Blog: The Shoosmiths view of smart tech

Ahead of Smart City Expo, we catch up with Leeds and London–based law firm Shoosmiths to discuss what defines a smart city and how it is developing an AI “brain” to increase efficiency.

Tell us about Shoosmiths

Shoosmiths has over 30 years’ experience in the energy, renewables and infrastructure sector, waste to energy, transport and urban & social infrastructure sectors – and now that expertise has been pulled together into a coherent sector-based approach. We are increasingly cited as a go-to firm for these areas as our point of distinction is a collaborative working style and client-centred approach. Our teams not only command decades of experience but also bring an enthusiasm to explore and develop our business with our clients and related professionals on many of the emerging, innovative, challenging and rewarding parts of this diverse sector.

Partner Alex Kirkhope pictured.


Who will be going to Smart City Expo World Congress?

Partners Alex Kirkhope (BAD - tech sector) Vicky Bentley (BAD IP – mobility/tech sectors), James Wood-Robertson and Nick Iliff (co-heads infrastructure and energy sector, pictured to the left), and Katie Yorke (Corporate – tech sector), will be engaging in a dialogue with corporate leaders, public representatives, entrepreneurs, experts and academics that helps to shape the next steps for urban development.

The opportunity to participate in the Smart City Expo World Congress, an event where international experts come together to discuss how to secure a future carbon emissions-free, sustainable and resource-efficient integrated and connected urban ecosystem, is too good to miss and chimes perfectly with the firm’s “sector” approach.

How would you define a 'smart city'?

James Wood-Robertson (pictured) maintains that the definition of a “smart city” should involve an integrated, multi-system approach rather than any particular connected technology.  That necessarily involves co-ordination between the different aspects of digitalisation, to ensure interoperability.

Nick Iliff adds that key to the delivery of smart solutions across travel, housing and health, in particular, is the integration and compatibility of the connected or digital technology in areas such as energy, infrastructure and vehicles.  

Victoria Bentley suggests that this multi-system approach is exemplified by something like future mobility services, where we start to see co-ordinated digitalisation of health and transport services – for example to bring a patient to hospital. She adds that, in the truly smart city, that connectivity is expanded into other areas to create a network of integrated smart services - from the home to education, the workplace and recreation - and in a way which is progressive both for the individual and the environment (e.g. reduction in traffic). 

How is Shoosmiths using legal tech?

Tony Randle, a partner specialising in major project management, believes that legal tech will never replace lawyers - but lawyers that use legal tech will replace those who don’t! Shoosmiths is exploring all the usual tech tools (including contract automation and an interface platform which gives clients 24/7 visibility of all their matters). However, the firm is also constantly developing new technology and products to make its clients’ working lives easier.   it’s in the areas of automated contract reviews and data capture where we have gone way beyond other law firms.  The firm has developed an AI “brain” that can review and report on commercial contracts in a fraction of the time that humans would take (and at a fraction of the cost!). A software solution developed for the firm’s in-house lawyer clients enables them to capture and analyse data from their teams more efficiently and demonstrate the value of the work they are doing.

Join Leeds City Region at stand 303 at Smart City Expo.