The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment

The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment

As part of our autumn tech special, we asked partners, innovation heads and CIOs to give a pragmatic take on the state of law firm tech

Just do it

‘In the next year or two, people will stop talking about AI and just use it. AI will just be embedded in the way firms work – like computers or emails. I don’t think in the long term we’ll have the situation where AI alone gives some firms a sustainable competitive advantage over others.’
Kevin Harris, director of IT, Taylor Wessing Continue reading “The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment”

Expectations high as Thomson Reuters and Slaughters ramp up legal tech incubator competition

Expectations high as Thomson Reuters and Slaughters ramp up legal tech incubator competition

Competition for access to legal tech start-ups is heating up as global multimedia giant Thomson Reuters and City blueblood Slaughter and May tool up for legal tech incubator launches early next year.

Thomson Reuters is accepting applications for its first dedicated legal tech incubator until the end of this month, with further details expected to be announced in December. The company is shifting its focus towards legal tech, having also hosted a fintech incubator in Zurich, following the sale its financial risk business earlier this year. Continue reading “Expectations high as Thomson Reuters and Slaughters ramp up legal tech incubator competition”

Start me up: Highly-rated legal AI platform Kira secures a record $50m in private equity backing

Start me up: Highly-rated legal AI platform Kira secures a record $50m in private equity backing

In a significant benchmark for the legal tech sector, leading AI platform Kira Systems has sealed $50m of private equity backing from New York-based Insight Venture Partners, as legal tech companies continue to prime for growth.

The investment, announced today (5 September), is the first external backing the AI company has received since its inception in 2011, with ex-Weil Gotshal & Manges associate and co-founder Noah Waisberg and Kira CTO Alexander Hudek initially funding the start-up themselves. The company saw year-on-year revenue growth of more than 100% for 2017. Continue reading “Start me up: Highly-rated legal AI platform Kira secures a record $50m in private equity backing”

Disputes Eye: A no-brainer? How tech can save your client £2m

Disputes Eye: A no-brainer? How tech can save your client £2m

With proposed procedural overhauls to disclosure going down like a lead balloon with the Law Society, technology is being touted as the much-needed saviour of time and money.

News in May that Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) declared itself the first firm to win a significant court victory on the back of using document review technology gave hope. Continue reading “Disputes Eye: A no-brainer? How tech can save your client £2m”

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”