The UK’s Barclays bank has today launched a new legal tech incubator in partnership with the Law Society of England & Wales. The venture is backed by major law firms, including Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Simmons & Simmons, as well as leading universities UCL and The University of Liverpool.
The bank said in a statement to Artificial Lawyer that the aim is ‘to turbo-charge the UK’s law-tech sector, helping companies start up and scale up, and become international leaders in their field, matching the UK’s reputation as a leader in the legal services sector’.
The legal tech Eagle Lab will open in Notting Hill, London, and create a centre of excellence. It will provide co-working space and support for up to 100 individuals, with events and meet-up space expected to be confirmed soon.
Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays UK, said: ‘Law tech is an area where the UK has every reason to be a world leader. It is home to some of the greatest law firms in the world and we want to help build on the success of its legal sector, and play a leading role in transforming law-tech in the future. The impressive range of partners supporting this initiative shows just how important this is.’
Stephanie Pagni, General Counsel for Barclays UK, said: ‘This initiative will help trigger a transformation in law-tech with significant potential, addressing not just commercial but also societal legal problems, and drawing on the expertise of data scientists, engineers and a range of other graduates and contributors from our university partners.’
Legal Geek, will also play a role in organising events to encourage the sharing of ideas, and help entrepreneurs network and collaborate.
Christina Blacklaws, vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales, added: ‘As new technologies continue to be developed, they are changing the way solicitors and their clients approach legal issues. Law-tech is an important area of focus for us as we seek to help solicitors and law firms keep pace with evolving client expectations.’
‘We want to ensure the profession is promoting and adopting new ideas and technologies to provide the best possible service to their clients. This collaboration will create a forum for solicitors to learn and innovate with entrepreneurs and developers for the common good of the legal sector. We encourage all our members to get involved,’ she said.
Jimmy Vestbirk, Founder of Legal Geek, concluded: ‘The launch of this new law-tech incubator marks an exciting time for the legal profession. The law-tech space has huge potential for growth, and with initiatives like this, I wholeheartedly believe that the same success we have seen in the UK’s thriving fintech scene can be replicated.’
The law-tech Eagle Lab is the latest in a growing network of 15 Labs set up by Barclays to help start-up and scale up businesses to create, innovate and grow.
The new incubator will be modelled on the highly successful technology incubator at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Cambridge, which included Wavelength Law.