5 things in LegalTech: Meet Legal’s “Rocket Man” and why are lawyers so expensive?

Your time is short. This quick read gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


Meet Legal’s “Rocket Man”

Tech it is disrupting the legal sector, but not quickly enough, according to Mark Edwards, senior vice-president and general manager, Rocket Lawyer UK. Founded nine years ago in the US by Charlie Moore and now established in the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands, Rocket Lawyer provides online legal help to families and small businesses on a range of issues, from contracts and incorporation, to trademarks and divorce. Having been involved in the legal sector for 15 years, Edwards is somewhat frustrated by the pace at which it is adopting technology. “Some firms are using technology to improve efficiencies, but it hasn’t been adopted anywhere near enough,” he says. “I certainly don’t think the end customer has seen enough benefit from that change yet.”


Legal innovation – shaking the profession

Legal Futures reported that “Efficiency innovations implemented by in-house counsel at just five big companies – such as artificially intelligent (AI) contract review – have brought annual savings totaling more than half a million hours of lawyer time”. This finding and many others feature in LawGeex’s (free) eBook, The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management (download now).

The innovation market is gaining momentum. LegalCheek’s Alex Wade, for instance, analyzed the unique success of Denton’s NextLaw Lab ventures – Marie Bernard Director of Innovation  at Dentons told the site, it is the “only firm that owns its own tech accelerator”, that has remarkably fostered 350 “ideas” and tech companies, including Ross Intelligence (legal research) Apperio (smart analytics) and Libryo ( updates and alerts on legal obligations in any jurisdiction). Meanwhile, in the ABA Journal, Mary Juetten  put the spotlight on the limited license legal technician as  important to the future of law: She writes: “With states consistently reporting that 80 percent of their citizens cannot afford an attorney for civil matters…It’s a national crisis, and the LLLT approach is an important piece of the solution.”

Finally, if Law gave out a Person of the Year, our nomination would be Joshua Browder, ending 2017 named by the FT as one of the “Top Ten Legal Innovators in North America“. Aged just 20, Joshua Browder has disrupted the legal industry even though he is not a lawyer. The computer science student created the DoNotPay “chatbot”, a bot to help people affected by the Equifax data breach and is now moving to other areas such as divorce law.


Why are lawyers so expensive? 

In a latest piece for Forbes, Mark Cohen asks ‘What’s a lawyer worth?’ He says “it is a serious question that could also launch a stand-up routine.” He argues that “Law has operated as a guild– not a competitive market—until recently. And that is the seminal reason why lawyers are so expensive.” Why is there such a marked divergence between what lawyers think they’re worth and what the rest of society does? Cohen looks at four factors (1) legal culture; (2) legal exceptionalism and the bespoke myth (3) self-regulation; (4) the incumbent legal delivery structure; and (5) the traditional legal economic and reward structures.”


Biggest LegalTech stories of 2017

It was the last Legal IT Insider (aka the “Orange Rag”) of 2017 and the publication looked back on the stories the news site has broken over the last year. This included continuing funding for legal tech companies, CLOC- the U.S-headquartered Corporate Legal Operations Consortium rolling out in Europe; shakeups at the International Legal Technology Association ( ILTA), and the twists and turns of contract management solutions, NetDocuments “rivalry” with iManage”.

Meanwhile Sarah GlassMeyer posted her stories of the year, mostly culled from “the law blogging Godfather Bob Ambrogi”.  These include “Joshua Browder expanding his legal chat bot empire”; LexPredict open sourced ContraxSuite” and “Ravel acquired by Lexis”.


More Deals and what are LegalTech exit strategies?

Continuing a run of legaltech deals  well into December, US Legal AI Company,  LegalSifter “Bags $1.86 Million VC Funding”, reported Artificial Lawyer. 

Meanwhile, legal expert Ron Friedmann, legal expert, asks  “What are Legal Tech and Legal Service Provider Exit strategies?  He argues: “LexisNexis (RELX) and Thomson Reuters frequently acquire other legal companies, usually as strategic buyers. We also see other occasional strategic buys by smaller companies, such as iManage’s acquisition of RAVN or Integreon’s acquisition of Allegory. Beyond that, I have a hard time generalizing. He continues: “I’m neither a deal maker nor an investment banker so perhaps I’m missing something key. So now I turn to readers. Do you think the question is important? “

Subscribe to our mailing list (right, or below-on mobile) to receive this digest directly your inbox each week. 

The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week.

From LawGeex:

LawGeex Launches Definitive In-House Counsel Guide to Change 

5 Reasons Innovation Will be so Hot for Lawyers in 2018 

Is the legal profession really slow to change? 5 lawyers (who have been through it) answer

From other sites

TechCrunch: Justin Kan’s Atrium is starting a boot camp to help founders raise money

Tom Braegelmann (LinkedIn): GC at Leverton  2017 Top LegalTech influencers you may want to follow right now 

Ross Intelligence: #LegalTechLives with Jordan Furlong, consultant, author and legal market analyst

LawGeex Launches Definitive In-House Counsel Guide to Change

LawGeex, the leading AI contract review platform for businesses, has today launched The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management. This is a unique, free, downloadable guide revealing the secrets of change management achieved by the most successful and innovative legal departments in the world.

The book includes simple, practical advice based on dozens of interviews and real life experiences from in-house lawyers, psychologists, and legal experts. The guide features the challenges, results, and strategies of companies including Pearson, Telstra, Avis Budget Group, NetApp, L’Oreal, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Centrica, Royal Dutch Shell, Staples, Verizon, Adobe, and many more.

