Sunday LegalTech Review – 12th August 2018

Big Four giant EY buys Riverview Law and pledges to ‘disrupt’ legal market

Riverview Law has been acquired by Ernst & Young as reported in Legal Cheek. According to an EY press release, the acquisition:

  • “helps give EY first-mover advantage in legal managed services”
  • “further establishes EY as a leading disruptor of legal services”
  • “will help to enhance and scale the EY Law legal managed services offering and help EY clients to increase efficiency, manage risk, improve service transparency and reduce costs of routine legal activities”

According to the press release the acquisition (conditional on the satisfaction of closing conditions) is expected to complete on 31st August 2018. Riverview Law will then become EY Riverview Law.

Mark Cohen of Legal Mosaic delivers a great opinion piece for Forbes, in which he sums up that:

“EY is upping its ‘legal’ delivery profile and helping to reshape buyer notions of what and from whom it means to buy ‘legal services.’ Lawyers no longer dictate when and for what tasks they are required. That spells more provider options, greater scale, more investment in technology, a longer-term approach, and enhanced efficiency for legal buyers.”

Cohen’s summary resonated with me and reminded me of a comment made at the Centre for Legal Innovations inaugural AI in Legal Practice Summit by Professor Dan Hunter of Swinburne Law School last October:

“AI in law is being driven into products rather than services. What’s more troubling is the use of AI in products being sold directly to consumers. We might have a lock on the legal profession, but we don’t have a lock on legal services. The profession doesn’t need to exist.”

Also worth reading is Richard Tromans view on the deal in What the EY/Riverview Deal Means – The Bigger Picture. Tromans concludes:

“The EY/Riverlaw deal matters, but it matters most because it is part of a far larger picture: the incremental industrialisation of the provision of legal services to the global economy and society as a whole.”

The legal services landscape is starting to shift. It is clear that we are only going to see more legal services offered to consumers where there is minimal (if any) contact with a lawyer for straightforward cases – leaving lawyers to focus on more complex matters which fall outside the learned capabilities of AI products.

The (version controlled) lawTech glossary

Alex Hamilton of Radiant Law has published a satirical lawTech glossary listing definitions that have been in some cases overhyped by legalTech. The glossary has been made available through version control platform Github, so that others can contribute and suggest changes to it. Thanks to Catherine Bamford of Bam Legal for sharing this through LinkedIn.

Law firm IPOs still don’t make much sense (but soon could)

Alex Novarese writes in Legal Business about how floating law firms is currently in vogue and that momentum is finally building more than ten years after the legal services act allowed the formation of Alternative Business Structures (ABS).  Novarese postulates that:

“Institutional legal services have historically been people businesses, but it is inevitable that technology and automation will turn more of that personal service into process, and a scalable one at that. That fundamentally changes the attraction for investors and the motive to bring in outside capital.”

Who will legalize Blockchain?

Laura Fauqueur writes in the LEXGOApp blog (in spanish) about her participation at the recent Legalize Blockchain event that took place in Porto. Fauqueur notes that she is not sure where the legal sector is heading with respect to blockchain, but that people are now more open-minded to its use than they have been in the past.

ILTACON 2018

ILTA’s 41st Annual Conference kicks off one week from now at National Harbour, Maryland. This years event promises to be “the best place to learn what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in legal technology”. I am very much looking forward to being part of this years event.

Table of Disruptive Technologies

Imperial College London have created a table of disruptive technologies as reported in Business Insider UK. The table is loosely based on the periodic table with each ‘element’ colour-coded, showing whether its happening now or very unlikely to happen (but could). Elements also have an ‘atomic number’, which links to examples the researchers found of the tech in action today. Thanks to Gary Gallen of Rradar for sharing this through LinkedIn.

Photo by Dan Roizer on Unsplash


Also published on Medium.

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