After a bubbly stay in Reims (including a tour of the Taittinger caves and an au naturel lake swim with our friend from London), we arrived in Paris in high spirits. What we witnessed on a packed Monday surpassed all expectations, and meant Paris left the strongest impression on us for two main reasons.
Firstly, there was incredible optimism about the start up scene in Paris – ‘the best place to be’, according to Amiel. Some felt that the heightened spirit of open, conscious innovation and enterpreneurship is embodied by new President and former Economic Minister Emmanuel Macron. We could say the same about some of the 15 entrepreneurs we interviewed, such as 19 year-old entrepreneur, who impressed with his aims to make the process of finding a lawyer cheaper and more personal.
Other causes for optimism in the Paris lawtech scene include it’s potential to be the focal point for important francophone markets including Benelux, West Africa and Canada, and a competitive culture of entrepreneurship. How the market can better cooperate seems to be a burning question, although Monday’s fantastic Village de la Legal Tech event (a collaboration between Legal Geek, Village de la Justice and Open Law) was a fine example of a cooperative spirit, with yet more quality pitches, rewarded with travel grants.
Secondly, there was a shared vision in the industry for lawtech to provide greater access to justice, with change already happening on all fronts. New platforms, tools, information sources and communication styles are empowering citizens and startups with knowledge and effective legal advice, while a focus on transparency (Open Law) is supporting the understanding and application of the law. There’s even a sense that while regulators and the government are more in touch – for example, we heard how Amiel’s company had successfully pushed a change in civic law, while Change.org’s presence on Monday hinted at new links to civic mobilisations.
We can’t wait to share some of the interviews with you all. Next up though, an update on our mission to get to London’s special finale on Tuesday – only 460km and 20 hours after Monday’s event.
PS. Thanks to Marie and Telcecom Paris Incubator for our fantastic parking spot!
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