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Discover how digitalisation is revolutionising the legal industry

Discover how digitalisation is revolutionising Freshfields client experience and helping them stand out from the crowd

Freshfields' Senior Global Manager of CRM & Marketing Technology, Craig, talks about how digitalisation is revolutionising the legal industry.

By harnessing the power of digital, we can empower our teams with richer insights and smarter processes.


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) wants its people to thrive on challenges. And that’s exactly what happened with Craig James Ashton-Chalmers. As the law firm’s Senior Global Manager of CRM and Marketing Technology, Craig is helping to digitally transform the experience for Freshfields’ clients around the world. We talked to Craig about how he built the concept for a new global CRM solution in just six weeks with a little help from Trailhead.

How did you select the right technologies to support your digital goals?

We view digitalisation as a journey. One of the key goals of our multi-year strategy is to digitally transform the client experience. As a top-tier US law firm and an unparalleled global firm in the areas of corporate transactions, corporate governance, regulation, and litigation, Freshfields works with clients in more than 150 countries – and we want to provide them all with an exceptional experience. By harnessing the power of digital, we can empower our teams with richer insights and smarter processes, which enables them to build stronger client relationships.

We needed a platform that would set us apart from our peers. We didn’t want to adopt the same technologies as other legal firms; we wanted to use digital as a differentiator. We also needed a platform that would be easy to expand and evolve. Freshfields is constantly looking at new ways to push the boundaries and has a reputation for innovation within the legal sector. With Salesforce, we can keep tapping into new features and best-in-class apps. It’s more than just a CRM platform, it’s an entire digital ecosystem.

How did you showcase the transformation potential?

I had a vision for how we could leverage Salesforce as part of a ‘hub and spoke’ design. Explaining the idea to the leadership team wasn’t enough; I wanted to bring it to life with a concept. Six weeks later, I had a fully working model! I used my knowledge of the firm and the client lifecycle to demonstrate how we could use Salesforce and other digital technologies to help our teams become even more client-centric. It was a real turning point on our digital journey.

What skills did you need to develop the concept?

Although I work in the realm of IT, I am not actually a developer. And you don’t need to be with Salesforce – it’s straightforward to use. When I needed to upskill, I turned to Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. It’s a great way to learn new skills at your own pace. Freshfields is passionate about upskilling – especially when it comes to technology. We’ve launched a new technology literacy initiative that will help our lawyers better understand how digitalisation is impacting different industries and our clients.

What are your digital transformation tips?

Keep customisation to a minimum. We have tried to use as much standard Salesforce functionality as possible, which means we only run around 3% of code on the platform. This makes it easier for us to take advantage of new features in the quarterly releases. Digitalisation can take you in lots of different directions, so it’s important to meet your original objectives before exploring more options.

By rising to the digital challenge, Freshfields will be able to not only deliver richer client experiences but also unlock new opportunities for growth.

Learn more about the key steps in the law firm’s digital journey here.

Learn how greater personalisation, automation, and integration are helping the global law firm deliver an exceptional client experience.

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