UK Gov Leads Legal Tech Trade Mission to Austria + Switzerland

Following an earlier success in relation to fintech, the British Government is leading a Legal Tech Trade Mission to Austria and Switzerland to promote UK-based vendors to lawyers and corporates in the two European countries.

The two-day mission is designed to enable legal tech companies to ‘meet new customers and potentially win new contracts’.

The project, supported by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and pioneered by the Department for International Trade (DIT), along with Scottish Development International, is calling on the legal tech sector for companies that wish to come along on the first trade mission of this kind.

The mission will take place on 6th and 7th November 2018 and is open to all companies operating out of the UK in the legal tech sphere, including legal AI and automation-focused vendors. 

The Swiss event is being organised in conjunction with the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce and will attract up to 100 leading law firms and legal counsel, while the Austrian event will form part of the Future Law’s Legaltech Conference 2018 and will attract 250 law firm and legal counsel delegates.

Miles Fisher, Deputy Head of Trade and Investment, DIT, Austria, told Artificial Lawyer that they are very happy to include startups as long as they have at least a working proof of concept. The conference in Vienna (pictured above) will also be hosting a special startup space as part of the event.

Legal tech companies in the UK may not know too much about either of these markets, but Switzerland in particular is no stranger to startups and tech pioneering, having become in recent years a centre for blockchain and smart contract entrepreneurs. And Thomson Reuters also has one of its Incubator Labs based in Zurich.

Both Austria and Switzerland, given their strong banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors, have developed a range of independent law firms working across all areas of commercial legal practice. A number of US and UK law firms also have outposts in Switzerland, often related to trade and global regulatory work, due to the number of international bodies based there. Meanwhile Austria is often seen by some European companies and their lawyers as a jumping off point into Eastern Europe. It also has several law firms allied to or associated with UK-based firms.

It should prove to be an interesting project to be part of, with perhaps further opportunities developing in the future for other legal tech trade missions to other countries, although the DIT at present is currently focused on these two countries.

The expression of interest portal is now live and can be found here. Or, you can email: / (Switzerland); and / (Austria).

In other UK legal tech news with a Government connection, the Law Commission has recently published a consultation paper on the electronic execution of documents.

The purpose of this project is to ensure that the law governing the electronic execution of documents, including electronic signatures, is sufficiently certain and flexible to remain fit for purpose in a global, digital, environment. The consultation is open until 23 November 2018 and can be downloaded here.

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