Wanted: DIY-style tools to boost legal tech adoption


Legal technology promises to make lawyers’ lives easier — and the pandemic has highlighted how much this is needed as working from home becomes widespread. But critics say its scale is unlikely to ever reach that of financial technology.

Demand from clients to achieve more with less has forced the legal profession to innovate in recent years, and the legal tech market has been growing fast, offering a vast range of products for specific uses.

The next step is to move from products with narrow uses to customisable tools that lawyers can use like building blocks according to their requirements, say legal tech proponents.

“A few years ago we had a lot of vendors appearing that created point solutions [for single issues] that were often used for very deep but narrow use cases,” says Oliver Campbell, head of practice operations at Hogan Lovells.

“They were great but they didn’t integrate with everything else,” he says. However, they have started building better connections between [computer] programs, “because they realise you want to connect their software to something else”.

Legal tech is still a minnow compared with the explosion of innovation in banking and finance and insurance, and the scale of investment is at an earlier stage in development than fintech.

In the UK, lawtech companies attracted around £260m in the first half of 2019 compared to around £2.1bn in fintech investment,…

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