Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Nov 3, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Law firms should invest in AI-based legal technologies as they continue to show potential for improved process efficiency and effectiveness. The partnerships of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner with Orbital Witness, and Thomson Reuters' planned investment in generative AI for Westlaw Precision highlight this trend.
- Small to mid-sized law firms should focus on sustainable growth and efficient use of technology to handle increasing workloads, stagnant staffing, and rising competition. This approach was supported by PracticePanther's report which also indicates a growing optimism among these firms about their future.
- Legal technology startups must address the gender disparity in funding. Given the review by The Entrepreneurs Network and Barclays revealing that female-founded startups received just 3.5% of total investment, more efforts should be put towards achieving funding balance. This is crucial for ensuring equal representation and growth in the legal tech industry.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Several significant partnerships have been announced that will leverage AI for enhanced legal processes, including Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner's collaboration with Orbital Witness and the inclusion of generative AI in Westlaw Precision by Thomson Reuters. Also notable is the strategic partnership between Purpose Legal and Redgrave Data to transform legal service delivery. In M&A activity, Morae Global Corporation's acquisition of the UK's Exigent Group stands out, promising transformative technology-enabled legal solutions.
The integration of AI into legal technology continues to be a prominent trend. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has partnered with Orbital Witness to use its AI solution, Orbital Copilot, in real estate practices in the UK and the US. Meanwhile, Thomson Reuters is set to invest more than $100m annually in generative AI, benefiting its legal research product, Westlaw Precision. In the startup space, The Entrepreneurs Network and Barclays shed light on gender disparity in UK startup funding, with female-founded startups receiving just 3.5% of total investment. Elsewhere, PracticePanther's report underscores growing optimism among small and mid-sized law firms about their future despite operational and financial challenges. The report encourages efficient technology use and sustainable growth to navigate increasing workloads, stagnant staffing, and heightened competition.
The Morae Global - Exigent Group merger has the potential to significantly impact the legal services industry. The deal will combine their complementary strengths with the intention of creating transformative, technology-enabled solutions for law firms and departments. However, as technology continues to disrupt the legal field, the role of law libraries and librarians must not be overlooked. Librarians play a pivotal role in introducing fresh information into law firms, fostering competitive intelligence and business growth. AI integration into law libraries, a topic set to be discussed at a series of regional roundtables in 2023-2024, could be a game-changer in the legal industry. In addition, for law tech startups, the revelations of gender disparity in funding is a wake-up call, calling for more efforts to balance the scales. Overall, yesterday was indeed a day of transformation in the legal technology industry, with a major emphasis on AI applications. It's reflective of the sector's steady drive towards leveraging new tech for efficiency and effectiveness in legal service delivery.
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Startups led by women received a disproportionate 3.5% of funding in H1 2023, compared to 85.1% obtained by male-led startups, according to a report from The Entrepreneurs Network and Barclays. Compiled by Beauhurst, the report also indicated that female-founded startups accounted for just 10.5% of deals, while male-led startups and mixed-gender teams made up 75% and 15%, respectively. Despite women-led businesses demonstrating similar success rates in sustainability as their male counterparts, the research revealed that male-led firms were five times more likely to achieve a £1 million turnover. The persistent gender funding gap showcases broader systemic issues that can impact future generations of female entrepreneurs.
AI's role in transforming the legal sector continues to attract considerable attention, with leading provider LexisNexis inviting legal professionals to join their AI Insider Programme. The initiative promises exclusive access to AI resources, the latest developments, webinars with leading experts, and timely updates on new AI products. As a form of thought leadership, the AI Insider Programme appears designed to expand legal professionals' understanding of AI while keeping them informed of upcoming technological changes. Additionally, LexisNexis will headline the upcoming Legal Innovators conference in London, which will tackle key topics including generative AI and law firm innovation strategies. The role of AI in driving legal industry transformation is clearly at the forefront of both the AI Insider Programme and the Legal Innovators conference.
