Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for June 21, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Embrace cloud migration and open API architecture to streamline operations, automate processes, and enhance data security, as demonstrated by Saffery Champness LLP's move to Elite's 3E Cloud.
- Recognize the importance of social responsibility and environmental awareness in the legal industry by exploring tools like the Law Firm Maturity Index (LFMI) developed by LexSolutions, the Maturity Institute, and OMINDEX, which provide cultural benchmarks and insights on social impact.
- Emerging legal tech trends and innovations to be aware of: transaction management platforms like Dealcloser gets funding, and UC Law San Francisco launches the LexLab program.
Trends from yesterday
Here are some highlights of what happened in legal tech yesterday:
- UK accounting firm, Saffery Champness, is migrating to the cloud with Elite's 3E Cloud to streamline its data infrastructure and automate internal processes.
- Legal consultancy, LexSolutions, partnered with the Maturity Institute and OMINDEX to launch the Law Firm Maturity Index, which provides a cultural benchmark for law firms to measure their social responsibilities.
- Transaction management platform, Dealcloser, raised $2.5m in funding to develop its platform's capabilities and expand beyond its legal focus.
These developments signify the continued trend toward digitization and automation in the legal industry. More and more firms are realizing the benefits of cloud computing and open API architecture to streamline their operations and enhance security. Additionally, the trend towards using technology for social responsibility is growing, with the launch of the Law Firm Maturity Index, demonstrating the importance of measuring a firm's environmental and social impact.
As digital transformation continues to disrupt the legal industry, firms must keep up with the latest trends and developments in legal technology. Cloud computing and open API architecture create more efficient and secure operations by allowing for easier integration of different technologies.
The introduction of the Law Firm Maturity Index signals a shift towards greater accountability for social responsibility in the industry, a trend that is likely to continue as firms recognize the importance of creating a positive impact on society. Finally, Dealcloser's funding round shows the growing demand for transaction management platforms, particularly in Europe.
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Transaction management platform Dealcloser has completed a $2.5m funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $3.8m. The round was co-led by existing investor Bryce Catalyst and Fernwood Holdings. The funds will be used to expand sales and marketing teams as the company explores new markets in Europe and expands its offering to new verticals. Dealcloser, which was founded in 2017, boasts customers across North America as well as global offices. It has experienced significant growth in deals created on the platform over the past year, seeing a 310% increase in 2020. The company has highlighted a focus on delivering solutions that can enhance client profitability and reduce attorney churn.
Law firms must embrace a culture of learning, rather than "knowing mode," to attract and retain clients, according to a report from Above the Law. The report said clients want relatable lawyers who will sit on the same side of the table, discuss their concerns without using legalese, and reduce their anxiety. To achieve this, law firms should invest in leadership training, create a client journey roadmap to manage their experience and promote team building and feedback. The document said relatable lawyers break from traditional law firm models and will require a culture built around humility, self-awareness, and the ability to connect with clients.
The Chilean parliament is discussing a Bill aimed at regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the country. The Bill draws heavily on Europe’s AI Act and a Chilean policy document on AI, as well as a proposed amendment to the country’s Constitution regarding scientific and technological development. The Bill seeks to establish new definitions and criteria for determining the acceptability of AI systems, create a National Commission for AI, and require authorization for AI system development, distribution, commercialization, and use. It also stipulates financial and custodial penalties for non-compliance. The Bill aims to ensure that AI is used as a positive force in society. It is still unclear how the legislative process will proceed, but ensuring that the opinions of key stakeholders are heard is crucial to its credibility and success in protecting fundamental rights.
According to a report from Norton Rose Fulbright, dealmakers in the US and Canada are optimistic about an increase in M&A activity this year after several quarters of contraction. Their optimism is buoyed in part by pent-up dry powder, with nearly 60% of survey respondents expecting global private equity buyers to be the most active prospective acquirers. US private equity firms are expected to lead the way. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of respondents identified the technology sector as among the top three industries where they expect to see growth in inbound cross-border M&A this year. The life sciences and healthcare sector also came up high for inbound deals this year. The report also revealed that stricter regulation is cited by 60% of respondents in the US and Canada as posing a threat to M&A activity. It also unveiled that half of the respondents in the two countries said antitrust regulations could suppress deals.
