The LegalTech market is booming and it’s no small wonder: servicing the legal services market that in 2019 in the UK market is estimated at around £35bn and globally is expected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2021.
Information has been deployed for a long time to make things easier for lawyers and legal professionals, but the latest wave of LegalTech is different: thanks to the use of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, better data analytics or smart contracts and blockchain, every corner of the legal industry gets disrupted and transformed.
To keep tabs on these developments we produce two tools:
- The PlanetCompliance LegalTech Directory, the Who is Who in LegalTech, a directory published once a year that gives you a comprehensive overview of the sector and lets you easily find the right provider; and
- The LegalTech 500 – previously entirely based on social media metrics, the 2020 edition will be based on our methodology that considers factors such as the value of the proposition, ease of implementation, company setup, team, funding, and communication – just to name a few of the many aspects that we review to bring you every week the latest list.
2020 is going to bring plenty of changes to the way we produce these two publications. So, if you are one of those clever firms that make legal work easier and better through LegalTech and would like to be listed for free, drop us a line at info (at) planetcompliance.com with the following information (Please note: you don’t need to provide us with everything but the more information we have the better we can evaluate your company and the more accurate your score):
- Name and Surname
- E-mail address
- Company name
- Your role
- Year founded
- Company headquarter and other office locations
- LegalTech Categories
- What is the problem your solution solves and how
- Number of full time employees
- Annual revenue
- External funding raised so far
- Who are your investors?
- Industry events sponsored and when?
- Social Media accounts (e.g. Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube)
And if you are simply interested in understanding how these firms turn the world of legal professionals upside down, here is a little run down on how certain areas are brought into the digital age:
Practice Management Software
Practice Management Software that focuses on the day-to-day management of running a legal practice has been around for a long time: billing, accounting, payments or time management are core aspects but new LegalTech solutions take it to another level thanks to process automation, the use of cloud storage and software as a service.
Lawyers amass documents – either on paper or digital, but what they have in common is that these physical or virtual piles need to be managed. Thankfully, systems have evolved over time and cutting-edge solutions make documents more accessible – both in terms of time and location since it is store in an easier and more efficient manner. Artificial Intelligence is at the core of many solutions that help finding relevant data and information across the entire document stock of a firm. Something that took traditional search software ages – if they were to provide the same level of insight at all.
Legal Marketplaces and Networks
Instead of asking your cousin Joe who specializes in some field of law that has not the slightest to do with what you need, the world is now at your fingertips: finding the right lawyer has never been so easy, but progress is not limited to a new form of the yellow pages. LegalTech solutions let you compare lawyers to find the most suitable one and make it easier to get legal advice or specific contracts and agreements through a few mouse clicks without having to go through time consuming and expensive consultations. At the same time Legal Marketplaces and Networks bring legal professionals together: make referrals and share opportunities, help each other with legal and professional advice, and access tools and resources to help them do their jobs and jumpstart their careers. And we are not talking about the traditional online and offline job boards, but rather solutions offering matchmaking between lawyers and clients with integrated billing.
Talking about online services, the area of Legal Services consists of any form of digitalization of traditional legal service like the provision of services provided by a qualified legal professional and that in many cases involves an element of automation. For example, the creation of contracts without no other direct interaction that completing an online form with required details that provides you with the final document ready to sign in minutes. A little more sophisticated is the automation of due diligence where the machine collates the relevant documents, streamlines unstructured data, and conducts an analysis. And one step further are notarisation tools that aim to provide consumers with instruments to have documents certified or notarised online for example through the use of blockchain technology that can be faster, cheaper and more secure.
For the untrained eye, contracts might just be another document but proper contract management differs significantly in its requirements especially with a view to the exchange and negotiation of contracts between the different parties. Lawyers negotiating agreements often create numerous versions that are difficult to keep track of and a good contract management software also provides for integration of other applications like project management, cost calculations and administration, always evidencing and highlighting changes in an auditable and legally robust way.
Another key responsibility of lawyers is legal research and traditional solutions have tried to crack this nut for a long time, but only the latest solutions using smart data analytics and machine learning are capable of dealing with the ever-increasing amount of information. And they produce better results, too.
A little bit more specific is the process of E-Discovery. That is basically the search, collection, storage, analysis and exchange of electronic data for evidence to be used in legal proceedings. There are very specific rules that govern the use of such tools depending on the different jurisdictions and since electronically stored information comes in many shapes and more importantly formats, it is paramount that a solutions can bring information together from PDFs, Word docs and e-mails. It’s particularly neat though if it can also match data from, say, the specific databases of a firm, so basically any document that’s electronic and often unstructured, thus in most cases useless.
Intellectual Property support is becoming an increasingly important field in legal services and LegalTech solutions cover anything from the search for competing IP, help with the registration of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other IP rights, to the protection of an individual’s or a firm’s intellectual property. There are also solutions for IP asset management that manage the existing assets and help with the development or monetization of IP portfolios.
And to conclude our non-exhaustive list of LegalTech categories, we want to remind you that legal business is a pricey affair. To be in the right and to be put in the right are often two entirely different things, but in any case it needs money to bring a case to court as it habitually is a lengthy process. Legal or plaintiff financing has a long history especially in the US and the basic idea is to provide a plaintiff with the money needed for paying legal costs and other costs like working capital or personal expenses. Crowdfunding is the magic word LegalTech firms have brought to the table and through such platforms and online marketplaces investors can find cases they want to put their money in exchange for a financial return if the plaintiff wins the case.
Naturally, this only scratches the surface, but thanks to our LegalTech Directory and the LegalTech 500 you will gain a better insight and understanding of the industry. And if you have any questions or comments, drop us a line: info (at) planetcompliance.com