What’s happening in China’s legal tech scene? It’s the biggest country in the world and is steadily building its own homegrown legal tech companies. In this interview, Artificial Lawyer hears from CEO and co-founder Dr. Morris Tu, of Beijing-based Legal Miner, a Chinese legal tech company focused on legal data analytics, with strengths in risk and compliance, case analysis, and outcome prediction. We discussed what Legal Miner does and also wider trends in the Chinese legal tech market.
First, can you tell the audience about your application?
Legal Miner is a pioneer legal technology company that is providing a business management solution platform via SaaS.
Legal Miner’s flagship product, Business Risk Management Solution (BRMS) is a SaaS product designed for enterprises to provide business management solutions through five primary components: Compliance Test, Risk Management, Case Search, Attorney Search, and Judge Search.
With Case search, BRMS is able to simplify the search process, locate case categories, and predict lawsuit results.
Attorney Search and Judge Search can help the enterprise to select the most suitable and experienced counsel based on winning rate ranking and predict inclination of different judges through big data. In this way, the enterprise can adjust and formulate more effective litigation strategies.
For example, a bank in China was finding it difficult to collect litigation information, as the bank had to search more than 3,500 court websites to identify each customer’s potential credit risk.
Legal Miner consolidated the litigation data of more than 3,500 court websites across the country and structured it, which helped the bank to search litigation information in a more effective way. Based on the information we provided, they could make a reasonable judgment on whether a loan should be given or if there is a potential risk of default.
Legal Miner targets a critical and yet underdeveloped region in China, Legal Data Analysis. We also are the only Chinese company to be part of the Stanford Codex project.
When did it begin and how?
It all began in the UC Berkeley School of Law, where I was pursuing advanced law. While there, I became intrigued by the innovation in the Bay Area, which motivated me to be dedicated to revamping the confined practice of law.
After college, I joined King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and received enormous support and encouragement towards my ambitious plans. Thus, Legal Miner was born.
What is your client base like? How have they responded?
We have clients across different industries, including the internet, real estate, banking, and financial services, healthcare, consumer goods, insurance, technology, and manufacturing.
We have taken the path of helping corporate clients, where we provide search services to support litigation.
Corporate clients are able to accurately locate relevant lawsuits, lawyers, and judges to improve their strategy. The ultimate goal is to support corporations to adapt quickly to newly emplaced regulation laws.
Our client base includes Siemens, and TouTiao, as well as many other large internet technology companies in China. Recently, Toutiao has extended our contract for another year and we expect additional renewals in the coming months. Overall, we have had positive feedback.
What is the legal tech scene like in China? What are lawyers there interested in? What do the clients want to see change?
The Chinese legal tech companies, similar to those in western nations, have built data banks of their own and provided clients with search and retrieval services.
Some legal tech companies have gone beyond visible demands and began developing services that are industry or client specific. Some have even constructed mobile platforms for client convenience.
For example, Legal Miner seeks to fill in the information void among state-owned enterprises on regulatory compliance.
We also have many competitors that mostly were incubated by law firms that understand the importance of technology in the law.
I am excited to see such a change here, as my intention in starting Legal Miner was to start a positive trend of legal tech firms in China.
Looking to the future, how do you see the Chinese legal tech market evolving?
The legal tech industry in China is expanding at a steady speed.
According to new figures from Thomson Reuters, the number of patents related to legal technology, or ‘lawtech’, filed globally has risen more than fourfold over the past five years, from 202 in 2013 to 933 last year. More than half – 51 per cent – were filed in China last year, while 23 per cent were filed in the US and 11 per cent in South Korea.
As China expands its financial influence internationally, law and business becomes inseparable. Whether it is compliance or document revision, the demand for efficient legal technology to support lawyers will become higher than ever.
Thank you, Dr Tu, it’s very much appreciated. Good luck with Legal Miner.