12th July – Law firms climb aboard the AI wagon

The Economist picks up on the use of machine learning for document review, arguing that “algorithms could relive some of the legal profession’s tedium” when the task at hand is pouring over large piles of paperwork looking for clauses that could make or break a case.

12th July – Meet The Women Of LawGeex Disrupting Legal

An article on the LawGeex blog notes that the majority (53%) of the company’s management-level employees are women, in an article looking at women in law, tech and legalTech in particular.

10th July-  AI and the Law Firm of 2030: An interview with Emily Foges of Luminance

Ari Kaplan speaks with Emily Foges, CEO of Luminance, in an interview published through Legal IT Insider. Luminance is an AI platform that reads and understands contracts and other legal documents.

6th July – Linklaters hires Head of Innovation

Linklaters has announced it has appointed Shilpa Bhandarkar as the firm’s first Head of Innovation. Bhandarkar will lead a team based out of the firm’s Innovation Lab in London.

Paul Lewis, partner at Linklaters, said:

“Innovation is not just about adopting technology enabled products, it is also about changing the way we work with clients, how we manage our people and how we organise ourselves. It is central to the future of our business and Shilpa will help to both crystallise and deliver on our vision.”

Commenting on her appointment, Shilpa said:

“Linklaters has always embraced new ideas and technologies that enable it to provide a best in class service to its clients and a fulfilling work environment for its people. … As a people business, innovation, however defined, must ultimately result in a better experience for both our clients and our people.”

4th July – Lord Chancellor announces new panel to boost Law Tech industry

Lord Chancellor David Gauke has announced that industry experts will join forces to help boost the UK’s LegalTech industry in a new government-backed initiative.

In a speech at the Lord Mayor’s Dinner for HM Judges at Mansion House on Wednesday evening, the Lord Chancellor unveiled plans for a panel of industry professionals to support and accelerate the development and adoption of innovative new legal technologies.

The panel will be chaired by The Law Society’s incoming President Christina Blacklaws, and according to a Government press release the group will:

“provide direction to the legal sector and help foster an environment in which new technology can thrive.”

According to the press release the Government:

“recognises the importance of embracing cutting-edge initiatives to ensure the UK’s £24billion legal services sector continues to grow and retain its world-leading reputation.”

There are fears that other jurisdictions such as Singapore are in danger of overtaking the UK as a centre of legal excellence through legal innovation. In 2016 the Government of Singapore launched its Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan (RIE2020 Plan) to develop an innovation-driven economy and pledged $13.6billion in R&D over the five years. In January it also launched the Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) and a Professional Services Industry Transformation Map.

The UK does not want to lose its place as a global legal centre, especially as our future relationship with the rest of Europe continues to be uncertain. It is important that the UK continues to be lead the way in legal services, and one way it can do is is to leverage the benefits and opportunities that innovation through LegalTech can bring.

4th July – Pulling teeth and permission to fail

Catherine Bamford of BamLegal writes in Legal It Insider about her experiences of working with law firms looking to use legalTech to automate tasks (or just to changes/improvements in general) and how that process looks from her perspective.

Bamford states that “Innovation and disruption in legal industry is painfully slow and there is too much back covering going on”, but cites Jonathan Patterson’s approach at DWF Ventures and Radiant Law as exceptions.

BamLegal are a team of Legal Engineers with legal and technology backgrounds, specialising in legal document automation.

3rd July – Women in (Legal) Tech – planting acorns

In a guest post for Legal IT Insider, Thereza Snyman (a consultant at legal IT consultancy Baskerville Drummond) talks about the current initiatives to boost diversity in legalTech including Legal IT Insider’s Legal Tech Diversity (LTD) group and the DELTAS group.

3rd July – Clifford Chance launches two new innovation units

Clifford Chance has announced the launch of two new units, Clifford Chance Applied Solutions and Clifford Chance Create. According to the press release:

“Clifford Chance Applied Solutions – the home for the firm’s expanding range of digital products, powered by the latest technology, designed to provide increasingly efficient, consistent and high-quality outcomes to large-scale client challenges. Products in the Clifford Chance Applied Solutions suite will be run in separate ventures and using a range of flexible business models that will enable more effective roll-out. Existing successful products, such as CCDr@ft and the firm’s MiFID II compliance tool, will become part of this unit.

Clifford Chance Create – will bring together the firm’s initiatives that underpin its innovation ecosystem, ensuring the firm stays at the forefront of the advances that will shape the sector and the firm’s future client service model.”

Matthew Layton, Managing Partner or Clifford Chance states that:

“There is a huge amount of interest in innovation in service delivery and in technology-based products, both from clients and from our own people, so this is an exciting step for the firm as it will enable us to accelerate our existing rate of progress.”

2nd July – Facebook acquiring Allen & Overy Fuse startup Bloomsbury AI

Techcrunch reports that Facebook is set to acquire Bloomsbury AI, a natural language processing (NLP) startup whose core product is Cape – an AI that reads text documents and answers questions about their contents. According to Techcrunch sources:

“Facebook plans to deploy the company’s team and tech to work on combating fake news and to tackle other content issues.”

Bloomsbury AI were also part of the second cohort of companies to join Allen & Overy’s Fuse legalTech incubator, however Legal Business reported on 5th July that the Facebook deal:

“will involve acquiring the 11-strong team at Bloomsbury in what is known as an ‘acquire-hire’: buying a company for the expertise of its staff rather than its offering.”

Legal Business also notes that Allen & Overy is:

“unlikely to replace the start-up that has been snapped up by Facebook just two months after it joined Fuse.”

With the Government putting strategies in place to help us keep our spot as the leading jurisdiction for legal services by pushing for greater legal services innovation, it’s sad to think that Bloomsbury AI may just be broken down as spare parts by the Facebook behemoth – though building tools to combat fake news might be what our country needs more right now!

2nd July – Helping Independent Firms Grow Up With AI

Jill Wiley speaks with LegalTech News about her upcoming role as chairwoman of the board for global law firm alliance Meritas and how she plans to launch an international task force on the use of AI. Wiley is looking to get independent law firms thinking about technology innovation and artificial intelligence.

Wiley talks about the importance of engaging with AI on an international level and tells LegalTech News:

“using AI innovations effectively in the delivery of legal services across borders will likely differentiate the lawyers who stand out as their clients’ trusted business partners from those who cannot adequately serve their clients’ needs on a global basis.”

2nd July – $200M In Two Months Says Investors No Longer Snubbing Legal Tech

Above the Law points to the investment of over $200m into LegalTech companies over the last two months as a sign that LegalTech is in vogue for investment right now.

2nd July – Does AI Have a Place in the Courts?

Caroline Spiezio writes in The Recorder about how experts weight the risks and benefits of using AI in the courts following a panel discussion at the recent US-China AI Tech Summit hosted by the AI Alliance of Silicon Valley.


Photo by Floriane Vita on Unsplash

Also published on Medium.

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