With more LawTech emerging onto the legal market seemingly every day, the industry’s reliance on technology is only going to grow. We’re seeing more e-discovery than ever, and with AI and machine learning predicted to continue to shake up how lawyers work; it’s an exciting time. And while LawTech was seen in the early days as the preserve of tech companies and then a growing niche ‘start-up’ scene, now we’re seeing many of the large and Magic Circle law firms getting heavily involved in the area.
2018 saw an explosion in LawTech investment which led to the expansion of DocuSign, LegalXoom and Exterro. But what about those newer and less publicised start ups? Take a look at five of the most interesting and exciting legal tech start ups on the market right now.
Many in the legal industry will be well aware of Kira Systems, a Toronto-based start up that uses machine learning software to extract and analyse text within contracts and other legal documents. Kira’s models cover everything from due diligence and M&A deals to non-disclosure agreements and commitment letters. Founded in 2010, Kira was one of the first solutions on the market for contract review and analysis, and now are industry leaders when it comes to using AI in the legal industry. Firms such as Goodwin, Allen & Overy and Freshfields have implemented Kira Systems into their practices, and with US $50 million investment in 2018, it’s clear this start up is going from strength to strength.
Based in London, Luminance counts 10 of the top 100 law firms globally amongst its customer base, boasting big names such as Allens Linklaters, Slaughter and May and EY. Luminance uses new generation AI technology based on research from the University of Cambridge, using algorithms and advanced statistical probability analysis to assist teams in both law firms and in-house. It’s particularly useful in M&A activity, using AI to pull information from high volumes of contracts and legal documents, allowing lawyers to spend more time and energy on decisions and processes that require human logic. It’s said the Luminance can not only pull out more insights from data, but also allows legal review to be completed 75% faster.
Young Berlin-based start up Legal OS is striving to digitise the legal sector with a code-based, machine readable library – reinventing the building blocks of law. Legal OS secured US $2.2 million in seed funding in June and is now aiming to scale its library of code-based content to provide a database of German law. Describing its library of legal content as the “largest and most intelligent in the world”, Legal OS is part of a growing contract automation and template building space that is making waves into the legal sector.
ThoughtRiver uses machine learning and natural language processing to allow lawyers to automate the contract review process. The pre-screening technology ‘reads’ a contract, answers questions and suggests what steps lawyers should take next, boasting an average read time of a 5-page NDA of 309 seconds, with 2-3 mins suggested for a 60-page MSA. ThoughtRiver is based in Cambridge but works with a number of large companies and law firms around the world, including Clifford Chance and BT. The LawTech has recently announced a strategic partnership with G4S and Eversheds Sutherland, allowing G4S’ in-house lawyers to drive a faster and more efficient initial review of inbound contracts.
Libryo aims to reduce legal insourcing costs as well as empowering organisations to adhere to compliance best practice. Libryo delivers only the law that applies to your business, alerting you when relevant regulations change and providing assistance with compliance. Founded in 2016, the Cape Town and London-based start up secured $1 million in 2017 and promises to let companies know what the law requires of them at every moment, for every operation.
How are Magic Circle firms responding to LawTech?
Magic Circle firms aren’t shying away from LawTech and AI. In fact, some have even launched their own incubators, as is the case of Allen & Overy’s Fuse. Since its launch in 2017, Fuse has been joined by the likes of iManage (previously RAVN), Legatics, Bloomsbury AI and Kira Systems. The incubator was launched in a bid to embrace technological disruption, developing both the wider legal market and Allen and Overy’s own business model to meet clients’ changing needs. Meanwhile, Slaughter and May has its ownl egal tech incubator which welcomed its first cohort in April, featuring Tabled, LitiGate and Clarilis. Freshfields works with AI partners such as Kira Systems and Neota Logic, an AI-based software that helps with document management automation and workflow standardisation, while Linklaters led the pack in being the first Magic Circle firm to sign up to AI, partnering with RAVN in 2016 and now using a range of integrated programmes to meet client requirements.
Clearly, the legal industry is not shying away from new technologies, and firms are instead embracing the efficiencies and savings LawTech can provide.
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The LawTech market will continue to grow as new technologies are developed, and we’ve seen clear indication that the major firms are prepared to not only adopt new technologies, but nurture their own LawTech solutions. IDEX has a vested interested in staying abreast of technology trends and how they impact the legal industry. We share these insights with clients and candidates and can help you take the next step in your career. View our latestl egal jobs here.