The scale of legal change 

The guide finds that five leading law departments alone – JP Morgan, Telstra, NetApp, Discover and AIG – have collectively cut 507,000 hours each year of unproductive hours as they face the biggest challenge ever experienced in law. This is being replicated across tens of thousands of legal departments facing up to the challenge of delivering more efficient and strategic legal operations.

Change is here. Legal teams are facing unprecedented demand for innovation, with only 28% hiring more staff, while almost two-thirds of legal departments report an increase in legal matters. Technology is also automating basic legal work, while 65% of in-house counsel are taking part in strategic business thinking, requiring a change in mindset to achieve the highest levels of pay and job satisfaction.

Download the eBook and learn the secret art and science of proven and lasting legal change management strategies, in response to the biggest challenges ever faced by in-house legal teams.

Other exclusive graphs, tips and findings in the guide include:

  • The definitive eight-stage process for lawyers starting a change management program from scratch, from identifying opportunities, to measuring and reinforcing success.
  • A major review of the psychological effects of change, aimed primarily at the legal profession, based on real-life cases.
  • The results of feedback by businesses following major legal change.
  • The challenges of leaving out steps during a legal change management process.

Noory Bechor, CEO and Founder of LawGeex: “Innovation is undoubtedly the hottest theme in law. While legal is lagging as one of the last professions to embrace change, leading in-house lawyers are bringing fundamental and lasting change to legal departments, businesses, law firms, and the wider economy. This is the story of that journey.


Mick Sheehy, GC of Telstra: “Too much focus on maintaining the status quo ignores the fact that the environment around you is rapidly changing. Just as traditional law firms become disrupted by niche players using lower cost jurisdictions, specialist service providers and technology, so too will the ways in which corporate clients expect their services to be provided by in-house legal teams. We need to innovate just to stay still.”


Donna Kolnes, Adobe’s associate General Counsel: “As technology explodes, especially around machine learning and artificial intelligence, it is more important than ever that in-house legal departments be able to pivot along with the business.  This guide brings much needed and timely advice on how to do just that.”


Áine Lyons, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, WW Legal Operations: “Great to see LawGeex focusing on change management which is by far the biggest challenge Legal Operations professionals face when transforming their in-house legal departments.”


Download the guide today to learn the secrets to lasting in-house innovation.

5 Reasons Innovation Will be so Hot for Lawyers in 2018

On Monday, LawGeex will be launching The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management. Get your free downloadable copy as soon as it lands here.  

But why has change emerged as Number One Priority for In-House Lawyers?

Change management experts, such as Jason Moyse, of Elevate Services, in-house lawyers and  legal operations staff all agree that innovation is the number One Priority for Lawyers in 2018.

Connie Brenton, CLOC and NetApp: “New Rules” In Legal

Connie Brenton, Director of Legal Operations, NetApp and President of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, says: “The new rules boil down to a fairly simple question: ‘Like any other department, what value does the legal team provide to the company as a whole?’ Innovative, business-oriented GCs and Operations Executives are answering this question in a new way and driving healthy long-term change in the legal sector.” Bjarne P Tellmann, SVP and General Counsel, Pearson says: In an era of exponential change, the role of the General Counsel has become one of the most complex, intense and challenging in the corporate world. GCs must lead, unify and inspire diverse groups of people across the globe with subtlety and diplomacy. GCs must react to these challenges with ever-fewer resources and at a time when the legal profession itself is undergoing disruption. Mark Chandler, General Counsel, Cisco: says: “The legal world is one of the last vestiges of the medieval guild system to survive into the 21st century and that means there’s a lot of opportunity for constructive innovation.”

Change is happening as 5 issues are blazing across in-house teams.

1. Cost pressures are rampant. Businesses want to pay less for legal services, but are seeing no reduction in work. Only 28% of legal departments are hiring, while almost two-thirds of legal departments report an increase in the number of legal matters.

2. There is greater harnessing of technology. This automating basic legal work. More than half of in-house teams believe the automation of legal services will be significant or very significant in the next decade, while only 3% believe it will have no impact at all.

3. Strategic thinking for in-house lawyers is not optional. In the new business environment in-house lawyers are required to demonstrate strategic direction toward business goals (65% of in-house counsel now say they take part in strategic business decisions).

4. The law firm conundrum. Legal departments are reducing law firm costs through a combination of in-sourcing and utilizing alternative legal service providers (in-house legal departments now handle approximately 75% of their legal work).

5. Rapid move to Legal Operations. There is a movement toward (a more commercially-minded and collaborative) legal operations function. Fifty-six percent of legal departments now have a dedicated legal operations function, up from 51 percent last year. The shift towards legal operations has been described as a “movement” and “revolution”.

How can in-house teams navigate this complex new landscape?

The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management, provides a 20-page guide and inspiration revealing how top in-house counsel are proactively addressing the biggest ever challenge blazing across the profession. Make sure you receive the In-House Counsel’s Guide To Change Management first, and for free today by clicking here.



Is the legal profession really slow to change? 5 lawyers (who have been through it) answer

It is said that getting lawyers to change is like Herding Cats.

On December 11, LawGeex is launching The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management—a free, downloadable guide revealing how top legal departments are succeeding in a period of unprecedented disruption. To ensure you get your free copy first, as soon as it lands click here.

