Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 6, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Legal technology emerging trends indicate an urgent need for firms to integrate legal tech practices into their operations. Personnel like Lucy Shurwood illustrate the value of hiring specialists in legal tech capabilities, and firms should consider investing in such personnel and tech services provided by ALSPs.
- The significance of efficiency is elevation in the legal industry, with platforms like Thirdfort being able to reduce transaction times substantially. Firms should consider leveraging such platforms and technologies to differentiate themselves with their speed and efficiency.
- Given recent data breaches and regulatory advice, cybersecurity needs to be a substantial consideration for firms. AI and data security are areas of growth and focus, as indicated by the funding for AI security start-up Mindgard. Implementing cybersecurity action plans is increasingly necessary in order to ensure firms remain competitive.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Recent legal technology news was marked by notable recruitment and significant investments within the global landscape. Lucy Shurwood, a legal tech specialist, notably moved from Pinsent Masons to join Wavelength, Simmons & Simmons's legal engineering division. This signals the growing emphasis firms place on integrating legal tech practices. Additionally, Thirdfort's risk management platform reportedly reduced property transaction times by an average of 21 days, suggesting a valuable boost for an industry in need of expedited processes. Other prominent developments included the launch of Better Ipsum, a consultancy focusing on legal design and digital transformation, while AI security start-up Mindgard raised £3m in seed funding.
The broad trend is an increased adoption of technologies aimed at enhancing efficiency in legal operations. Tiger Eye recorded over 76,000 new users this quarter, demonstrating the increasing reliance on cloud-based solutions for document management. Additionally, an increasing trend towards the provision of tech-driven legal services by ALSPs was noted. Encouragingly, cybersecurity is a growing focus following a surge in data breaches and regulatory advice concerning legal technologies in 2023. Consequently, the implementation of cybersecurity action plans is becoming a staple in law firms worldwide.
The legal industry is experiencing a dramatic evolution driven by technology. The hiring of a specialist like Shurwood by a major law firm underscores the value of legal tech capabilities. As legal tech continues to evolve, firms should invest in emerging technologies and the personnel capable of harnessing their potential. Speed and efficiency, as seen with Thirdfort's platform, are becoming crucial indicators of a firm's adaptability and growth potential. Tiger Eye's surge in users suggests that despite initial security concerns, cloud-based solutions are here to stay. Meanwhile, the seed funding round for Mindgard, a start-up fighting AI-related cyber threats, underscores the ever-growing significance of AI and data security in the legal tech landscape. In essence, a forward-looking strategy embracing technological advances and prioritizing cybersecurity is increasingly key for firms to remain competitive.
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Lucy Shurwood, a specialist in legal technology solutions, has been hired by Simmons & Simmons to expand its legal engineering arm, Wavelength. Shurwood, an Advanced Delivery Team leader from Pinsent Masons, will join Wavelength on 11th September 2023, making her one of the first (if not the first) lateral legal tech partner hires. According to Ben McGuire, managing director of Simmons Solutions, her hiring will help the firm respond to increasing client demand in the financial services sector and speed up Wavelength's expansion. Since its acquisition in 2019, Wavelength has largely been focusing on integrating the business to drive the growth of the international practice group. The company is currently UK-based, but plans to expand internationally.
The legal industry's shift towards more efficient practices has led to increased reliance on Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs). These non-law-firm entities offer targeted legal services at a lower cost. Results from Bloomberg Law's 2022 Legal Ops & Tech Survey showed that nearly two-thirds of responding organizations outsourced legal tasks to ALSPs. BigLaw firms under client pressure to reduce costs are also increasingly relying on ALSPs for support. These providers offer several benefits including specialized expertise, a more capacious pricing structure, access to legal resources on demand, improved efficiency, and innovative technology. The Alternative Legal Services Providers 2023 Report estimates this emerging segment constitutes a $20.6 billion portion of the legal market, reflecting the growing acceptance and effective utilization of ALSPs in the legal sector.
Microsoft has attributed the 46-hour Azure outage in Sydney on August 30 to insufficient staffing levels at its data centre, in a preliminary report. The outage was initiated by a power sag following an electrical storm, with cooling unit failures exacerbating the situation. Microsoft has temporarily boosted staffing and is investigating improved automation and prioritising chiller restarts based on load profiles. A comprehensive evaluation is due within two weeks.
Thirdfort's risk management platform, providing KYC, AML, and SoF verification, has reportedly cut property transaction times by an average of 21 days, according to a study by Thomas Legal. The year-long study found that digitising property transaction forms and searches reduced time from agreed terms to contract exchange by 55%. The platform could potentially ease housing market uncertainty by accelerating transactions.
