And if everyone is talking about it why are so many firms still slow off the mark?
A new report from Whitecap Consulting, however, challenges how we view the use of Legal Tech – with impressive levels of activity and capability across legal service providers, tech firms and LegalTech businesses in the Bristol & Bath region.
We’re really encouraged to see how far firms are taking their tech use (and we particularly love the graphics accompanying the report) – but we’re based over the border. That’s why we want to look into Legal Tech use here in Scotland, and we’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re part of the legal sector up here.
But first, let’s take a look at what the report had to say:
The new report is the latest evidence to support the region’s core strength in emerging areas of technology, coming less than two weeks after it was named in the Kalifa Review as one of the top 10 FinTech clusters in the UK.
The key findings of the report include:
- High levels of LegalTech activity and service innovation across law firms of all sizes reflect the region’s underlying strengths in technology and law – including the presence of 17 Top 200 law firm head office functions.
- Bristol and Bath has built an extensive LegalTech talent pool, with more than 750 legal technology and innovation roles identified by our research.
- The growing cluster of LegalTechs providing solutions to the region is significant in size compared to other regional locations – as is the case in FinTech.
- The region’s LegalTech sector could create powerful differentiation on a national and international level if embryonic collaboration in the legal sector was fully joined up with and modelled on the tech sector’s well-established regional collaborative ecosystem.
- A strong sense of societal purpose is evident within the legal sector in the region and this should drive a future strand of LegalTech development.
The report also includes an insightful graphic that we think is particularly engaging and helpful:
If you’d like to learn more, you can watch the webinar that launched the report on 10th March here.
So how does Scotland fare with Legal Tech?
We took a look into how firms in Scotland are using Legal Tech and we were really impressed by what we did discover – even if there’s not loads of information out there right now. It seems that more and more companies within the legal sector, and in particular law firms, are employing Legal Tech to streamline their business and allow better working relationships with their clients. Aberdeins for example, a new technology-driven law firm with offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, is shaking up the professional services market and aims to add business in other professional service areas including estate agency, property letting, accountancy and financial services. Rob Aberdein, it’s founder, has said technology would be used to meet the changing demands of ordinary people and small businesses across law and other professional services, to “reflect the 2020s, not the 1950s”.
Tech companies are also increasingly looking to partner with law firms, with one of Scotland’s largest tech incubator’s, CodeBase, launching its new LawTech Bridge programme for startups seeking to stimulate demand in the legal technology sector. And this is surely something that will become more and more common. An industry report released last month by Thomson Reuters – ‘Legaltech Startup Report 2019 – A maturing market’ – stated: “The UK is at the forefront of changing the business model of legal service delivery, with legal professionals looking actively to transform the way they work.”
The types of professionals working with Legal Tech also seem to be changing. Last February, The Law Society of Scotland accredited its first non-lawyer as a technology specialist. In the announcement Rob Marrs, head of education at the Law Society of Scotland, said that this accreditation recognises “the growing number of legal technology specialists whose work supports the success of their organisations and the sector as a whole.” And if that’s not exciting enough for you, you can also now study for an LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law at the University of Edinburgh – Legal Tech is definitely not just for lawyers anymore.
But what about everything else in Scotland… Now it’s your turn…
We know from talking to Scottish law firms that there is loads going on up here. You’re probably already using more Legal Tech in your businesses than the rest of us realise, and it’s something that we’d love to celebrate. We think that the innovative work being done in the Scottish legal sector is worth shouting about – but that requires some research into the specifics of what’s happening right now.
We’re so passionate about this – and about sharing the great things happening up here in Scotland – that we want to start a campaign to celebrate Legal Tech in Scotland.
Want to get involved and help us? Are you doing something particularly exciting at the moment?