In a significant move that will no doubt send ripples through the market, Deloitte Legal has today launched Deloitte Legal Ventures, a large-scale tech engagement programme that will see 14 mostly startups inducted into the rapidly growing Big Four firm’s legal business.
The first cohort of tech companies in Deloitte Legal Ventures will include, but is not limited to:
- Autologyx – a workflow automation platform.
- Avvoka – contracting platform, has been part of the Allen & Overy FUSE tech group.
- CourtQuant – litigation prediction specialists.
- Define – a drafting tool.
- Genie AI – AI-assisted drafting system.
- Juralio – legal matter and workflow visualisation tool.
- Kormoon.ai – compliance support system.
- PING – time-recording platform, previously part of MDR LAB, Mishcon is an investor also.
- Reynen Court – the now famous ‘legal App Store’ that handles matters such as security so you can jump on and use SaaS software more easily. Has several major law firms as backers.
- Tabled.io – matter management system.
Deloitte is also bringing in US-based legal tech consultants Sente Advisors, as well in-house education site Crafty Counsel. The programme will see Deloitte Legal become a user of the products and services offered by the chosen startups.
This could be seen as a type of incubator, although the focus is very much on engaging with the companies in order to help Deloitte itself make use of the tech. In turn, this should help to produce better outcomes for their clients as this new tech is leveraged across Deloitte Legal.
Also, incubators are generally a lot smaller and run over a short period, often with around six or so companies. This cohort is very large in comparison.
However you define this, it is a massive boost for the companies that have been chosen.
It is also a very bold step by Deloitte Legal and sends a signal to the market they are very serious about expanding their capabilities. How this all turns out remains to be seen, but they have plenty of internal resources to make this work and gain benefits from the project.
The move follows a series of hires in the UK that have included Bruce Braude from international law firm BCLP, as well as Catherine Bamford, the document automation expert.
The firm, which is set on challenging the legal sector status quo, looked at nearly 400 pre-seed to Series A companies based on their ‘products, teams and alignment to Deloitte Legal’s current and future legal technology capability’ before choosing this group.
Deloitte Legal Ventures will provide the companies with ‘access to consulting, technology, legal and investment experts’. Through Deloitte’s proprietary Venture Path methodology, these experts will stress-test products, services, business models and strategies in a transparent and structured way to identify scalability. This will in turn accelerate the on-boarding, uptake and usage of the products and services.
Laura Bygrave, innovation and Ventures lead at Deloitte Legal, said: ‘Complex buying processes within large corporates can mean early stage companies go out of business by the time a decision to proceed is made.’
‘We are focused on developing long-term, meaningful relationships with these companies. Starting as the user enables us to understand how a product or service can transform how we work and how it can benefit our clients. Importantly, we are not seeking to achieve exclusivity through these relationships; we do not want to impose any restrictions that could hinder product development and growth,’ she added.
Michael Castle, managing partner for Deloitte Legal, concluded: ‘New technologies have revolutionised a number of industries in recent years, but so far the legal sector has lagged behind. Collaborating with pioneering companies will drive innovation forward, allowing both parties to benefit from cumulative learning. We believe this is a different approach that will redefine the way legal services will be delivered in the future.’