Hogan Lovells launches the first ecosystem-scale technology platform to deliver transaction efficiencies for clients
London, 11 April 2022 – Hogan Lovells has today become the first law firm to implement an ecosystem-scale document and contract automation technology which will drive efficiencies within commercial transactions for clients. The blockchain-enabled technology platform, DriveChain, is now available to firm clients across all sectors and industries.
DriveChain-enabled PDF and Microsoft Word, “smart documents”, can be summarised; reported on; and automated into virtually any document, contract, or asset management software application in seconds, solving a longstanding obstacle to transaction automation – the lack of interoperability of document and contract management software. DriveChain harnesses Integra Ledger enterprise blockchain technology to securely verify structured data contained within the documents, enabling automated processing of the data.
“In the life of a conventional document its contents will be read and re-read time and time again. The reader is looking for information they need to enter into enterprise software systems; generate reports; manage contracts and any type of asset; conduct due diligence and more. We wanted to remove that repetitive and time-consuming process, to enable any software to retrieve the information the reader needs at the click of a button,” said Nicholas Roberts, a partner in Hogan Lovells’ London office who has been instrumental in the design of DriveChain.
Developed in response to the 2020 CREtech Reimagining Real Estate Challenge, DriveChain was designed by partners Roberts and Dan Norris, and senior knowledge manager Sarah Houghton. It was developed in collaboration with Integra Ledger, which has pioneered the use of enterprise blockchain technology in the legal industry.
DriveChain can be used for any document, contract, or deed – in any industry sector or practice area. The speed and accuracy of this technology means thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of DriveChain-enabled documents can be diligenced; summarised and/or key details automated into both desktop and enterprise software applications in a fraction of the current time involved, whether those documents are commercial supply agreements, leases in a shopping centre, secured loans or otherwise – and with 100% accuracy. This ground-breaking innovation has wide applicability across any commercial transaction in any industry.
“In designing DriveChain we listened to our clients and re-imagined the way that documents and contracts move between the law firm, the client, and the client’s clients. DriveChain enables peer-to-peer transfer of documents, contracts, and their associated data in a way that increases automation, accuracy, and security. What’s particularly unique is that every stakeholder in the client value chain stands to benefit. Furthermore, because it is accomplished using existing software, clients and their clients can achieve almost immediate benefit from increased document and contract automation and security. Although it was designed in response to a real estate client's needs, we've made it discipline agnostic – it doesn't matter what industry sector the client is in, they can still get the benefit of being able to extract and export data from documents in moments with certainty of accuracy and authenticity”, said Dan Norris, partner and global head of Hogan Lovells’ real estate team.
BNP Paribas Real Estate UK has been a long-time champion of the project, recognising its potential early on and partnering with Hogan Lovells for its deployment. It is now the first of Hogan Lovells’ clients ready and able to adopt DriveChain. Emma Orford, Director – Property Management said: “Automation and the accuracy of data is fundamental to the future of Real Estate. DriveChain is an excellent example of how companies with a shared passion for innovation and client service can collaborate to deliver a solution which results in efficiency and risk reduction for all those involved in real estate transactions. This is just the beginning, the practical implications could be endless”.
By using Integra Ledger’s enterprise blockchain technology, DriveChain delivers functionality that is new in the legal industry – ecosystem-wide document and contract automation that is software agnostic, peer-to-peer, and entirely private. Documents and contracts are not stored or processed in the cloud. CEO and founder of Integra Ledger David Fisher commented, “The Hogan Lovells team took a unique and holistic approach to client value, with the objective to increase ROI for all stakeholders, including the clients’ clients. Today’s launch of DriveChain is the culmination of over two years of work, leveraging the insights gained from secure, peer-to-peer value transfer. The addition of an authentication layer to the PDFs and Microsoft Word documents that clients already use enables ecosystem-wide automation. Integra Ledger is an enterprise blockchain, which is based on Hyperledger Fabric, and therefore is not nearly as resource intensive as proof-of-work blockchains. Integra can actually reduce technology complexity, overhead, and energy use through client value chains."