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ABBYY Helps International Law Firm Respond Better to Lawyer and Client Demands

Legal | Image & PDF to Text

Customer Overview

Name Stibbe
Headquarters Bruxelles, Belgium
Industry Legal

The time-consuming, expensive and error-prone manual processing of paper documents is to be minimized


A text recognition software that converts multi-language scanned documents, PDFs and camera images into searchable and editable formats


The time to access important content has significantly reduced. This has consequently had a beneficial impact for all clients on billable time.

Stibbe is an internationally recognised full-service legal practice that is well positioned for cross-border transactions and multi-jurisdictional issues due to its longstanding experience and an extensive international network of offices. Stibbe puts great emphasis on offering customised solutions to each of their clients. Recently they sought a solution to improve the processes associated with working with important legal documents.


Stibbe focuses much attention on the quality of the services provided by its lawyers to Belgian and international companies as well as public sector clients. Every client's needs are different, every case is different, and they are all treated accordingly. In order to provide value in legal services, they believe it is essential to understand the client and its position on the market. To better meet the client's needs, the firm assembles teams whose goal is to develop client-tailored solutions.

The problem of document conversion, however, had never really been considered a priority, so it presented an ideal opportunity to make a change. At Stibbe conversion of important documents is often a rush job. In the past when a lawyer received an image or a hard copy of a document, either the lawyer or an assistant would have to retype the contents into another program such as Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint. This time-consuming manual work was adversely affecting the quality and speed of the service Stibbe was providing its clients.

“Documents are at the core of any legal business, whether that be contracts, policies, court decisions or other important papers. In today’s hi-tech environment our clients expect nothing less than an efficient and integrated document service from a leading law firm like ours. We therefore attach great importance to implementing the right technology to guarantee this efficient service and to ensure effective working methods by our fee earners and staff.”
Olivier Clevenbergh, Managing Partner of Stibbe


ICT Project Manager Stefan Loeners was the person responsible for finding the right solution to deal with Stibbe’s document processing. After conducting a search of available products Loeners chose ABBYY FineReader as a best-fit solution. ABBYY FineReader is a text recognition, or OCR, software that converts scanned documents, PDFs and camera images, into searchable and editable formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel. Its advanced recognition capabilities provide full access to information locked on paper and in images and virtually eliminates time-consuming retyping and reformatting. Best of all, any document can be digitally archived, in searchable PDF format for example, which allows it to be easily and quickly retrieved at a later date.

“My mission was to identify and implement new technologies that meet our lawyers’ demands. OCR was at the very top of my list because of the huge increases in productivity it offers, and accordingly it was the first software application I searched for. I had known ABBYY FineReader for many years, and it was my conclusion after reading several reviews published in the international press that it is still recognised around the world as a top OCR product. Because of the accurate and high quality recognition, both very important for law firms such as ours, we felt safe that we were making the right choice.”
ICT Project Manager Stefan Loeners

ABBYY FineReader’s accuracy, its speed and the program’s user-friendliness each played an important role in the decision process. Another important factor was the number of recognition languages. Almost every Belgian company has to deal with at least a few languages on a daily basis. Dutch, French and English are the most common, but thanks to the international scope of Stibbe's operations, it is not unusual to see documents in additional languages. Thanks to an ability to recognise 186 languages there is no task that ABBYY FineReader cannot handle when it comes to multi-language documents.


In 2010, over 10,000 OCR jobs were performed at Stibbe on a range of document types and sizes, from one page to several hundreds of pages long. Most often the job performed is OCR to Word, Excel, PDF or PDF/A. Previously a lawyer at Stibbe often had to wait half a day or longer to have his document retyped by an assistant. Automating the conversion of documents with ABBYY FineReader has significantly reduced the time a lawyer needs to access important content and this new process has consequently had a beneficial impact for all clients on billable time.

“ABBYY supplies the tool to do the job, period,” states Loeners. “Doing without FineReader has become just unimaginable, as we simply cannot afford not to have a tool for OCR and document conversion. Stibbe counts on ABBYY FineReader to help us to meet our clients’ expectations.”
Stefan Loeners, IT Project Manager
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