Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone has launched its latest legal tech startup programme, which starts online in September. Sprint Studio is a free, 12-week intensive program to help early-stage startups around the world to develop innovative legal tech products, in particular to develop their proof of concept into a market-ready product. It focuses on initial customer development and building a marketable minimum viable product (MVP). 

Participants will be working on the incremental development of their MVP to create a strong feedback loop with potential users.  

The cohort will engage with online content developed by industry experts, while working closely with various LIZ mentors to progress through program milestones. 

Sign up here: http://www.legalinnovationzone.ca/sprint-studio/ 

The Legal Innovation Zone, commonly referred to as LIZ, was the first incubator in Canada – and possibly anywhere – dedicated to legal tech. 

LIZ was founded around four years ago by managing director, former attorney general and Ontario MPP Chris Bentley, who before entering politics was a criminal defence and employment lawyer.  He also founded the Law Practice Program, an alternative path to qualification, and both that and LIZ are housed at Ryerson University. 

LIZ supports start-ups, R&D for law firms and businesses and practical reform initiatives.  It can house 15-20 start-ups at any one time.  It is free to them, funded by the university and also paid for by projects underway at the incubator.  LIZ doesn’t take any equity or interest in the start-ups. 

When Legal IT Insider editor Caroline Hill met Bentley during a trip to Toronto in 2019, he said: “We are trying to create change and help to build better solutions. We want to give consumers better access to justice”. 

Bentley has an interesting concept of what access to justice means.  “It’s about law in the way you need it, at the time you need it, without a thousand caveats.  That’s access to justice.” 

The least able to access justice are often middle-income families who aren’t eligible for support and, for Bentley, it’s about “being able to access justice at the end of the day, after your day job.” 

You can read more about that conversation and Toronto’s legal tech scene here: https://legaltechnology.com/toronto-part-one-the-incubator-scene/