Law firm industry first "will help clients make data-driven decisions"

Paul: Regulators looking at culture changes

A global law firm has launched what it believes is the legal industry’s first offering focused on behavioural science, aimed at helping clients make better decisions in areas like risk management and compliance.

Ropes & Gray’s R&G Insights Lab is a consultancy service combining analytics, behavioral science and strategic consulting, helping client understand why people act in a certain way to more effectively inform decision-making, compared to traditional policy-led methods.

It is co-led by two solicitors in its London office: dual-qualified Amanda Raad, a litigation and enforcement partner, and Will Rosen, the managing partner of the London office.

The third leader is US attorney Zach Coseglia, the lab’s managing principal and head of information.

Ropes & Gray said the lab touched on “hot-button corporate issues” such as corporate and investment strategy and decision-making; culture reviews and assessments; diversity and inclusion initiatives; internal policies, procedures and governance; organisational design; project management; and compliance, ethics, and risk management.

Research conducted by the firm in 2018 showed that an increasing number of companies, particularly in the UK and across Europe, were recognising the value of adopting a data-driven approach to compliance, supported by behavioral sciences strategies, to go beyond the traditional model of relying on policies and procedures.

It found that, although only a handful of companies had actually implemented a behavioral sciences approach to compliance, 55% have heard about it and a significant majority believed it would helpful or very helpful in helping them identify and manage their risks going forward.

London partner Rosemarie Paul told Legal Futures how regulators were increasingly producing studies on how regulation should aim to help people achieve compliance through changes in their culture.

She used to work at what was the Financial Services Authority, which she explained had a dedicated behavioural insights team not just aimed at “consumer behaviour and encouraging nudges around it, but [also] encouraging greater compliance behaviour –  looking at bullying, harassment, these sorts of unacceptable behaviours and building them into firms’ codes of conduct [in order] to achieve better compliance”.

Mr Coseglia added that the lab would help clients make better decisions by “unlocking the value of their data, identifying and even predicting risks”.

Ms Raad said clients had asked for a “holistic” behavioural science offering that was applicable to jurisdictions around the world so they did not have to hire different counsel there.

The lawyers said the lab would not just focus on larger client but also mid-sized ones. Ms Paul said leveraging data was relevant to all businesses: “Data has increasingly become an asset and a lot of people no longer look at it like they used to.”

She added:  “This is an offering that will have relevance not only to the bigger companies but also anyone looking at compliance, at culture, and can utilise what data is available to them.”

Mr Coseglia said: “Data can be big, data can be small. We don’t discriminate. What we are trying to do is build more outcomes-focused organisations and help our clients, big and small, use their data in more effective ways, helping them manage risk more effectively. Sometimes that will involve large complex datasets, [sometimes not].”

Ms Raad said the lab was “still very new” and discussions with clients were ongoing about exactly what it would offer. However, so far it had been ”received very well”.

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