With only 400 startups worldwide and a market predicted at $400 billion, legal tech has a short history with a limitless future. Unsurprisingly, the nature of legal tech is extremely regulated with significant non-uniform regulation and risk-averse, disaggregated stakeholders.
However, this solid shield against innovation has only encouraged many gatherings of lawyers and technologists to happen in London to discuss, network and join arms together for the future of legal tech.
On the 10th December, Legal Geek hosted its biggest event yet with over 250 people registered for tickets ranging from software developers, tech entrepreneurs, AI and UX designers, lawyers and law firm strategy managers all the way to trainee lawyers.
A series of presentations was hosted with unique insights included Linklaters information architect Ben Gardner (Linklaters), David George (IBM Watson) and Tony Williams (Jomati).
Discussing use cases and progress of technology in large corporate firms, Ben mentioned the need for the view to be accepted that technology was to be seen not as a revolution, but an evolution within law firms. His opinion of most AI focussed legal tech was that it was a threat not to lawyers but to existing legal publishing companies. His solemn conclusion was that companies such as Thompson Reuters, West Law and Lexis Nexis Butterworth would be best positioned to acquire legal tech startups.
Moreover, in David’s presentation of IBM Watson, he stressed in his remarks on helping lawyers research information the vital need for lawyers to train Watson to understand subjective information. The major emphasis for IBM Watson was to recognise a system that was probabilistic rather than deterministic, thus requiring the role of lawyers to be central if the technology was ever going to scale.
Some interesting stories followed by Tony Williams, including accusations made against him by unnamed stakeholders in the 1990’s of wanting to cannibalise the legal business after making a proposal to introduce new client focused software on a subscription.
Presentations were followed by a showcase of London LawTech Startups at a variety of stages including Timothy Parker from CLAWS (Case Law Search), Julia Salasky from Crowd Justice and Evgeny Likhoded from Clausematch. The event continued with drinks in The Windmill until the early hours.
Review credit: Ella D’Arcy (thanks Ella 🙂 )