The book includes practical advice based on dozens of interviews and real-life experiences from the world’s leading in-house lawyers, psychologists, and legal experts, in many cases revealing their secrets for the first time.

Like Herding Cats?

Dr Larry Richard

Lawyer and psychologist, Dr Larry Richard, one of the contributors to the guide, says changing lawyers is like “Herding Cats”. Raised on a diet of skepticism, fiercely independent and trained in finding risks, lawyers, he says, like proud cats, find innovation unusually hard. The guide includes a special section on the psychological effects of change. Dr Richard identifies  5 key traits required for change (leadership, loss of control, low skepticism and growth mindset) and how to help lawyers move away from instincts often diametrically opposed to these values.

In advance of the publication, we ask five leading in-house counsel, who have initiated radical change management, whether lawyers really are slow to innovate? Or is this charge overstated?

1) Vicky Lockie, formerly associate General Counsel at Pearson

Vicky Lockie

Change challenge:   Pearson underwent an overhaul of processes and technology building a major legal operations team.

Lockie says: “I do believe lawyers are slow to change. With any change, it’s very important to understand the psychology of people you are dealing with. Inherently the legal profession is conservative, lawyers have been trained to focus on detail, analyse all potential issues, they tend to seek perfection and can be risk averse.”

2) Mick Sheehy, General Counsel, Telstra 

The profession has now woken up.” Mike Sheehy, Telstra GC

Mick Sheehy

Change challenge: Telstra is a model of legal innovation, in its first push, freeing up more than 40,000 hours per year of low value, unproductive work.

Sheehy says: “The legal profession has to date resisted change more than others.  This makes it fertile ground for those looking to work differently as there is much opportunity to make change.  But it feels like the profession has now woken up and the number of lawyers talking about change and taking action to make change increases every day. This makes it exciting times to be a lawyer.”

3) Chris Newby, General Counsel at AIG EMEA and Chief Operating Officer AIG Europe

Chris Newby

Challenge: Insurance giant, AIG, has overseen major change, automating mundane legal tasks, with a view to focusing the team on more sophisticated work.

“Generally, the way lawyers work is never easy. They are quite ingrained in the way they are trained and so getting them to take a holistic view of change can be tricky. But I think you have to force this holistic view. There are better ways of working, and you need to sell the positives of it, and that there will be benefits in the longer term.”

4) Casey Flaherty, former corporate counsel, and founder of Procertas

Casey Flaherty

Change Challenge: Casey Flaherty is a leading consultant on legal operations and process improvement in law departments.

Flaherty says:The legal profession is very slow to change. But so are most industries, professions, and people. Because it is the market in which I operate, I have this (possibly distorted) sense that legal’s veneration of precedent is a true differentiator in the Status Quo Bias Olympics.

Because it is the market in which I operate, I have this (possibly distorted) sense that legal’s veneration of precedent is a true differentiator in the Status Quo Bias Olympics, Casey Flaherty

“Then I read the research on the diffusion of innovations and, once again, am reminded that legal may not be that special, in ways good or bad. Change is hard. Change is slow. But, contrary to my own personal observations and intuitions, I am not confident change is materially harder or slower in legal.”

5) Sterling Miller, General Counsel, Marketo, & author of Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel

Sterling Miller

Change Challenge: In more than 20 years of experience as General Counsel, Sterling Miller has advised and provided perspective on change management.

“I think smaller law firms and smaller in-house legal departments are far more likely to adopt new methods and new technology than their larger counterpoints.  There is a lot of innovation going on in the legal profession, it just may not be at places that get the headlines.  If you really look, you will see it.”

Ensure you get your free copy of The In-House Counsel’s Guide To Change Management as soon as it lands to understand how the most innovative legal departments are achieving lasting legal change management.


Watch the trailer here

Download the eBook and start putting the art and science behind your legal change management strategy.


This Winter, Change Is Coming to Legal (official trailer+poster)

On Monday (December 11) LawGeex is launching  The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management. This is a unique  free, downloadable guide revealing the secrets of the most successful and innovative legal departments who are transforming the delivery of law. Check out the trailer below.

The book includes simple, practical advice based on dozens of interviews and real life experiences from the world’s leading in-house lawyers, psychologists, and legal experts. The guide features companies including Pearson, Telstra, Avis Budget Group, NetApp, L’Oreal, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Centrica, Royal Dutch Shell, Staples, Verizon, and Adobe.

The must-have legal download of the year 

Early in-house reviews have praised the guide as in-house lawyers talk about change management as their biggest challenge for 2018.

Fantastic narrative of in-house legal innovation … the start of the never-ending story …”, Mick Sheehy, GC, Telstra (Five stars *****)

“Great to see Lawgeex focusing on change management…by far the biggest challenge Legal Operations professionals face.”Áine Lyons VP and Deputy General Counsel, VMware

Great and timely” (Bjarne Tellmann) GC and Chief Legal Officer, Pearson

Make sure you receive the In-House Counsel’s Guide To Change Management first, and for free – click here

5 things in LegalTech: A Tale of Two Female Entrepreneurs

Your time is short. This quick read gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


LegalTech Deals! A tale of two female entrepreneurs

It was a week dominated by two female LegalTech entrepreneurs, points out Caroline Hill, Editor of Legal IT Insider.

