Ten legal tech companies will be joining the latest cohort of the LexisNexis Accelerator – including Office & Dragons, the UK-based contract creation and editing platform. Artificial Lawyer spoke to founder, Sam Smolkin, and team, about what this means to them.
But first, what is this programme? The accelerator, now in its fifth year, leverages LexisNexis and Lex Machina expertise to help mentor startups over ten weeks. They cover a wide range of subjects from product design to sales strategies. And, as you’d guess, this year it will be virtual rather than physically based in California, as is usually the case.
Now to Smolkin and team at Office & Dragons, which ‘transforms documents from static text into dynamic representations of structured data’ and has already been in the Barclays Lawtech Eagle Lab and also the Slaughter and May Collaborate programme.
‘What’s really interesting about the current times is that all companies, from early stage startups to industry leaders, are facing the same challenge trying to figure out what the future of work will be in a post-COVID world. I had a great conversation about this with Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer, as part of the selection process. We can gain a lot by collaborating with LexisNexis and Lex Machina as we all tackle this challenge, and equally, we’ve learned a lot in these past months that we can contribute to the programme, too,’ Smolkin explained.
And there are of course some very practical benefits in being part of this.
‘Participating in this programme will help us to grow and strengthen our network and presence in the US. We’re already working with US firms and offices, but this should help us push that even further, faster,’ he added. ‘Getting connected to Bay Area institutions and VCs will be a great help as we look to hit the market with our next funding round soon.’
And there will be plenty to learn, as Wilson Shrestha, in the Engineering team, noted: ‘Learning product design from LexisNexis will enable us to gain industry-specific insights that will allow us to deliver a product that’s fit for legal professionals as users, accommodating for the right UX needs and technical skill levels. This will allow us to optimise resources for development, helping us bring features to market faster.’
While, Logan Oliver, in Business Development, added: ‘As a startup, so much of what we do centres around learning the established playbooks and trying to improve on them. Who better to learn from than one of the cornerstones of legal technology?‘
Meanwhile Carissa Liu, in Marketing & Design, noted: ‘I’m excited to learn how LexisNexis delivers its message to legal professionals and to adopt the best parts into my work to make our message resonate stronger and spread further to the users we want to help with our product.’
So, as you can see from the team’s responses, this is not just about one narrow aspect of running a legal tech company, but covers many key parts of the business, from marketing to big picture strategy planning and much in between, not to mention the networking opportunities – even if this is virtual.
And on that virtual point, Matthew Philson, COO, concluded: ‘It’s true that in conducting the programme virtually, we miss out on some of the interaction we’d have with cohorts if we all shared a co-working space like we did at Barclays’ Lawtech Eagle Lab. That said, I think that loss is outweighed by the fact that virtual programmes are much more accessible to startups no matter where they are, and for the many founders and teams who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to just pick up and move to a new city (or country!) for three months.’
The full list of cohort members:
- AiLanthus AI-based platform makes document automation and document management simple, fast, and efficient.
- Clause Logic integrates lawyer-designed automation into Microsoft Word to reduce workflow friction for legal professionals, so that they can build better documents faster using their own work product.
- Docket is a modern platform designed for in-house counsel to centralize matter intake, manage departmental collaboration, and gain deep analytics into the legal department.
- Don’t Get Mad Get Paid enables users to collect back child support in less time and for less money.
- FastVisa is an all-in-one cloud-based immigration management platform for legal professionals and companies that allows for collaboration, efficiency and transparency to the complex immigration process.
- IPGen uses deep learning artificial intelligence and natural language generation to streamline and automate aspects of the patent and trademark procurement processes to save time, money, and associated risk.
- JusticeText is an audiovisual evidence management platform designed to produce fairer outcomes in the criminal justice system by expediting the review of body camera footage, interrogation videos, jail calls, and more.
- Office & Dragons helps lawyers and their clients develop transactions together by structuring information in an intuitive way and using it to automatically create and edit contracts, cutting time and cost and eliminating error.
- PainWorth helps people automagically calculate, manage and settle their own personal injury claim faster, far cheaper and more fairly.
- People Clerk guides you throughout the small claims process giving you the tools to prepare, settle, and litigate your dispute.
And the last word goes to Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer, LexisNexis North America, who has played a key role in every cohort of the Accelerator: ‘We are excited to have these ten companies join our Accelerator. Our format has been adjusted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that has created an opportunity for companies in the US, Canada and the UK to participate. We are also excited to have three participants from the Duke Law Tech Lab join our programme as a result of [the] coordination [between us].’
(Main pic above: Left to Right, top row: Matt, Sam, Carissa; Bottom row: Ketsy (summer intern; JD student), Logan, Wilson.)