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Jun 27, 2019
Legal Tech and the Changing Legal Services Industry - Weekly Update - June 27
A. Quote of the Week
“A firm with 1,000+ lawyers has quite a bit of legal know-how. Collecting that know-how and transforming it into a user-friendly workflow is the basis of many great digital products. QuickBooks and TurboTax are digital representations of the workflow accountants used to serve their clients for years; Kayak and Concur have replaced the travel agents by delivering their travel packages in digital format; and Wealthfront and Robinhood invest portfolios using algorithms that leverage years of real investor experience.” (Mike Cappucci, Medium.com.)
B. Articles to Read
1. Investments in Legal Tech Companies Continue to Grow
Local Startups Set to Capitalize on Legal-Tech Market (Tyler Orton)
“Israel-based legal-tech firm LawGeex compiled a list of industry deals last year, estimating investment in the legal-tech sector reached US$1 billion across 40 deals in 2018, up from US$233 million a year earlier.”
Why it Matters:
More and more people are turning to technology to assist them in resolving legal problems, and investment in legal tech firms is increasing as a result. In the U.S., for example, LegalZoom – a platform that gives small business owners and individuals access to legal solutions – raised $500 million last year, giving it a valuation of $2 billion. Some legal tech platforms are geared towards automated solutions for consumers, which of course lead to interesting discussions about what exactly constitutes legal advice. Others, like Vancouver-based startup Kikero Inc. – which matches clients with lawyers for 15 minute consultations at a fixed rate – are simply geared at linking individuals with providers of legal services. And of course, there are those geared towards law firms and in-house legal departments, such as Diligen and Closing Folders, which are available to lawyers at Aird & Berlis to allow them to provide legal services to their clients in an efficient and streamlined manner.
With increased demand for legal technology from both clients and lawyers comes increased investment. In 2018, investment in the legal-tech sector grew by more than 400%. While still a far cry from the over $40 billion invested in the fintech industry, investment in legal tech is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future.
2. Joining Forces: Innovation and Regulation
Bridging the Gap Between Law and Technology (Yves Faguy)
“…[T]he disconnect today between innovation and regulation is widening. To help bridge the gap, legal professionals, regulators, policy professionals, and technologists will come together on August 1st for the World Legal Summit, in the hope of fostering a better understanding of the legislative frameworks shaping emerging technology and new global systems.”
Why it Matters:
The disconnect between law and technology is based, in part, on the speed at which law makers can keep up with innovation. Regulatory bodies that are often more reactive than proactive have the effect of forcing new technologies underground. In addition, a lagging regulatory process can stall beneficial technologies and stifle innovation. Communication is key to addressing these issues. Instead of responding retroactively to the issues that arise with new technologies, those who shape the law need to better understand the technology they seek to regulate. The World Legal Summit – which is being held in August for the first time – is intended to create an environment where industry leaders in law and tech can join forces to discuss how to bridge the gap between their work. The summit is expected to take place in over 20 locations around the world, including Toronto. Click here to see if your city is participating.