Throw forward to: the Legal Geek Road Trip 2018

We’ve almost crossed the threshold of being closer to the 2018 Legal Geek Road Trip than we are to this summer’s inaugural adventure.

Which is super exciting for Legal Geek and means we can start warming up Betty (our 1971 VW camper van) to once again cruise the autobahns, autoroutes and snelwegen of Europe in search of the thriving LegalTech communities on the continent. Also – watch out – because as part of our build-up to the 2018 road trip we will be releasing the interviews recorded with start-ups on this year’s trip every week from January onwards.

In our first ever road trip in June we teamed up with the lovely, cutting-edge folk at Nextlaw Labs, part of Dentons, who not only kept us in petrol and compressed air for our 14-day blast but also ensured that local Dentons lawyers were present at every stage of the road trip.

So we were delighted to hear this week what benefits Dentons’ lawyers, many of them junior associates, got out of the road trip as they let us earwig in on a feedback session they held for some of the lawyers from different European offices who attended a stage on the 2017 road trip.

This extract features Dentons Innovation Assistant Julien Lasala – who rode shotgun with Jimmy throughout the road trip – speaking with Fabian Hollwitz, a Dentons IP and technology associate in Berlin; and Aurore Ancion, a Dentons corporate associate in Brussels.

Julien Lasala: “What are your reflections on the Legal Geek road trip events you attended in Berlin and Brussels? What were the most interesting and relevant points for your market?”

Fabian Hollwitz: “First and foremost, the participants showed a great passion in their pitches. They were also very open to questions from someone who is not an actual programmer. This impression certainly stuck with me.”

Aurore Ancion: “All of the projects I saw presented in Brussels were truly promising and interesting. In fact, most of the people presenting were lawyers or had a legal background. So they already had good ideas regarding the type of innovative tools and new technologies lawyers would need to increase their productivity.”

JL: “Why is  innovation in the legal space important?”

FH: “Technology is boosting productivity in every economic field. As such, the market expects that everybody performs at a higher level. Law firms are met with these expectations as well, and unless they prove that they are up to the task, customers will become disappointed.”

AA: “Legal innovation is important to facilitate our day-to-day professional and private lives. Being able to use practical tools and technologies improves our productivity, e.g. tools that would provide and create contract templates, tools that would help us sort client files, tools to find client details more easily or even just our emails.”

JL: “What do you think lawyers and big law firms should and could do to support legal innovation in general and the legal tech community?”

FH: “I would love to see an interaction with actual programmers, and law firms offering programming lessons for lawyers.”

AA: “Lawyers could assist and advise start-ups on the legal aspects of creating legal tech such as intellectual property law issues. I believe we have a practice group at Dentons, the Venture Tech Group, providing such advice, but it’s not limited to legal tech. Lawyers could furthermore share with these start-ups the type of tools and new technologies we would need in our day-to-day professional life that would facilitate and help us in being more effective and productive. In short, engage in more communication.”

JL: “What do you think the legal tech community should change or bring that it is not providing so far?

AA: “The legal tech community should advertise the new technologies that it offers to its customers more. It should furthermore demonstrate how these new technologies are simple to use and how they will actually help and ease customers’ every day professional and private lives. Our generation, while curious, tends to be indolent. The legal tech community should therefore provide straightforward tools and explanations on how to use them.”