(L-R) Awards host Peter Ndoro; Jacquie Hodgson, vice-president, legal solutions, South Africa, Exigent; James Mayer, director of research, Legal Week

Finalists: AFGRI Group (Highly Commended); Cognia Law; Law For All.

Exigent won the in-house innovation title in recognition of its collaboration with Anglo-American Group Legal to streamline processes used in the legal department, in order to make it more efficient and cost-effective, and ensure in-house lawyers are not being bogged down on routine tasks.

To help free up in-house resources, Exigent took on the review and drafting of various commercial agreements and documents (such as supply chain contracts and loan docs), as well as providing due diligence support for disposals and redacting sensitive or confidential business information. That arrangement has helped the company save 50% on its legal costs by enhancing its in-house capabilities through an offsite Exigent-Anglo dedicated legal team, providing scalable project teams when needed for larger projects, and optimising processes such as having instructions from Anglo’s business units sent directly to Exigent (only about a third of instructions came via Anglo’s in-house department).

Turnaround times were cut to three days (a saving of 10 days compared with historical turnaround times) and the partnership also reduced reliance on external law firms. Standardising contract templates also helped reduce duplicate work and improve consistency. A judge commended the project for its clear positive results and winning solution.

To return to the full list of winners, click here.