Prarambh Signals Rise of India’s Legal Tech Sector

Prarambh, the first legal tech incubator in India, run by leading law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM), is calling for homegrown startups to join its second cohort, indicating the growing interest in legal technology in the world’s second largest nation by population and the fifth largest economy.

Komal Gupta, who focuses on innovation at the firm, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We want to support our domestic talent. Legal tech is in a nascent stage in India.’

She added that many international tools, especially those that used NLP which had been trained on US legal documents, were not always a good fit for India. Moreover, she noted that once Indian legal tech companies developed further they could also move onto an international stage.

India has already several legal tech companies and legal solutions that have a strong tech element, from Presolv360, that helps to settle civil disputes, to NLP-driven trademark tool, Mike Legal.

However, Gupta explained that the uptake of tech among lawyers in India has been relatively small up until now. Although she believed demand will expand rapidly as the pandemic encourages the digitisation of legal work.

She added that CAM’s goal was to lead from the front and set a good example in terms of innovation and supporting the use of technology, rather than waiting for clients to push them into using it.

In terms of the kinds of tech companies they are looking for, she noted: access to justice applications, tech that improved operational efficiency, and especially anything that helped lawyers to keep up to date with India’s extensive regulatory reform programme that is expected to last several years.

One of the ironies of India’s small but growing legal tech sector is that the nation has very strong tech credentials and is also the home of many LPOs – which also use a lot of tech to perform their work. This would appear to be an ideal backdrop for a growing legal tech sector.

However, as with many other markets, Gupta explained: ‘We did this work manually for a long time and ‘it’s gone fine’ is the view of many lawyers.’

She noted that the reality was that ‘CAM is an exception and we are ahead of the curve’.

Although, as with other markets, where one or two firms lead others usually get the message and change starts to spread across the sector. If Indian lawyers more broadly support legal tech and companies can grow as they have in other markets, then there is significant potential for India to become a key centre on the legal tech global map.

‘The next five years will be very exciting for the legal tech space in India,’ Gupta concluded.

As for the 2nd cohort – more information can be found here if you would like to apply.

And, with regard to Prarambh’s Cohort One winners. They were:

JRTC Intern:  A talent management platform that connects pre-qualified law students with internship opportunities at law firms, advocate offices and corporates.

Leegality: An eSigning and digital document workflow platform that enables enterprises to digitize and automate document signing and provides e-stamp papers.

LegalMind: An AI-based legal research platform. The platform enables users to perform efficient research supported by analytics and insights.