The article explores the evolution of law libraries and librarians due to technological advancements, especially online databases and AI. It emphasizes librarians' role in introducing new information into law firms, fostering competitive intelligence and business growth. The article also outlines a series of regional roundtables scheduled for 2023-2024, aimed at guiding law libraries on integrating AI into their operations and future planning.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) is teaming up with legaltech start-up Orbital Witness to use its AI solution, Orbital Copilot, in its UK and US real estate practices. The AI assistant will analyze and report on complex commercial leases, improving due diligence and lease reporting. BCLP lawyers will also test the AI across various transaction types and jurisdictions.
Morae Global Corporation has acquired UK-based Exigent Group, a technology and managed legal services provider, doubling its workforce and expanding its global client base to over 1,000. The deal includes Exigent's proprietary technology in contract management and discovery and its South African delivery centre. The merger aims to offer transformative, technology-enabled solutions to law firms and departments, combining people, process, and technology.
Thomson Reuters is set to incorporate generative AI into its legal research product, Westlaw Precision, following a $650m purchase of Casetext. The AI will enable users to ask complex questions in conversational language and receive synthesized responses. The company will also add a chat-type interface to its Practical Law product. Thomson Reuters has committed to investing more than $100m annually in generative AI, as part of a strategy that includes building, buying, and partnering.
US cybersecurity company, Proofpoint Inc, intends to acquire Tessian, an email security firm that uses AI for data protection and threat defense. The acquisition will boost Proofpoint's threat and information protection platforms with AI capabilities. The upgraded solutions will be compatible with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, benefiting Proofpoint's channel partners. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be finalized between late 2023 and early 2024.
Max Paterson has been named the new US managing director at legal tech firm Bryter, with a remit to expand the company's relationships within the private practice sector across North America. Paterson, who previously served as the chief customer officer at Neota Logic, will also be tasked with overseeing law firms globally as part of the company's expansion plans. Bryter's CEO, Michael Grupp, welcomed Paterson's appointment, citing his understanding of their product and community.
Despite economic uncertainties, a report by PracticePanther reveals that over 75% of small and mid-sized law firms are optimistic about their future, maintaining or increasing their 2023 budgets, especially in technology, salaries, and marketing. The report identifies increased workloads, stagnant staffing, and heightened competition as challenges. It recommends sustainable growth and efficient technology use. However, it also indicates a decrease in financial returns despite higher workloads.
The article emphasizes the significance of 'client service excellence' in the legal sector, highlighting curiosity, communication, and conscientiousness as crucial elements. Curiosity involves understanding client's specific needs, communication requires clear updates and empathetic listening, while conscientiousness means taking full responsibility for clients' issues. The article recommends law firms to incorporate these principles into their culture and consistently assess their effectiveness for client satisfaction.
Purpose Legal and Redgrave Data have formed a strategic partnership to transform legal service delivery. The collaboration will combine Purpose Legal's client-focused approach and Redgrave Data's tech capabilities to provide personalized service, utilize expertise, introduce efficiencies, and use advanced technologies. The partnership aims to redefine the legal industry by prioritizing client benefits and project efficiency.
LawPay, an online payment solution for legal professionals, has enhanced its integration with Aderant Expert Practice Management System. The updated API integration simplifies the process of creating a secure connection between LawPay and Expert, facilitating easier online legal payments. This integration permits clients to view real-time outstanding balances and make secure payments. Concurrently, law firms can automatically receive accurate cash receipt data.
Legal governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software provider, Exterro, has acquired data discovery software as a service (SaaS) solution, Divebell. This merger will integrate Divebell's data discovery features with Exterro’s GRC platform, enhancing organizations' ability to manage data for legal, regulatory, and compliance purposes. The acquisition is anticipated to transform how organizations identify, comprehend and use their structured and unstructured data.
New Zealand law firm, Anderson Lloyd, is streamlining its operations with 3E, a cloud-based financial and practice management solution from Elite. The shift to this cloud-native service will enhance security, offer 24/7 monitoring, and provide nearly unlimited scale. The platform will also improve billing, time capture, and management reporting tools, increasing efficiency and client service.