First up, Alma Asay, founder and CEO of Allegory Law.  Allegory announced it was being sold to alternative legal services provider, Integreon. Asay is being brought in as Chief Innovation Officer, along with the entire Allegory team. Reporting on the deal, legal journalist, Bob Ambrogi at LawSites blog says Integreon now plans “to offer a true end-to-end solution for litigators and in-house legal departments.” Asay added: “Litigation teams more and more need a cloud-based solution where outside counsel and everyone on the litigation team can all build their case together.”

Secondly, Emily Foges, CEO of Luminance, celebrated a $10million Series A funding round. The UK-based legal AI due diligence contract review company is now valued at $50m, according to Jeremy Kahn at Bloomberg News. Kahn says with rise of legal AI, “now there’s some evidence these efforts are gaining traction – at least with investors.” The funding was led by Talis Capital, Invoke Capital (founded by Mike Lynch, the co-founder and former chief executive officer of U.K. software company Autonomy) and global law firm Slaughter & May, which “acquired a 5 % stake in Luminance in the spring, according to reports. The funding will help grow the company’s new U.S headquarters in Chicago.

Other Deals Legal IT Insider: NetDocuments buys enterprise chat site ThreadKM



Happy E-Discovery Day one and all

Those seeking an adrenaline rush after Black Friday and Cyber Monday celebrated the third ever E-Discovery Day on Friday (November 1). The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists and Practitioners launched a full day of “informative webcasts, in-person networking events and more.” Some highlight webinars included The Case is Done, but the Data is Still Everywhere;  Top 5 E-Discovery Process Improvements Legal Needs to Make But Haven’t (available here) and Reporters Recap Top E-Discovery Storylines from 2017, Schindler Cohen & Hochman LLP E-discovery expert, Syreeta Lee, and Director of software E-Discovery firm, Relativity, Doug Kaminski. Doug channeled the wisdom of fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, providing some reflections on the day.


Legal Week CONNECT + Who won? 

On the conference front,  Legal Week CONNECT at London’s Institution of Engineering and Technology, included debate on inclusion, law firm branding, legal technology and artificial intelligence. 

The British Legal awards , the culmination of the conference, (full list of winners here) recognized the “brightest and best” in the UK profession. On the tech front, we note wins for tech Supplier of the Year: iManage, and best Use of Technology in a firm going to Mishcon de Reya. The in-house winners included Pearson’s Bjarne Philip Tellmann, who was named General Counsel of the Year; Informa, which took the prize for Legal Department of the Year (TMT); and Royal Mail, which won the award for Legal Department of the Year (Commerce and Industry). Bjarne is among those featured in an upcoming LawGeex 20+ page book revealing the secrets of in-house innovation, The In-House Counsel’s Guide to Change Management (click here to get it first).  



LegalTech predictions 2018

It is the time to think back over 2017 and look forward to 2018. American Lawyer (What 2017’s Trends Can mean for Big Law in 2018)  began, predicting “more law firms partnering with tech vendors to meet client efficiency demands” and more substantial use of legal project management software.

For Artificial Lawyer, 2017 was when “The Legal AI Barbarians Have Already Taken The Gates“. Artificial Lawyer’s Legal AI expert, Richard Tromans concludes “As we approach the end of 2017, the technology is firmly ensconced at the highest levels of the market.”

Lucy Bassli, assistant General Counsel at Microsoft, in a must-read piece, expects a  further shift away from law “created by lawyers and for lawyers”. She expects a continuing move away from paper processes, and towards automation (Microsoft is working on contract bots to guide teams through the type of contract they require).

Meanwhile, Above the Law spoke with Jeff Ton to discuss Bluelock’s 2018 predictions for Legal, summarized by Joe Patrice as “Lots more ransomware and robots.”



LegalTech wins big in ABA Law Journal Web 100


LegalTech-first blogs rose to the most essential online reads. Every year since 2007, ABA Journal staffers have assembled a list of 100 favorite legal blogs. The 2017 list, rechristened the Web 100, included 50 blogs, 25 law podcasts and 25 tweeters for lawyers to follow. This LawGeex blog was proudly added to the list, along with names such as Artificial Lawyer, Clio, Ross Intelligence, Legal Mosaic, Legal Evolution, Legal Cheek and many others advocating LegalTech.

Marketo GC Sterling Miller, author of Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel: Practical Advice and Successful Strategies also posted Ten Legal Blogs You Should Check out 2017 (again this blog, and indeed, this column was excitedly featured). For all those who did not want to dignify such awards, we also salute you.

Subscribe to our mailing list (right, or below-on mobile) to receive this digest directly your inbox each week. 

In case you missed it! Webinar: 5 Steps to Implement a Contract Triage Process (LawGeex) 

LegalTech Diary upcoming events 

29-30 November: Legal Week Connect, London (Legal Week)

21 December: Save The Date! Christmas Drinks For Legal & Tech Professionals (London)


The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week.

New York Times: A.I. Will Transform the Economy. But How Much, and How Soon?

Ross Intelligence: LegalTech is Primed for Growth Investments Guest post by Catalyst Investors

LawSites Blog: Practice Management Companies Go to Court over Trademark dispute 

Above the Law: Conditions For AI Success: Discipline, Data, And Patience

Legal IT Professionals: Thomson Reuters Elite Announces Launch of ProLaw 2017.2



5 things in LegalTech: The Elon Musk of Legal & Must-read thoughts from a top legal department

Your time is short. This quick read  gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


LegalTech Interview of the week: The Elon Musk of Legal

Since making headlines with his DoNotPay chatbot (contesting more than $9.6 million in parking tickets), tech entrepreneur, 21-year-old, Joshua Browder has been busy. Originally from London, and now studying at Stanford University, Browder – who designed apps from a young age – is not letting up on a mission to end the access to justice gap through the use of technology. His next causes, he reveals, are immigration, divorce, and consumer rights.

