This week a cohort of Clyde & Co innovators attended the launch of the LawTech Eagle Lab in London, with guest Richard Tromans, Founder of Artificial Lawyer. As a Lab founding partner, it was an honour to attend the event, which brought together over 200 people who are unlocking the potential the UK has to become a legaltech centre of excellence. The legal services sector has been one of the great success stories for Britain, generating £24bn in 2015 and a trade surplus which has almost doubled over the last decade to $4bn in 2016. One of the key mechanisms to ensuring the UK legal system remains flexible and adapts to the challenges of an ever changing commercial world lies in embracing and adopting innovative technology.
As part of the launch, we heard from leading industry figures of their support for the Lab, including:
- Simon Davis, Vice President of the Law Society, who said that the Society’s support reflects their commitment to ensuring the UK continues to be one of the world's leading legal services industries, as competition from abroad, in particular in Canada and Singapore, grows increasingly strong.
- Lord Keen of Elie, from the Ministry of Justice, who made clear that legal innovation is an MOJ top priority and referred to the government’s recent introduction of “start-up visas”, to encourage entrepreneurs to set up in the UK, as an example of the government’s commitment to business innovation here.
- Jeremy Watson CBE, Professor of Engineering Systems at University College London, who outlined the three pillars of success for lawtech: innovation in thought; innovation in services; and innovation in processes.
Six lawtechs exhibited their solutions on the night, including Thirdfort, a property settlement product which enables lawyers to outsource the handling of client funds and ID/KYC checks, Legatics, a deal platform that optimises processes and allows for real-time visibility over deal processing and Avvoka, an automated contract creation, live-negotiation, workflow and analytics tool.
The sector is generating strong interest because of the potential for technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain encryption to transform legal services. Lawtech community Legal Geek, which is also backing the Eagle Lab, predicts that the number of start-ups in the sector will double this year.