Legal Tech Incubators Are Alive + Well Around the World

Despite some fears that the current crisis would kill off legal tech incubators and accelerators, most have still gone ahead ‘as normal’, albeit virtually.

Artificial Lawyer has always been a big supporter of such projects as they enable startups to really learn what their clients want, and in turn their engagement with lawyers helps increase legal market understanding of what a wide variety of technology can do. It’s a win/win.

Here are three legal tech programmes that have announced new cohorts recently, from London, UK; to Vienna in Austria; and North Carolina in the US. And there are many more, from Australia, to Singapore, and beyond.

First up, elite firm Slaughter and May’s Collaborate incubator announced its second cohort in late June. The new group of companies are:

  • Della AI accelerates contract review. Users ask their own questions in their own words to analyse the points that matter to them. Della is used in due diligence and internal audits as well as day-to-day analysis of contracts, leases and other legal documents.
  • thedocyard is a deal management and transactional workflow platform which digitises and automates deals by standardising repeatable processes, providing real time status updates, providing virtual data rooms and allowing collaboration between parties.
  • Immediation is a confidential online dispute resolution platform, providing advanced hearing and mediation technology to courts, and an alternative fixed-fee, easy, secure and highly efficient method of resolving disputes outside court.
  • Juralio enables lawyers and clients to map legal work collaboratively so as to plan, execute, control and report more effectively. This helps to deliver better value for clients, better margins for lawyers and less pain for everyone.
  • The Lexical Labs system is designed to review documents, identify problems or negotiation points and provide solutions, by combining advanced technology and embedded expertise.
  • Novastone is a secure instant messaging platform integrated with public IM such as WhatsApp and WeChat. It is designed for firms to deliver a personalised client experience through relationship teams.
  • Office & Dragons is a document automation startup on a mission to make documenting transactions simple, reliable and fast. It empowers lawyers to transform documents from a mess of static text into dynamic representations of data.

There is no minimum size/shape/age/financial position for acceptance into Slaughter and May Collaborate. The decision is primarily on the strength, uniqueness and promise of the concept or product, and on the team involved, they said.

The programme is primarily aimed at early and mid-stage ventures rather than established businesses, but applications are accepted from all businesses developing exciting new legal tech. Maybe have a think about joining in 2021…?

In Vienna we have the LTHV accelerator programme, backed by a number of Austrian law firms and other businesses. Their new cohort was announced in May.

One of the cohort, Della AI – which is also a member of the new Collaborate group above – spoke to Artificial Lawyer about the experience.

Founder Christophe Frèrebeau said: ‘Vienna has been incredible! They offer courses [on startup development] and we have got six pilots with large firms very quickly through LTHV.’

He added that LTHV sent the cohort VR headsets so that they could work together virtually, which Frèrebeau confirmed was a lot of fun, and most importantly: effective.

The new cohort:

ShakespeareProviding a BPM, DMS & OCR platform. Workflow automation. – Germany
ChangetheblockCreate, edit and manage Smart Legal Contracts. – Spain
Della AIDella is a legal document review platform – UK
KnowMeNowKYC compliance. – Malta
NeoheldenDigital assistant. – Germany
PT SemanticsDocument retrieval. – Austria

And in the US, Duke Law School’s ‘Tech Lab’ has announced its fourth cohort. These had a strong Access to Justice focus:

  • Don’t Get Mad Get Paid – Helps women get paid their back child support and collect what’s rightfully theirs by tracking down child support evaders and generating customised legal documents
  • JusticeText – Strengthens the ability of public defenders to serve low-income criminal defendants through video evidence management software that leverages AI to process body-worn camera footage, interrogation videos, and more
  • People Clerk – Guides California litigants throughout the small claims process giving them the tools to prepare, settle, and litigate their dispute.
  • Yo Tengo Bot – Automates the interaction between immigration law firms and potential clients through a white label chatbot powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (available in both English and Spanish).

The Lab began on June 24 and runs for three months. It’s supported by LexisNexis, Travelers, and global law firm Latham & Watkins.

LeeAnn Black, Chief Operating Officer at Latham commented: ‘[We are] committed to fostering this innovative programme that provides crucial support to entrepreneurs and gives law students exposure to emerging and impactful technologies.’

So, there you go. Incubators are alive and well, all across the world, and this is just a sample of what is out there.

P.S. Mishcon de Reya’s now famous MDR LAB will also be eventually returning, the firm tells Artificial Lawyer, but will operate with a quite different pace and structure. Watch this space.

[ Main photo image from Offices & Dragons. ]