On a break from Stanford, he met fellow North London boy, Artificial Lawyer’s Richard Tromans. The interview comes after Browder secured $1.1 in funding from top VCs Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and lawyers from Wilson Sonsini. Browder says: “Elon Musk has driverless cars and is sending rockets to mars. It seems possible that we can solve a few legal problems that are really just decision trees, and quite easy to solve.”

See also Legal Futures: Chatbot entrepreneur predicts automated legal future (Dan Bindman) interviews Browder, who says that up to 70% of the law can be carried out by robots, and all legal documents will be automated within a decade.

See also Meet Larissa, the Divorce Bot You Can Talk To


Must-read LegalTech thoughts from a top legal department

Nitin Batra, global chief operating officer in Citigroup’s Office of the General Counsel, talks about the future of LegalTech in a wide-ranging video interview with Bloomberg Law. Batra runs one of the largest legal departments in the world. He talks about four “buckets” in the world of LegalTech. These are 1) contract lifecycle management-now pretty sophisticated 2) “dealtech” (including “blockchain” and currently at the “promise” stage) 3) “big data and AI” and 4) rapid changes in legal operations.

Speaking of his company’s adoption of LegalTech, Batra says: “If you look at the financial services institutions that have been doing eBilling for a decade, with hundreds of millions of transactions having gone through it, that is a wealth of data that if we can put some intelligence around we can gain valuable insights and better decision-making capabilities.”



Law Schools must innovate, says the FT

Jonathan Moules in the Financial Times writes that Law schools must innovate to stay competitive. The piece says student admissions have been dropping in the US since 2010 at a rate not seen since the early 1970s, and law schools have been forced to innovate to attract applications. Daniel Rodriguez, dean of the Northwestern School of Law, quoted in the piece, says: “Clients increasingly expect their lawyers to be fully conversant with modern business practices.”

One solution to ensuring greater benchmarking of law school success on this front, comes from Daniel W. Linna Jr. who has created an “innovation” index for law schools. Linna spoke to Ed Sohn at Above the Law about the challenge and outlined his vision.

Read also Legal IT Insider: Where are all the LegalTech incubators Mitchell Kowalski, Professor in Legal Innovation at the University of Calgary Law School,

Read also: WSJ The Rise and Fall of a Law School Empire Fueled by Federal Loans



The world’s first law firm “without lawyers”

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported  that the people of Darwin can just about take the law into their own hands, with a new legal firm going “lawyer-free”.Cartland Law announced its launch of  Ailira (Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant)   located in Coolalinga Shopping Centre, south of Darwin. The company explains the office is set up in the style of a traditional legal office. “However when clients sit down, instead of having a lawyer opposite them, there is a screen, upon which is Ailira. The clients can then chat with Ailira about the legal information that they would like help with.”

The hybrid model also sees (human)lawyers on hand for when clients require legal advice.

The robots developer, tax lawyer Adrian Cartland says Ailira, is helping rural communities who need it most, providing everything from wills (around $115 per will) to business structuring, and asset protection. Cartland describes his motivation for providing automated and cheaper services, saying “people who really need access to justice are the people who can least afford it.”  Legal Technology News reported that Ailira  has also been granted funding from the Australian government to develop a prototype to help domestic violence victims with legal advice, which is in development. 


Legaltech due diligence for investors

Zirra, a financial platform providing investors with detailed information, now includes legal intelligence as part of its offering.  In “Think Again Before Investing in This Company: How to Detect Legal Issues with NLP”, Assaf Gilad, marketing manager at Zirra says: “Investors shouldn’t be afraid of legal issues before jumping into a new investment. However, it’s important they’re aware of these issues as early as possible, much earlier than the due diligence process. This is where AI and NLP technology can help with insights based on continuous monitoring of companies’ behavior and performance on the web.” The platform now provides “Instant Legal Alerts for entrepreneurs and investors to learn about a possible legal quarrel from the world wide web”, using examples from Magic Leap, SpaceX, Stitch Fix, and SoFi to show this analysis in practice.

Subscribe to our mailing list (right, or below on mobile) to receive this digest directly your inbox each week 

LegalTech Diary upcoming events

29 November: Webinar: 5 Steps to Implement a Contract Triage Process (LawGeex)

29-30 November: Legal Week Connect, London (Legal Week)

21 December: Save The Date! Christmas Drinks for Legal & Tech Professionals (London)

The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week. 

Artificial Lawyer: Start-Up PartnerVine + PwC to Sell Automated Legal Contracts

John Fallon: CEO Pearson: You’re Not Alone if You Think We Can Work with the Robots

Above the Law: From Biglaw To Legal Tech Startup: A Conversation With Logikcull’s Alexander Su

Above the Law: Biglaw Firm Brings On Technology Development Ninjas

Jake Heller (CaseText) Above the Law: Push Research: How AI Is Fundamentally Changing The Way We Research The Law

IP Leaders: Five Leaders of Silicon Valley Who Excelled at Contract Negotiation




5 things in LegalTech: CLOC Data Addiction and What is a Lawyer?

