MDR LAB Legal Tech Incubator Opens for 2019, Partners with Microsoft + AWS

UK-based law firm Mishcon de Reya has today opened applications for MDR LAB 2019, its legal tech and prop tech incubator. It will also be partnering with Microsoft and AWS to provide the startups with improved resources during their stay at the firm’s London office.

This is the third year that the programme has run. The law firm said that it would like to hear from companies at ‘concept through to revenue-generating stage’, as long as the product or service is applicable to the legal industry. Companies can be from anywhere in the world, but will need to come to London for the 10 week incubator.

MDR LAB, pioneered by the firm’s CSO, Nick West, has rapidly become a mainstay of the legal tech landscape, helping 11 companies so far to improve their products and at the same time help the firm’s lawyers to learn more about leveraging technology in their practices.

The firm has also invested in some of the startups from the first two cohorts, such as prop tech company, Thirdfort, as well as time-keeping system, Ping. However, where the firm has not invested it has still stayed close to the startups and helped them with useful feedback and guidance even after leaving the incubator. Startups have told Artificial Lawyer that the experience was invaluable as they were able to have a hands-on understanding of what lawyers really wanted from their application, which in turn led to a better product.

Having been in a well-known incubator such as MDR LAB also helps a startup to gain funding, as investors are more likely to see the company as credible. Moreover, MDR has to some extent already done some due diligence on the startup, and so if it’s selected as one of the new cohort it gives investors more confidence that they are betting on a new company that is likely to succeed.

For 2019 the LAB will also be partnering with Microsoft for Startups, Amazon Web Services through their AWS Activate programme and HubSpot for Startups. MDR LAB participants and alumni will be able to take advantage of these offerings, which include free cloud credits and on–demand technical support, said the firm.

Microsoft for Startups is a programme designed to accelerate growth-stage startups who have a product in the market, often around the Seed and Series A stages. ‘The programme also provides dedicated resources for joint sales engagements and community benefits that help startups grow their customer base and revenue’ said the company.

Commenting on the call for a new cohort for 2019, West said: ‘Over the last couple of years we have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, 11 great companies and founding teams who are challenging the status quo and bringing new ideas into the legal industry.’

Nick West, CSO, at MDR LAB’s Demo Day in 2018.

‘We love helping these companies understand the problems that we face and working with them on product market fit, as well as giving them a better sense of our requirements for security, contract terms and fit with the rest of our technology stack.’

‘Our lawyers and business operations teams are energised by having MDR LAB startups in our offices and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!’ he concluded.

MDR LAB has also extended its Advisory Board to include Jason Moyse of Canada-based Law Made, Marie Bernard of Germany-based Bleu de Prusse, and Australia-based David Bushby of InCounsel. Other advisors already on the board include Noah Waisberg, CEO of legal AI company, Kira Systems and Liam Brown, co-founder of Elevate.

The legal world is increasingly embracing the strategy of creating incubators and innovation spaces, as well as investing in legal tech companies. For example, we have seen Allen & Overy’s FUSE go from strength to strength, and we have also seen Clifford Chance and Latham & Watkins invest in the Reynen Court tech platform. Moreover, Clifford Chance also launched a legal tech incubator in Singapore in December last year.

MDR LAB Timeline and Other Application Information:

See main site: MDR LAB 2019

7 January 2019 – Applications Open
17 February 2019 – Applications Close
21 March 2019 – Pitch Day
7 May 2019 – Programme Starts
July 2019 – Demo Day

Pitch Day

Successful applicants will be invited to Pitch Day. This is your start-up’s chance to pitch to Mishcon de Reya and win a place on the programme. You’ll get to expand on your application and persuade the panel that your start-up is right for MDR LAB.


The 10 week MDR LAB programme begins. During this time, we’ll work with you to establish what you want to achieve in partnership with Mishcon de Reya. You’ll receive guidance from our legal and business experts and external mentors to help you meet these objectives.

Demo Day

Demo Day is an opportunity to showcase what your business has achieved over the 10 week MDR LAB programme and set out your proposal for future engagement with Mishcon de Reya.


MDR LAB is a programme for tech start-ups in the legal space. Open to early stage and growth technology start-ups, applications are welcomed from companies at concept through to revenue-generating stage, as long as the product or service is applicable to the legal industry.

We’re particularly interested in innovations that relate to one of the following categories:


Lawyers have seen an explosion in the amount of information they need to manage through the litigation process. MDR LAB are looking for innovations that can help lawyers make sense of and use this data in a more effective and efficient way to achieve better outcomes for clients.

Transactional Law

Clients are constantly challenging lawyers to work quicker and more cost effectively. MDR LAB want to hear from businesses that are developing technology that could help streamline transactions. This might be through smarter document reviewing and creation, automation of processes or the application of Smart Contracts.


Cyber risk is a key issue and cyber incidents can have a huge impact on businesses and individuals. MDR LAB are looking for technologies that can help lawyers and clients identify and manage cyber threats, secure data and ensure their systems are available when they need them most.

Real Estate

Technology is transforming every aspect of the Real Estate industry and proptech is a fast growing area. MDR LAB are looking for solutions that can assist Real Estate lawyers and their clients in investing, developing and managing Real Estate.

Business of Law

Providing the best service for clients relies on systems and infrastructure that are easy to use and efficient. From tracking the progress of cases to communicating with clients and managing costs, MDR LAB are looking for technologies that can help law firms run their businesses in a way that maintains the highest quality service for their clients.