5 things in LegalTech: The Big Financial Times Report & books of the year

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

1

The Big FT Legal Innovation Report 

The Financial Times published its North America Innovative Lawyers report.  The special report, encompasses 12 articles and 25 tables listing the legal innovators, law firms and in-house counsel making waves. Reena SenGupta, founder of the program, who has spent the last decade researching and interviewing innovative lawyers, introduces the 2017 report talking about a “puzzle at the heart of the North American legal market.” She says: “The US is home to many of the world’s most innovative businesses, but when it comes to the most successful law firms, many are surprisingly conservative.”

For instance, “Only 9 per cent of the clients interviewed in connection with 127 submissions of work in the legal expertise category for this report said technology had been used by their law firms in a way that improved the way that the work was done.” Despite this, U.S legal trailblazers can be found, including:

  • The top 25  U.S firms and legal service providers (including top-five Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Hogan Lovells; McGuireWoods; Kirkland & Ellis; and DLA Piper).
  • Top 25 U.S In-house teams (top five: GE, BMO Financial, HPE, IBM, and 3M).
  • Top 10 Legal Innovators (ultimate winner, Stephen Manning, of the Innovation Law Lab created a pro-bono network to defend refugees in the US., using standout technology and data analytics).

2

LegalTech company of the week

Legal journalist, Robert Ambrogi, described the launch of HelpSelf Legal, an automated platform that will help users file to obtain domestic violence restraining orders.  Mashable’s Rebbeca Ruiz writes: “Whatever happens next, the launch of HelpSelf Legal has drawn attention to a little-known but widespread problem that the smart application of technology could one day improve.”

3

From Attorneys to Entrepreneurs 

Lawyer-turned-founder and CEO of LawGeex, Noory Bechor writes in LegalTech News about the challenges he, and all lawyers, face shifting from a legal to an entrepreneurial mindset.

Even more unique is the move from being in entrepreneurial mode in Silicon Valley to becoming a lawyer. The Philly Inquirer tells the story of systems engineer Michael Hollander. From coding and earning $90,000 a year in San Francisco, he quit for law school to combine entrepreneurial and legal talents to represent the poor and downtrodden. He now uses his tech and legal skills to represent the previously underrepresented (using mapping software, Hollander was able to figure out how much time farm workers were owed as they moved around, and creating a program that automated expungement petitions).

4.

Biggest LegalTech stories of 2017 (continued)

Top legal blogs continue to announce their most popular stories  (and pick of trends) in 2017. For  The 3 Geeks and a Law Blog the most read blog of the year was its piece “On Law Firm Marketing Bullshit”. Introducing a series on the theme, Casey Flaherty, legal operations consultant and the founder of Procertas says:” I am top-tier consumer of law firm marketing bullshit. I am a bullshit connoisseur.” Number 2 in the top in 2017: Why now? The rise of alternative legal service providers and 3) Why sole provider isn’t really a thing and I’m not going to say it anymore.

David Horrigan, of Relativity provided a look back over 2017 e-dicovery and case law, in Legal Tech News. He writes:Whether it’s high-profile litigants such as Taylor Swift or an e-discovery sanctions case making it to the US Supreme Court, data discovery has made it to legal prime time.”

Legal journalist, Bob Ambrogi, also looks back on 2017, looking into his back catalog to find the word that best sums 2017. While artificial intelligence came close to dominating, analytics surged, and legal bots were busy. Overall, the Legaltech word of the year is “blockchain”. 

5.

Books “to keep a legal mind gripped”

The Times invites Legal personalities to give their books of 2017. It claims our reviewers understand the ingredients needed to keep a “legal mind gripped”. Kirsty Brimelow, QC chose The Power by Naomi Alderman; Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance, and The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory by David Bolchover.

Richard Susskind elected Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri; La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman; Scott Turow and Liquid Legal,Transforming Legal into a Business Savvy, Information Enabled and Performance Driven Industry edited by Kai Jacob, Dierk Schindler and Roger Strathausen.

Felicity Gerry, QC opted for Justice for All and How to Achieve it by Geoffrey Nice, QC; Dismembered by Polly Toynbee and David Walker.  Alex Wade recommends The Savage Poodle, by Richard Barr and Ben Staveley: Faultless Grammar: The Busy Lawyer’s Reminder Guide.

 

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

From LawGeex:

LawGeex Launches Definitive In-House Counsel Guide to Change 

From other sites:

Artificial Lawyer: US Politicians Call for ‘Future of AI Act’, May Shape Legal Factors

Crunchbase News: Lawyer Culture: The Boundary To VC Funding For Legal Startups?

Legal Rebels Podcast: Tech coach Adriana Linares brings law firms into the present and future
MIT Technology Review: Lawyer-Bots Are Shaking Up Jobs

Brad Blickstein, Law.com  There is no shortcut to Legal operations Maturity