Your time is short. This quick read gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


CLOC delivers data on legal spend

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) aims to be data-first in reshaping the legal industry.  CLOC’s 2017 State of The Industry Survey released last week (based on a survey of 158 corporations across 11 countries), does not disappoint. The treasure trove of data reveals that legal spend is between 0.55% to 1.24% as a percentage of a corporation’s revenue. When it comes to legal spend, 62 cents of every $1 goes towards external legal costs (biotech companies spend the most). There is a 27:1 attorney-to-legal-operations professional ratio in companies. In a deep dive into legal tech buying, 83% of companies use an eBilling system and five vendors dominate this market (Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker, 34%; Mitratech Collaborati TeamConnect, 13.5%; T360 TyMetrix 9%; Lexis Nexis Counsel Link,7.7%; SimpleLegal, 5.8%). Nearly half of all companies surveyed have no contract management system, but the most popular provider is Apttus (10.3%), followed by Ariba (7.7%)

Read also:

Gabrielle Orum Hernandez’s take in Legaltech  News Legal Ops Teams, You May Have More Power to Shape E-Billing Than You Think 

Rhys Dipshan, LegalTech News: Despite Nascent Market, Need and Flexibility Drive Contract Management Adoption 



Deal of the week: AbacusNext acquires HotDocs

Zach Warren in Legaltech News describes the acquisition of document automation company HotDocs by private equity-backed tech house AbacusNext. “The acquisition, for which financial details have not been announced, allows AbacusNext to integrate HotDocs’ software into its own offerings, allowing for generation of customized documents such as contracts, sales agreements, government forms and loan documentation. HotDocs currently boasts a user base of more than one million customers in 60 countries. The deal also includes HotDocs’ online marketplace for document templates, HotDocs Market.” HotDocs was chosen by GCs for inclusion in LawGeex In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide 2017 as a top software for contract drafting. Clients include HSBC Singapore who use it to generate facility letters for its corporate customers, while The U.S. Department of Justice uses HotDocs across its 94 offices primarily for litigation paperwork. Legal IT Insider says “AbacusNext, which is majority owned by Rhode Island-headquartered private equity house Providence Equity Partners, has a combined user base of 1.5m worldwide and promises a compliance-ready suite of technology solutions designed to cloud-enable desktop, mobile and SaaS applications in a single sign-on, secured and fully managed environment.” It has left legal commentators wondering whether this points to further LegalTech consolidation?



The big questions: What is a lawyer?

Never one to shy away from big questions, Mark Cohen in Forbes asks What’s A Lawyer Now? For a profession-that like to define terms – it is increasingly difficult to answer as tech and assumptions are in flux. “Just knowing the law’ does not cut it”, says Cohen, and the old-school law firm model –“brute force, labor intensive economic model, pursuit of perfection and lots of billed hours” -is giving way to “other professionals and para-professionals-not to mention machines”. The good news: lawyers sticking to empathy, persuasion and judgement are definitely part of the answer.

The big question 2: What is the future of AI and the law?

Much is written about the advance of AI and how this will affect the professions. Professor Richard Susskind, author of Tomorrow’s Lawyer, was invited last week to give evidence to the UK’s House of Lords as they debate the challenges for AI and policy makers. For a snapshot of his evidence (covering the pace of change, impact on society, and ethics of AI) see here.



Legal innovators of the week: Microsoft, Lyft, AIG

Dervish Tayyip, assistant GC at Microsoft, provides an insight into transformative technological innovation and its impact on the in-house legal & compliance community  after two major events: The Economist General Counsel 2017  and The Corporate Counsel Forum Europe 2017. Tayyip says: “I was struck by the extent to which the senior European in-house lawyers and compliance professionals in attendance were both very excited by the opportunities presented but also anxious about how they would manage the risks, not to mention the implications for their jobs.”

He argues that senior in-house lawyers are ideally positioned to influence both the direction of the strategy their business. He says: “I’m not just referring to in-house lawyers’ immense purchasing power. It’s also the fact that it is the very organizations in which their departments sit that have access to the valuable data that will power the move from traditional sustaining technologies on which lawyers have hitherto relied.”

Also for innovation, read from last week:

LawGeex Tales of LegalTech adoption: Chris Newby AIG

The Recorder: Legal Departments of the Year: Lyft 


LegalTech profile of the week: meet Lara (from Legal.io)

Legal.io launches LARA, a machine-learning powered interface that pulls from millions of data-points across the entire Legal.io network. Pieter Guns,  the Co-founder and President of Legal.io,  founded at Stanford University, says Lara’s first legal skill  is  non-disclosure agreements. “Instead of Avvo telling attorneys what to charge for an NDA, our platform collects thousands of legal data points and collates that information in a single location. Further, it’s more than just another chatbot or document generator. It gives the client a direct way to connect with a trusted attorney or local bar association lawyer referral service.”


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LegalTech Diary upcoming events 

29 November: Webinar5 Steps to Implement a Contract Triage Process (LawGeex) 

29-30 November: Legal Week Connect, London (Legal Week)

21 December: Save The Date! Christmas Drinks For Legal & Tech Professionals (London)

The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week.

From LawGeex

Tales of LegalTech adoption: Chris Newby AIG

From other sites: 

Law.com:  For Better Code, GitLab’s Lawyers Try Ditching the Legalese

Ross Intelligence: AI Pioneer Randy Goebel joins ROSS Intelligence

Lex Machina Adds Analytics for Product Liability Litigation

Allen & Overy Expands Legal App Subscription Business With Neota Logic

Bloomberg: Smart Contracts are still way too dumb

Tales of LegalTech Adoption: Chris Newby, General Counsel at AIG

LawGeez_socialmedia_Twitter_2 (002)In a series of monthly interviews, LawGeex speaks to top In-House Counsel adopting legal technology to enhance productivity. Here, we speak to Chris Newby, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at AIG EMEA

Chris Newby, General, AIG EMEA

How is AIG’s in-house team organized? Size and reporting function?

