clients: VisibleThread enables improved ways of working for KWM. VT Docs supports the creation of legal work product. KWM encourages their legal staff to apply enabling technologies to drive time-saving and accuracy benefits for their clients. By using VT Docs, KWM have seen their ways of working improved, and have witnessed significant efficiency gains in the velocity of project delivery.


KWM began working with VisibleThread in 2017, following initial testing and effectiveness validation by their Innovation Team. VT Docs now helps KWM to achieve their digital transformation goals. The solution is used across the firm, by lawyers, law clerks, and the Applied Legal Technology Team. In addition, VT Docs training is part of the Graduate Digital Bootcamps held twice a year. VT Docs has accelerated contract reviews and in-depth research. Enabling technology into their graduate program is part of KWM preparing for the future.


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