Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund

Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund

A £20m government fund for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis in law, accounting and insurance is being welcomed as a positive step for what is ‘under-funded and under-thought’ research and development (R&D) in the legal tech space.

Earlier this month, the government launched the fund as part of a wider drive to address challenges through research funding agency UK Research and Innovation and its Innovate UK arm. It is the latest development in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which focuses on improving UK science and business innovation. Continue reading “Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund”

Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett

Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett

I often look for knowledge outside of the legal profession to help me develop strategy for our [Microsoft’] legal business. I recently came across Warren Buffett’s 1992 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter, and this passage on franchises vs. businesses caught my attention:

An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) is needed or desired; (2) is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) is not subject to price regulation. The existence of all three conditions will be demonstrated by a company’s ability to regularly price its product or service aggressively and thereby to earn high rates of return on capital. Moreover, franchises can tolerate mis-management. Inept managers may diminish a franchise’s profitability, but they cannot inflict mortal damage. Continue reading “Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett”

Trust me, I’m a lawyer… technology and the evolving role of GCs

Trust me, I’m a lawyer… technology and the evolving role of GCs

Academic and Thinkers50 honouree Rachel Botsman is focused on trust. Of late, that focus has looked at how technology has shifted our understanding of trust and impacted on both our personal and professional lives.

In particular, Botsman draws a distinction between ‘trust’ and ‘trustworthiness’. The former is generally thought of as a state of mind engendered by the latter. ‘Trustworthiness’, therefore, can be defined as a set of qualities that inspire trust, and is arguably more measurable, because trust can be influenced by emotional factors. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two, but they do not always follow on from each other; hence we can instinctively trust someone, or feel that someone is trustworthy – without trusting them yet. Continue reading “Trust me, I’m a lawyer… technology and the evolving role of GCs”

The last word: New order

The last word: New order

As part of our technology special, we canvass the experts and ask where the legal start-up market is headed

Most will fail

‘1,400 legal tech companies are not going to succeed. This is the normal curve for any disruption of an industry: we’re going to see failures and people abandoning software, you’re going to see a consolidation phase. I see some of these failures freaking people out, but that’s normal. Lawyers have to understand in early-stage entrepreneurship most companies don’t make it. Failure is not investing in a little company that went under; it’s the portfolio not generating an overall great return.’
Dan Jansen, chief executive, Nextlaw Ventures Continue reading “The last word: New order”

Slater and Gordon to launch new corporate entity alongside plans for £30m legal tech investment

Slater and Gordon to launch new corporate entity alongside plans for £30m legal tech investment

Revamped personal injury specialist Slater and Gordon (S&G) is set to roll its legal and former Quindell divisions into a single corporate entity and has earmarked £30m for investment in new technology.

The battle-worn firm today (11 May) announced plans to unify the two entities – Slater and Gordon Lawyers and Slater Gordon Solutions (SGS) – via an alternative business structure (ABS) in the coming months. Continue reading “Slater and Gordon to launch new corporate entity alongside plans for £30m legal tech investment”

Irresistible forces

Irresistible forces

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Looking at the top of the market, how is buying behaviour changing?

Donny Ching, Royal Dutch Shell: I see increasing sophistication in sourcing legal services. I am sure you all have experienced tenders and reverse tenders. More corporates are looking at using different tools, also driven by the contracting and procurement [C&P] organisation. Procuring legal services used to be the last bastion, where C&P could not touch. That is changing. We hired our own pricing analyst sourcing officer a couple of years ago. He has done phenomenal work and opened our eyes to what is possible. Continue reading “Irresistible forces”

The last word: Machines and myths

The last word: Machines and myths

‘Everyone is on their own voyage of discovery. But is any law firm leveraging AI in a material way? I don’t think they are – yet.’

Derek Southall, Gowling WLG

Can legal AI match the hype? Legal Business asks key figures about the future for law technology


PUBLICITY KING

‘Of course they’ll have prices, but then you’ll try to work your way around those prices. The reason you’re seeing lots of press releases that say “law firm signs up to use [tech provider] Kira” is because Kira will give you a discount if you do that. Honestly, “law firm uses Kira” isn’t really news, let’s be brutally honest. But Kira will say: “I’ll give you a 10% publicity discount if you do it.” Why not? Why wouldn’t I do that? That then helps Kira to tell a story that says Kira is already being used by Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields… Suddenly if I’m law firm number 72 and I see all these big law firms, I’m thinking, shit, I’d better use that too.’

Nick West, chief strategy officer, Mishcon de Reya

Continue reading “The last word: Machines and myths”