I have 70 lawyers in EMEA. I am based in London acting as General Counsel for EMEA. We also have a legal operations center headquartered in Europe, which helps with panel management, billing and eDiscovery.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an in-house team? 

Career progression is probably one of the hardest thing to achieve for people. In fact, one of the ways we are trying to use technology is trying to automate the more mundane legal tasks, with a view to focusing the team on more sophisticated work. We have large volumes of work, so a challenge is clearing lower level work, enabling us to focus on more strategic work.

Founded in 1919, AIG is a leading insurance company serving clients in 80+ countries & jurisdictions

We use DocuSign for our automatic signature system and have eBilling. Following a successful pilot, we also have automated NDA process, which we recently further adopted across each country. In addition, we built our own in-house workflow tool to better understand what our lawyers are working on and allocate matters to lawyers. Though we have a document management system, we are looking at a new solution for the legal team.

We also have a legal center in Manila where company queries go automatically, helping to automate this process.

What problems and pain points were you trying to solve with tech adoption?

The workflow tool which was built in-house was designed to solve a problem of understanding what everyone is working on, and the volume of work coming through to different areas in legal. This enabled us to effectively clear out the noise and focus on the more sophisticated legal issues.

What results have you seen through the adoption of LegalTech?

In the UK, 60-70 confidentiality agreements are automated weekly. This essentially frees up a junior lawyers’ entire week. The workflow system provides valuable data such as which department uses legal the most. Incidentally Financial Lines, and our consumer unit are the business lines which relies on legal the most!Over 24 months, our approach has enabled us to save around 15-20% of lawyer’s time, which we have then reinvested.

Over 24 months, our approach has enabled us to save around 15-20% of lawyer’s time, which we have then reinvested.

Our lawyers now have more time to do the things they want to.

What processes or improvements are you looking to enhance using tech in the future?

If you look from an insurance perspective, if you can automate more around the insurance policy, and the contractual construction of the agreement that is a big win.

In addition, I think there is a lot you can do with technology around understanding your legal risk.  If you are worried about a certain term, a good document management system can automatically show how many contracts have that specific wording in it.

Overall, explaining to your board where you are with your legal operational risk is one of the biggest wins you can get from technology. You can track the data with a lot more precision, and can map volume. At some point, you have to look at ways of not reducing your headcount, but keeping your current costs stable. Technology helps to bring those costs down.

What is the main advice you would give any in-house counsel about the challenges/ opportunities or obstacles in a legal tech buying journey?

Generally, the way lawyers work is never easy. They are quite ingrained in the way they are trained and so getting them to take a holistic view of change can be tricky. But I think you have to force this holistic view. There are better ways of working, and you need to sell the positives of it, and that there will be benefits in the longer term.

I think it is easier if you have a bigger team, as you have to go through a data gathering period which puts an extra burden on your legal team. Until you get to data, to show your CFO or CEO that you can apply technology to a certain volume of work, then you won’t have something substantial to build a case. For most lawyers that will be a burden on them because it is not part of their daily schedule. Yet there is a need to take this step, which could just mean building a simple excel spreadsheet or just get people to capture more information.

There is also a lot technology out there. It is hard for a GC with a limited budget to say with confidence “I want to buy X’.  For a lot of lawyers, they are not necessarily from a tech background and have concerns that if they buy it, it won’t do everything you want from it. In particular, if you hang your hat on a business case and it turns out not to be exactly as you expected it can be very expensive. I think that there is a hump that lawyers are trying to get over right now: when I look at the market what do I buy?

I think that there is a hump that lawyers are trying to get over right now: when I look at the market what do I buy?

Did tech adoption mean a reduction in staff?

Not at all. If you are trying to get people to buy into technology, I think it is important to remove the myth that computers and automation will replace workers. It is important to combine technology and people to get better outcomes. It should be seen as a way of achieving some cost reduction. In other areas, it is keeping costs stable.

Should lawyers be worried about automation or rise of technology?

I am not sure they should be worried, but lawyers, whether they are in private practice or in-house, have to embrace technology as a way of improving the service they provide. I also believe that it is necessary to attract the best talent. If you can take out all the mundane in the work, making the daily diet of legal work is more sophisticated, you look like a more attractive proposition than not having a way of getting through the churn.  As a GC, you can choose outsourcing the boring work at a heavy cost; use technology; or you have to do it yourself, which means your lawyers get bored because there is no variety.

Is today’s tech age, a better or worse time to be an in-house counsel?

I think it’s a good time. Historically a question that a lot of companies struggle with is if you have to explain your operational legal risk to your Board or to your CEO, that is a pretty tricky question.

Technology enables you to, firstly, get the data, but also enables you to automate, and better capture your legal risks. So you do not have to have members of your legal team doing administrative tasks. Technology is also getting cheaper. If you go back five years, purchasing a sophisticated document management system was a big investment, now there is a lot of competition in that space making technology, including legal technology, within the reach of smaller companies.

Chris is among the top in-house counsel featured in The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide.

