Legal Tech: gearing up for disruption

| Ella Halmari

Category: Tech & innovation

Travel, banking, music – all industries we would argue have been well and truly disrupted. The traditional (some might even say stuffy) world of law doesn’t first jump to mind when we think of a sector brimming with exciting startups. But legal tech might just be one of the most interesting verticals to keep an eye on. There is huge scope to make accessing legal services less of a frustration and easier on the wallet for the consumer – but also to drive efficiencies and streamline processes for lawyers themselves.

So who are the companies already innovating in these areas?

On the client-facing side of legal tech we have broadly observed companies split into two categories.  The first includes those making it easier and faster to find the right lawyer at the right price, like Lexoo, who have developed an online marketplace that lets small businesses receive quotes from multiple lawyers. There are also those facilitating “DIY” law, such as CaseHub, a platform for organising class action lawsuits against large companies, or Farewill, an online portal for writing personalised and legally-binding wills.  Quickly comparing prices and generating simple legal documents should drive prices (and stress levels) down for businesses and consumers alike.

And who are the legal tech startups making life easier for lawyers themselves? The high-growth companies driving efficiencies at law firms primarily focus on automating processes like document checking or project-tracking. These technologies should help save lawyers money on admin staff, and free up lawyer time for legal work. Scribestar, for example, provide internet based editing and review software for legal admin documents. The company raised £1.28m earlier this year at a £5.5m valuation in their fifth round of fundraising.

Watch this space

So what next? It’s early days for the market – only 11% of legal tech startups have achieved growth-stage in their development – but it looks a bit of a buzz is starting to build around legal tech. Seedcamp have partnered with NextLaw Labs (a Dentons subsidiary), to find and support early stage legal startups. According to Reshma Sohoni, Founding Partner of Seedcamp, “the legal market is primed for fresh, forward-thinking startups to come in and shake up tradition,” and we would agree. However, there’s a long road ahead for these high-growth businesses. Lawyers are notoriously slow adopters and there will be plenty of challenges in gaining acceptance and integrating various systems.

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