Law Centres are a vital crutch for many people in the UK when facing, or bringing legal action. Yet their very existence is under threat. On Tuesday night at Eagle Labs in Notting Hill, Legal Geek hosted an event where Nesta held a brainstorming roundtable to discuss their SRA access to justice project and our Law for Good arm hosted a round table to crowdsource and share ideas about how the decline in Law Centre funding can be mitigated.
— Eagle Labs LawTech Incubator (@Eagle_Labs_Law) February 5, 2019
Present amongst the guests were Law Society President, Christina Blacklaws; Law Centre Federation Director, Julie Bishop; as well as Nesta’s Head of Better Markets, Chris Gorst, and Programme Manager, Nicola Tulk.
The evening began with Julie Bishop highlighting how Law Centres are increasingly having to do more with less:
“Law Centres have lost over 40% of their funding in the past 5 years yet the most vulnerable in society still face the same problems. Sixty percent of those who come to us are women and we see an increasing number of people on an income of zero, whilst a higher average of people with disabilities require our assistance. We want the advice of the technologists here on how we can use our resources better, we need a hand.”
Brainstorming practical solutions was the focus for the (sold out) 40+ strong guests and the list of potential revenue generation and resource management strategies included:
- Targeting the UK’s SME market
- Using premises more creatively e.g. renting desks
- Build a tech product which Law Centres can utilise, own and can generate revenue from
- Develop model contracts and templates to monetise
- Utilising trainees on secondment from law firms
- Acting as consultants in specialist areas e.g. immigration
- A stronger political lobby fighting for more funding
- And many more!
We managed to grab a few interviews at the event. Check out how Australia avoided funding cuts to legal aid, as explained by DLA Piper’s Olivia Clark below
Interview filmed at the event:
Law Society President Christina Blacklaws underlined her personal passion for helping Law Centres in contributing significantly to discussions during both roundtables as well as indicating that the government’s LawTech Delivery Panel – which she chairs – has a desire to move into the area of access-to-justice at some stage. Watch Christina’s summary of the event below.
Interview filmed at the event with Christina Blacklaws:
Legal Geek’s co-host Nesta are a global innovation foundation, who were recently featured on Legal Geek’s LawTech Initiatives WTF summary. They are working with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to improve Access to Justice. Watch the video below to find out more about Nesta including their Challenge Prize fund of £700,000 to support and accelerate the ideas of law firms and others to improve access to justice using AI.
Interview filmed at the event with Nesta’s Head of Better Markets, Chris Gorst, and Programme Manager, Nicola Tulk:
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