Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG works with the Financial Times to support its international expansion


The challenge

Create a knowledge strategy to support the firm’s re-organisation and expansion overseas.

The solution

As part of a Corporate Licence, the FT developed a tailored information service, including access to the FT on LexisNexis.

The benefits

The FT’s international business intelligence helped LG deliver a superior client service and save time.


Global expansion

Gowling WLG is a firm of business lawyers, advising clients around the world. It’s not just commercially- minded it's entrepreneurial and results minded.

Gowling WLGapproach is to get deep inside its clients’ businesses and the industries they work in, giving Gowling WLG an extra edge in tailoring the most effective solutions for them. The firm services clients from its international offices in London, Dubai, Monaco and Russia; but also through its close relationships with other advisers in its key jurisdictions.

Together, the firm advises seamlessly on the most complex, cross-border deals and disputes. Over 30% of its transactions are now handled for companies outside the UK.

In early 2009, Gowling WLG overhauled its sector and geographical focus to strengthen relationships with key clients. The firm is now organised around a number of core industry sectors, such as energy, technology and healthcare, and geographic regions, earmarking six key emerging markets for growth.

Managing partner, Hugh Maule, said: “We can assist our clients by looking at the services we provide for them, the sectors they operate in and the geography in which they are based. With all of these factors in mind, we think it is important to concentrate on the needs of our clients and by doing this, we can strengthen relationships with existing key clients and new ones going forward.”

Maule added: “Our geographical focus areas include the US, India, Dubai and the Gulf, Russia and the Far East, which are important to all of our practice groups. We’ve recently opened new offices in Dubai and Moscow, further enhancing our international presence.”

Information strategy

The reorganisation, and the highly challenging economic environment, had immediate implications for the firm's Information Resources team. Gowling WLG needed to find a fast and cost-effective way of delivering accurate information on global business to its lawyers around the world.

However, Gowling WLG's Information Resources team also wanted to avoid overloading busy lawyers with information.

As Karen Gray, Gowling WLG's Head of Information Resources, explained: “If you send too much information to people they switch off.

Our lawyers want just what’s relevant to them based on their location, clients and industry focus.”

Gowling WLG chose global business intelligence from the FT to meet their information requirements. With over 550 journalists around the world, the FT validates and distils information from hundreds of sources to deliver accurate news and expert analysis on business, finance and politics.

The FT solution

The FT is now available to all users in the firm and can be accessed in a number of ways. Firstly, FT news, organised by industry sector, geography and topic, was made available on lawyers' BlackBerries, providing easy access to breaking news whilst on the move.

Secondly, users were also set-up and trained to use tools on FT.com including:

  • Email alerts to monitor specific companies or industry sectors
  • Portfolio tools to help analyse and track company information

Thirdly, FT content was also made available on third party research tools used by Gowling WLG, including LexisNexis. This allows lawyers and information researchers to conduct in-depth, topic-based searches across multiple information sources.

Gray said: “The FT’s solution delivers the best of both worlds. The FT is used to monitor important business events and gain valuable market insights. And since the FT is also available on LexisNexis, we can use it to fulfil specific research requests.”

In addition, the deployment of FT Access Manager has started. Using IP authentication, Access Manager allows the Information Resources team to easily promote and deploy the service to overseas offices and then track how FT information is being used.

Client service

Gowling WLG employees draw on FT for a range of different business purposes. Primarily, it is used to develop an in-depth understanding of clients and their industries. This enables lawyers to build stronger client relationships, deliver a superior level of service and spot emerging opportunities and risks.

As Bill Richards, Head of Risk and Compliance for Gowling WLG, recalled: “Even though I was on holiday, I was able to keep up-to-date with the FT on my BlackBerry. I got a call from a client and was able to react immediately and give them a high standard of service. He was surprised – and impressed – by how well informed I was. That’s the key to success for any commercial lawyer.”

By reading the FT’s comment and analysis, such as the Lex column, lawyers at LG are in a better position to understand the industry context – the reasons behind key business events – and the implications for their clients.

"Our work for international clients requires that we monitor market developments not just in the UK, but around the world,” continued Karen Gray “The team covering Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, for example, reads the FT avidly for its coverage of that region, particularly in the oil & gas sector. The FT’s international perspective is a major benefit”.

Saving time

As a reliable source of information, the FT also saves Gowling WLG time. By offering accurate, trusted information in a concise format, users get up-to- date quickly and don’t have to spend time validating this information against other sources.

Similarly, the company chose FT email alerts because they are already filtered, delivering high quality and highly relevant content. For Gowling WLG, that’s more efficient and more productive.

“The FT’s taxonomy and indexing system is excellent. It’s done by the FT’s editorial team and the journalists themselves so searches are accurate and relevant – your searches contain far fewer spurious news items, which achieves the goal of saving time,“ Gray concluded. “And with Access Manager, we can control how the service is implemented and I get a transparent view of how the service is being used.”

The FT is proving to be a critical component to the company’s client centric strategy and its focus on better collaboration. Every new joiner gets to register with the FT as part of their induction and Gowling WLG plans to integrate the FT into its intranet, using RSS feeds.

About LG

Gowling WLG is proud to have a culture that is open and refreshingly straightforward. It employs highly talented individuals, while valuing a strong team ethic - and that is fundamental to the way it works as a business. For more information, visit gowlingwlg.com.