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

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5 things in LegalTech: How lawyers celebrated #STEMDay?

Your time is short. This quick read gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


Happy #STEM Day to lawyers

On November 8 the world celebrated National S.T.E.M Day. With occupations related to S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) expected to grow 70 percent faster than other professions, lawyers embraced the day. There was a special session to recruit STEM graduates to a legal profession which is (slowly) embracing tech, data and science as part of its present and future. In a London session, “Why STEM students make great lawyers?”  STEM-graduates-turned-lawyers from Allen & Overy, LexisNexis, Bristows, and Reed Smith spoke about their journey.  Virginia Jones  converted to law after completing a civil engineering degree , ultimately qualifying in commercial dispute resolution.  Gemma Barrett, now a partner and IP specialist at Bristows, graduated  from Oxford with a Master’s in biochemistry before making the switch. Barrett argues her background provides a powerful advantage in day-to-day work advising the world’s leading life sciences and technology companies.


Other STEM-turned Law graduates posted about the benefits of law, after making the jump, including Euan Alston, who is set to become a trainee solicitor at CMS UK but started out as a biomedical sciences graduate.



Do lawyers need math?

On a related theme, lawyers took to Quora this week to answer definitively whether you can be a lawyer if you are not good at math? The consensus is that, even as tech makes greater inroads, math is not a prerequisite.  Isaac Fischer, Certified Family Law Specialist said: “Oh, HECK YEA. Most of my colleagues are not particularly good at math. Some are horrible at it actually. Actually, as I was growing up, I told anyone who would listen, ‘I don’t need to learn this [math]. I’ll never use it’. No one really listened.” Suzanne Kiera Anthony, former Trial Attorney, added it is unnecessary unless “you want to practice in an area that requires math skill, like tax law.”

But over on Twitter, attorney and Law Professor, Daniel W. Linna Jr, at a legal workshop on Blockchain, quoted a session with Pamela Morgan, an attorney, educator, entrepreneur, and public speaker, who advises on crypto-holdings. The takeaway from the talk: “For people who say ‘I don’t like math’ my advice is get comfortable”.




One legal-survey-message rules them all

Several surveys on the issue of tech and innovation (or lack of it) came out.The Exterro 2017 In-House Legal Benchmarking Report  set the scene: 51% of in-house legal teams report that more than half of their legal activities are now conducted internally requiring better use of innovation and technology.

Nevertheless, Legal Week and Georgina Stanley reported that the Smith & Williamson’s annual law firm survey shows more than half of law firm respondents pinpoint the adoption of new technology as one of the biggest challenges (along with talent retention).

Innovation was also the buzzword at the Lawyer’s In-house Counsel as Business Partner Conference in London. “Many firms are branding themselves as innovation leaders, but a survey of the over 100 in-house attendees at the conference showed that roughly 70 per cent weren’t sure what technology solutions their panel firms were using.”

Things that are not helping 1) “Law Firm BS”. Casey Flaherty, a legal operations consultant who advises lawyers on tech writes in his blog:“In the context of an RFI, don’t talk to me about ROSS (legal AI research), or anything else, unless you can connect it to a concrete benefit for the client. ”

Things that are not helping 2) Staci Zaretsky in Above The Law reports on a new initiative to help prevent women leaving the law. Per, the ABA, women over 50 now make up only 27 percent of lawyers at firms.




eDiscovery tech for in-house lawyers

LegalTech News reported that the state of tech in eDiscovery is laid bare in a new report. It asked what are the buying habits of GCs and corporate attorneys choosing eDiscovery solutions? 72 percent, said they purchased e-discovery technology or services on an “as-needed” rolling basis, while 28 percent purchased it annually.  Only 19 percent also said they have a global platform they use for most matters, while 50 percent said they have different technology and services for each matter. Their biggest e-Discovery challenge? 42 percent of respondents cited managing the overall costs of e-discovery or keeping within budget, while 36 percent struggled either with managing the volume of e-Discovery data or integration with other legal systems.



LegalTech interview of the week: Intraspexion

It is only natural that in our STEM-based edition we feature this CODEX interview with  Nick Brestoff, 69, the founder and CEO of Intraspexion offering “Preventive Law with AI”. Brestoff is an engineer-turned-lawyer whose company is addressing the painful problem that bedevils corporate legal departments: the frequency and cost of litigation. “Intraspexion provides an early warning of specific types of possible litigation to in-house legal staff”. His advice to other tech entrepreneurs: “Find the pain to address first. Find the return on investment for your vision. Then, have the courage to fight off the depressing occasions.”

Subscribe to our mailing list (right) to receive this digest directly your inbox each week. 

LegalTech Diary upcoming events 

14 November:  WebinarEmerging Trends and Legal Analytics for Product Liability (Lex Machina) 14 November 2017

29 November: Webinar5 Steps to Implement a Contract Triage Process (LawGeex) 

29-30 November: Legal Week Connect, London (Legal Week)

21 December: Save The Date! Christmas Drinks For Legal & Tech Professionals (London)

The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week.

From LawGeex

IACCM Journal: Want to improve your contracting processes? Put technology to work!

From other sites: 

Claims News: Keoghs unveils AI insurance lawyer

Law Sites: NextChapter Unveils Its Next Chapter: A Portal For Bankruptcy Debtors

Law Sites: A Closer Look at Clio’s Revamped Practice Management Platform 

Artificial Lawyer: Mexico’s Laboralisto Paves Way To Labour Law Predictive Capability