Saffery Champness LLP, a UK accounting firm, is migrating to the cloud with Elite's 3E Cloud, a fully managed service, and replacing its APS software from The Access Group. The move to the cloud is a priority for the firm as it seeks to streamline its disparate legacy data infrastructure and automate manual internal processes. Saffery Champness will also be using Always-on Time recording to enhance billable time and ensure compliance with client billing arrangements and guidelines. The open API architecture of 3E will enable it to connect and integrate with the company's other key technologies, such as document management.
Legal technology and consultancy firm, Pinnacle, has appointed Sam Sheldon to lead its financial planning and analytics capabilities, using the Microsoft Power Platform to help clients align their reporting with business strategies. Sheldon previously ran IT services and consulting business BLOCLINK and worked at DW Reporting before it was acquired by BigHand in 2018. Pinnacle launched a Microsoft Legal Applications team in April, bringing together its BI and Microsoft practice groups to help clients at every stage of their Microsoft journey.
Introducing Matters.Cloud for Microsoft Outlook: Enhancing Efficiency and Streamlining Workflow for Lawyers and Law Firms (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)
Matters.Cloud has launched Matters.Cloud for Microsoft Outlook, an application that enables lawyers and law firms to save emails within Outlook to relevant legal matters, reducing administrative burden and saving time. The application can create time records as part of saving emails, allowing legal professionals to accurately track their billable hours. Matters.Cloud for Microsoft Outlook integrates with various versions of Microsoft Outlook and can save emails directly to leading document management systems, streamlining workflows and enhancing data security.
UC Law San Francisco's LexLab has teamed up with gener8tor, Village Capital, and the Justice Technology Association to launch a justice tech accelerator program aimed at supporting early-stage legal tech startups. The 10-week program will run from September through November 2023 and will help to increase access to justice. The program will cover crucial areas for all early-stage companies and will culminate in a Demo Day on November 14, where entrepreneurs will showcase their work for investors and members of the justice tech community, while competing for a grand prize award.
Legal consultancy LexSolutions has partnered with the Maturity Institute and OMINDEX to launch the Law Firm Maturity Index (LFMI). The index will offer a cultural benchmark for law firms and measure their performance in relation to social responsibilities such as ESG commitments. The LFMI will present participants with a series of statements to determine how mature their organisation is in terms of leadership, values, wellbeing and environmental awareness. The results will provide insights on key legal sector themes such as burnout and D&I.
Novus Law has created a process based on lean manufacturing principles to uncover and document the story in litigation and investigations involving large amounts of digital evidence. The legal services company aims to offer a more efficient and accurate approach than traditional legal processes. Novus Law has won two InnovAction Awards from the College of Law Practice Management for its innovative approach. Ray Bayley, the CEO of Novus Law, has shared case studies demonstrating how the process has benefitted law firms and corporations.
Legal tech firm Casetext has marked its 10th anniversary by launching CoCounsel, an AI legal assistant developed with OpenAI. Casetext has evolved from a crowdsourced case law library to a leader in AI use in law, with a range of products including AllSearch, Compose and CARA. The company has raised significant funding and won awards for its products, including the recent launch of SmartCite and Compose. CoCounsel has made Casetext the generative AI company to beat in the legal market.
The legal industry's lateral market has undergone a structural change due to increasing lateral mobility and transparency, driven by the phenomenon of Superstars. This has made law firms vulnerable to departures, with lateral movement accelerating and the market becoming a lateral playpen. However, this is not good for the industry or for the laterals careening about. The only solution is to fortify firms' defenses against raids.
Legal technology and consultancy firm Pinnacle has hired Sam Sheldon to lead its financial planning and analytics capabilities. Sheldon brings over 15 years of experience in legal business intelligence to the company, and will help clients align their reporting capabilities with their business strategy using the Microsoft Power Platform. Pinnacle recently announced its intention to align its business intelligence and Microsoft practice groups to deliver innovative Microsoft legal applications, and aims to be a long-term partner to firms seeking to maximize value at every stage of their Microsoft journey.
A recent survey by Glassdoor shows that 80% of US professionals oppose a ban or restriction on the use of ChatGPT in the workplace, a large language model. However, 20% believe that some form of restriction should be in place. The survey also found differences in opinions based on age and industry, with younger professionals and those in advertising, marketing, consulting, and healthcare being less likely to support a ban. Law professionals were found to be the most supportive of halting access to the technology, with 32% in favor. HR professionals are also cautious about the potential negative effects of AI tools on talent acquisition and diversity.