On the sidelines of the Legal Geek Conference 2017, we heard from Freshfields’ Ryan Taylor and Maziar Jamnejad on how start-ups can get a foot through the door with a law firm, and go on to build a working relationship.
Freshfields Associate Ryan Taylor – participating in a silent-disco-style discussion with Legatics Founder Anthony Seale – said:
There are two approaches to pitching to law firms if you are a start-up. Firstly go to the associates and lawyers who will actually use your tech, as these will be the people who can help push your technology through if they see how you can improve their ways of working.
“And secondly, you need to get a partner on board by explaining how your technology can help their clients. In every single client pitch a law firm is asked ‘how are you going to bring innovation to this deal and how are you going to save us money’.
Freshfields’ Global Innovation Consultant Maziar Jamnejad added:
The hype is damaging and it’s the realism that is missing. If you go to a partner and say I have an algorithm that works for A, B and C but I haven’t worked out D, E and F yet, I think people would go for that, especially if they have an innovation centre.
The difficulty comes in understanding what problems lawyers are facing in the first place. The tech needs to be informed by people at the sharp end. It could be a good idea to hire a junior lawyer and speak to them to understand how processes work.