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The Brits Are Coming With LegalTech

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 12, 2017 6:57 AM

Sometimes, it seems like the English have to tell Americans what they've been missing.

Like rock and roll. While Chuck Berry was playing juke joints in the United States, the Beatles were bringing the sound to the Ed Sullivan Show.

Now it's the tech show. London-based firm Allen & Overy has opened up its office space for 60 entrepreneurs to develop technologies for the law firm and other businesses. It's an approach that is going to make some American firms wonder, "Why didn't we think of that?"

Key Practice Areas

The venture will give lawyers access to tech experts, and tech experts access to lawyers. They will work together in three areas: legaltech, regtech, and dealtech.

"Not surprisingly, this dovetails three key firm practice areas," Forbes observed in an article about the new program.

According to the report, the firm will cross-pollinate its clients and tech resources to create new products and better client solutions. The law firm is aiming beyond law practice; it wants to become a leader in legal technology.

A&O is not the only law firm to venture into legaltech. Baker McKenzie, for example, partnered with A&O to create a legal innovation zone within Ulster University.

Across the Pond

In the U.S., law firms are also adapting more legal technology. Seyfather Shaw, for example, has put software robots to work.

But American lawyers seem more concerned about being replaced by robots than developing them. Recent studies show that 23 percent of attorney tasks can be handled by automation.

Forbes says that firms like A&O have seen the writing on the wall. They have recognized the integral role of technology in the delivery of legal services, and they are embracing it.

"The days of routinized 'legal' work being delivered by high-priced associates are clearly over," the magazine says.

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