‘Legal technology’ essentially means the use of technology and software to provide and aid legal services. The developments present an opportunity for numerous reputable firms trying to make improve overall efficiency in order to adapt to a progressively popular agile working environment.
However, legal tech also allows smaller firms and sole practitioners to compete with the leading names in the field, giving them access to powerful research tools. High street firms struggling to acclimatise their practice are already falling behind, and so the rise of legal tech has substantially influenced the contemporary legal market.
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Numerous established law firms have already introduced forms of legal technology incubators by launching their own space for the rapidly-increasing legal start-up market in the UK.
These include the likes of magic circle firms Allen & Overy (with their legal tech incubator ‘Fuse’) and Clifford Chance (with their legal tech incubator ‘Create+65’), alongside Mishcon de Reya with their programme ‘MDR LAB’ and Barclays bank that also launched a new incubator in partnership with the Law Society.
Incubators are designed to bring great success to their corresponding companies. However, incubators require more than just space and positive intentions.
While that is important, a successful incubator must also be focused on specific challenges faced by firms. This can be through providing human and technical resources and mentorship. Successful incubators require meticulous planning with a combination of expertise with technical focus, organisational skills, and access to consumer opinion to solve problems faced.
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According to the Financial Times, the top five legal tech companies in the world are as follows.
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Undoubtedly, developments in the legal tech industry is bound to bolster not only departments within such law firms, but also their overall reputation as discussed earlier. Law firms recognise the greater working efficiencies and cost savings attached with legal tech.
A 2015 PwC report showed that improving the use of technology was the top priority (94%) in law firms in the following year. However, it’s arguable that these developments could replace many parts of a lawyers job with technology. Legal tech trends include the likes of Artificial Intelligence, Cloud computing, Big Data and legal research and Automation.
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The UK is home to global leading legal tech centres, with more settlements taking place in London than in any other city. Britain’s legal sector’s global appeal is partially in consequence to the popularity of English law.
Some examples of our successful legal tech startups include:
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