Legal Geek breaks new ground with first cyber security event

Legal Geek took its first foray into the world of cyber security and data protection on Tuesday 28th March 2017 with a meetup for over 100 LawTech professionals at Campus London in Old Street with LawTech start-ups encouraged to see opportunity not obstacles.

The evening, sponsored by new Legal Geek partner Axiom, featured three keynote speakers, two pitches from cyber start-ups and a dose of pizza-fuelled networking.

The keynotes came from fascinating and diverse corners of the cyber security and data protection industry with Baker McKenzie’s Dyann Heward-Mills, Mishcon de Reya’s Joe Hancock, and Navigant’s John Boles all taking to the stage for 10-minute bursts.

The top-line themes emerging from the talks included the legal industry’s room for improvement in the area of cyber security; the potential friction between advancing technology and the law, especially with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018; and the need for a greater appreciation across all industries that cyber security is as much about human behaviour as it is about cyber technology.

The panellists were agreed that for LawTech start-ups, installing cyber security and data protection systems into their operations can seem a daunting prospect. But by building in these systems from the very beginning, start-ups can save themselves time and resources, as well as prevent future data breaches.

Photo of John Boles speaking at the first Legal Geek Cyber Security event

Navigant Director for Global Legal Technology Solutions, John Boles, said: “If you can demonstrate that you can do the basics then that is a great start. Know where your data is stored, and train your staff to be vigilant to data breaches.

“The nice thing about being a start-up is that you are mobile – you can adapt. But you have to build information security into your business.”


Photo of Dyann Heward-Mills speaking at the Legal Geek First Cyber Security event

Whilst Baker McKenzie Partner, Dyann Heward-Mills, outlined the scenario start-ups can face from the opposite perspective: once a data breach has occurred.

“If there has been a data breach, the first question they will ask you is what policies did you have in place and what training have you done for your staff who handle data? So building in privacy by design is really important.”


Photo of John Hancock speaking at the Legal Geek First Cyber Security event

Meanwhile Mishcon de Reya’s Cyber Security Lead Joe Hancock picked out three areas where the legal profession could benefit from innovative tech start-ups:

“A key area in general is enabling law firms to share information in a secure manner. Within that area being able to use confidential data in a secure and non-confidential manner would be very interesting.

“Finally taking solutions that are in place in bigger firms and re-sizing them so they can work in mid-sized to smaller firms would be very useful, as often solutions for big companies just do not work when applied to smaller companies.”


Following the keynotes and Q&A session, two start-ups – London-based CheckRecipient and Munich-based Alyne – each gave short pitches.

CheckRecipient’s Head of Business Development, Abhirukt Sapru, said: “CheckRecipient prevents mis-addressed emails using machine learning with a minimal disruption to the end user.”

CheckRecipient won the Legal Geek Award for best Machine Intelligence Start-Up in 2016.

Alyne is a software-as-a-service provider enabling organisations of all industries and sizes to mature their cyber security, risk management and compliance capabilities. Alyne is currently participating on the 2017 Barclays Accelerator programme. Chief Customer Officer, Stefan Sulistyo, said: “It’s great to be in the UK as the industry is more receptive to new ways of thinking than in Germany when it comes to RegTech.”

Legal Geek founder Jimmy Vestbirk commented on the inaugural cyber security event:

“Cyber security is a fundamental topic in the legal world right now and that’s validated by the 100+ people attending tonight and the 300 people on the waiting list who we, unfortunately, weren’t able to accommodate.

“The quality of the talks given by Dyann, Joe and John were exceptionally high, we’re enormously grateful to them for their time and for lending the room their experience.

“For start-ups, cyber security is so important because, as our speakers made the point, one of the first questions you come up against when pitching as a start-up is “what systems do you have in place to prevent a data breach?”

“The area of cyber security also presents so many opportunities for start-ups to provide relevant and necessary services for the established firms and it was great to have guys from CheckRecipient and Alyne down to outline their businesses.

“Finally, tonight was a big moment for Legal Geek as we welcomed tech-enabling legal services firm Axiom on board as a partner and linked up with Campus London to host our event. A massive thank you to those guys for making tonight happen.”

For more photos from the event have a look at the photo gallery on our Facebook profile.