Marco Imperiale, ex-innovation head at LCA Studio Legale, has founded Better Ipsum, a consultancy specializing in legal design, innovation, and legal wellbeing. The firm aims to assist law firms, companies, and institutions in creating more user-friendly legal documents and contracts, support them in obtaining ISO 24495 certification for plain language, and aid in their digital transformation.
UK legal tech firm Tiger Eye, a subsidiary of CTS Group, reported a record increase in Q2 2023, with more than 76,000 new global users. The company managed a record number of cloud projects, transferring over 200 million documents to the iManage Cloud. Growth was also propelled by the popularity of Tiger Eye Tools for iManage and the Tiger Eye Workspace Automate. The firm has seen a surge in demand from American and Canadian companies.
UK AI security startup, Mindgard, has raised £3m in seed funding from IQ Capital and Lakestar to protect businesses' AI assets from cyber threats. The Lancaster University spin-off will use the funds to grow operations and speed up growth. A Gartner survey revealed that 41% of organisations have suffered an AI security breach or privacy incident, emphasising the significance of AI security.
The article emphasizes the need for law firms to conduct cybersecurity risk assessments to identify potential threats, vulnerabilities, and assess current controls. It outlines the importance of creating a cybersecurity action plan, which includes identifying, prioritizing, and assigning responsibility for preventive actions. The author stresses that safeguarding a firm's data is essential for upholding its reputation and client trust.
The article underscores the growing significance of cybersecurity in law firms due to a surge in data breaches in 2023. It mentions the American Bar Association's (ABA) Resolution 609, encouraging lawyers to improve cybersecurity and adopt new technologies. The ABA's Resolution 604 offers guidelines for AI use in law. The piece concludes with the establishment of an ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence to study AI's effect on the legal field.
Reveal, a global e-discovery firm, has laid off 79 employees from recently acquired companies Logikcull and IPRO. Earlier reports suggested a larger number, but this was due to a clerical error. The layoffs were anticipated due to redundancies following the $1 billion acquisition. Reveal's spokesperson confirmed that most employees from both companies will remain, and those laid off will receive severance packages and outplacement resources.
Harbor is hosting its third annual Legal Information + Knowledge Services Conference (LINKS) virtually on September 14, 2023. The conference will discuss emerging trends and practices in legal information services, focusing on artificial intelligence, future of legal training, and organizational structures. Jean O'Grady, Director of Research and Knowledge at Venable, will present the Start/Stop survey.
Global legal tech solutions provider, Consilio, has finalized its acquisition of Lawyers On Demand (LOD) and UK-based consultancy, SYKE. The move bolsters Consilio's Enterprise Legal Services across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia, and enhances its footprint in the UK. The acquisition is set to augment Consilio's flexible legal talent offerings and legal system services.
Canadian legal tech companies, CiteRight and Jurisage, are planning to merge, forming a new entity under the name Jurisage. The merger will integrate CiteRight's litigation drafting platform with Jurisage's AI technology to enhance efficiency for legal professionals. CiteRight CEO, Aaron Wenner, will lead the new company, while Jurisage's CEO, Colin Lachance, will serve as Chief Innovation Officer. The merger is slated for completion in Q4 2023.
Tiger Eye, a partner of iManage, reported record growth in Q2 2023, adding more than 76,000 global users. This growth is attributed to the popularity of its Tiger Eye Tools for iManage and the demand for Workspace Automate, an integration tool for iManage to PMS. To support this expansion and uphold service standards, Tiger Eye's team has grown by over 10% in the past year.
FCPA specialist Mike Koehler suggests that in-house legal teams can enhance their company's protection against Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations by integrating accounting and audit staff into compliance efforts. By educating these teams on FCPA violations, they can identify potential issues, given their proximity to the company's financial transactions. Common FCPA violations encompass inflated commissions, improper invoicing, distributor discounts, fraudulent executive bonuses, or excessive employee reimbursements.
New Balance has sued Golden Goose, alleging that its "Dad-Star" shoe infringes on the design and branding of New Balance's 990 shoe. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court District of Massachusetts, claims Golden Goose's design is "confusingly similar" to the New Balance 990 and uses a color too similar to New Balance's signature hue. The legal proceedings are still ongoing.
Top legal executives are advocating for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their sectors, emphasizing the necessity for policies to govern its responsible use. These policies should define the appropriate use of AI technology, stressing the need to avoid entering confidential data into AI tools. They also highlight the importance of collaboration with other business divisions in policy development. As AI technology progresses, companies need to adapt their policies rather than completely prohibit AI use.