I’m speaking at The Junior Lawyers Division forum at the Law Society in September about what legal technology means for or to junior lawyers and had a fantastic conversation this week with an incredibly bright young lawyer on that topic. Law firms are buying shiny toys and talking about training young lawyers to code despite the fact that many lawyers don’t understand how to use a fraction of the software they interact with every day.
In its third funding round The Link App led by founder and CEO Lauren Riley – one of the comparatively very few female founders in legal tech – has secured £340k in funding led by NPIF-Mercia Equity Finance as well as existing and new angel investors, bringing total investment in the business to £500k.
If you were in any doubt about the attractiveness of alternative legal suppliers to investors, this week may have set you straight, as LegalZoom announced a record $500 million secondary investment led by Francisco Partners and GPI Capital.
As part of its recently unveiled strategy to transform and streamline the contracts process, DocuSign, which floated on NASDAQ in April, is set to acquire cloud-based document generation and contract lifecycle management software company SpringCM for around $220m in cash.
Having made its contract analytics and legal document platform ContraxSuite open source and therefore free to use and modify in July 2017, LexPredict has partnered with global law firm Baker McKenzie, which, in a significant step for BigLaw, is now deploying a custom-designed version of the tool.
Updated Exclusive: HighQ doubles North American market share with acquisition of local competitor Legal Anywhere
In its first-ever acquisition, UK-headquartered collaboration platform HighQ has acquired its smaller US legal file sharing rival Legal Anywhere in a deal that sees HighQ double its market share in North America, we can reveal.
“I’m solving the one problem I have hundreds of times a year”: Eversheds Sutherland adopts SimplyAgree’s closing technology
The US arm of Eversheds Sutherland has adopted signing and closing technology SimplyAgree to support its transactional practices, with plans to roll out the tool across multiple practice groups including M&A, private equity, venture capital, banking and finance, and real estate. Conversations are also informally already underway internally regarding using the closing technology in the UK.
Having launched its legal operations health check in April, Melbourne-headquartered legal tech provider Xakia reports that in-house counsel on five continents have now completed the online assessment, with their responses providing a quantitative look at the real state of legal operations in departments of all sizes. Spoiler alert, you may not be surprised to learn that pain points include document management systems, knowledge management tools, albeit a large number still don’t have a DMS.
eDiscovery News: Linklaters launches global eDiscovery service + Active Navigation appoints Dean Gonsowski as CRO
Linklaters is gearing up to manage all aspects of the client disclosure process in-house with the launch of a new global eDiscovery service, which leverages Servient’s advanced eDiscovery platform in the cloud.
“The big thing in 2018 will be for law firms to start introducing chatbots onto their websites never mind getting actual content on there first for the chatbot to reference.” In his first ‘chat with chatbots’, Brian Inkster puts LawDroid through its paces. And gives up.
Clifford Chance has reduced the technology toolkit that it presents fee-earners with day-to-day from around 25 different systems to three – Kira Systems; Relativity; and transaction management platform Workshare Transact – with engagement said to be “through the roof” as a result. The reduced toolkit is part of Clifford Chance’s best delivery strategy, which focuses on making sure that fee-earners are using the right tools in order to optimise value for clients.
The July/August 2018 issue of the Orange Rag – the Legal IT Insider newsletter – is out now – read it here free!
Top stories include… Whoop, whoop the new Legal IT Insider Top 200 is out now + NetDocuments on 26 June had a major peak time outage of three hours and forty-three minutes in the United States, which was caused by human error in the deployment of a new global directory. The cloud-provider has launched new live status pages for the US, Europe and Australia + Big Law firms could be years away from a full move to Microsoft Office 365 – despite the fact that much of Microsoft’s investment is focussed on its cloud-hosted suite of services and most BigLaw firms have the move on their roadmap – because Microsoft is continuing to refuse to hand over the encryption keys. We speak to Microsoft, Linklaters and Perkins Coie.
At the recent launch of the Barclays / Law Society Eagle Lab law tech incubator in London, Lord Keen of Elie (Richard Keen QC) said, “There is a lawtech revolution happening all over the world and I want to make sure the UK not only keeps pace with it but leads it.” Clearly as a law tech startup ourselves, we wholeheartedly agree. But there are also fundamental barriers to entry in some aspects of the legal industry that may have gone unnoticed. A prime example of this: access to information, says Gavin Sheridan, co-founder of Vizlegal.
Litigation law firm Stewarts has announced that their commercial disputes group will be working with litigation analytics start-up Solomonic, to pilot the release of their new platform. Stewarts are exploring how data science and litigation analytics can add to their case preparation and strategy.
“It is no secret that the legal profession is undergoing profound change,” wrote New York Law School Dean Anthony Crowell in the introduction to the recently released Market Research Study to Explore Opportunities for New York Law School Students. “More than ever, lawyers at firms and corporate legal departments must be fluent in the technical and operational needs of their clients and organizations.”
In May we reported that Anthony Stables had been appointed as CIO at Mayfair real estate and private wealth firm Forsters, and we subsequently caught up with Stables and Janders Dean about the technology and change management strategy review underpinning his appointment.
Travers Smith has decided on a replacement for retiring IT director Ann Cant, we can reveal, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s interim chief technology officer Oliver Bethell set to join the UK top 50 firm in September as CTO.
Big news just in from Prosperoware, which has closed an as yet undisclosed funding round led by Philadelphia-based emerging-growth VC Rittenhouse Ventures, which invests in innovative business-to-business software companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. The capital raised will be used to expand Prosperoware’s product applications, marketing and sales activities, and geographic footprint.
London headquartered managed legal services boutique Radiant Law has entered into a joint venture with Toronto-based flexi legal resource provider Conduit Law, in which Radiant’s processes and technology will be applied to help clients in the North American market handle their commercial contracts in a more efficient way.
In December 2017, Marie Bernard was named as the new CEO of Nextlaw Labs, to coincide with a change of focus and strategy for Dentons accelerator of early stage technology. Caroline Hill talked to her about innovation as a service and how true collaboration with tech partners and competitors alike is needed to achieve meaningful progress and disruption.
In the wake of a report last year in which the CGI and the influential Police Foundation indicated that technology such as blockchain could be the solution for creating greater levels of efficiency within the justice system, digital evidence management provider CaseLines has applied for a patent to use blockchain within its platform, which has already been rolled out in courts across the UK and UAE.
There’s a further shake up of leadership in former largely family founded and run document management system provider NetDocuments, as COO Josh Baxter takes over the top CEO role from Matt Duncan, who will become executive chairman. Long term sales leader Marc Duncan becomes vice president of strategic sales in the Clearlake Capital-backed company.
In a wide-ranging report out today (17 July), PwC has published analysis that it says demonstrates that artificial intelligence and related technologies will create as many jobs as they displace in the UK over the next 20 years, with the ‘professional, scientific and technical’ sector forecast to be one of the biggest winners.