2023 LegalTech in Leeds Conference Write-up

LegalTech in Leeds







This week, LegalTech in Leeds successfully held the largest LegalTech event outside of London, attracting over 200 attendees.  

If you attended the 2023 LegalTech in Leeds Conference, please take a few minutes to provide feedback – FEEDBACK SURVEY. 

Hosted at the University of Leeds flagship building for Business and Law (Esther Simpson Building), LegalTech in Leeds held its second annual conference and it was a huge success. The conference attracted over 200 in-person attendees from all over the UK, bringing together the legal and tech sectors and putting Leeds on the map for LegalTech and Innovation. 

The day was split into four main sessions with an agenda packed with over 50 speakers, including regional and national thought leaders as well as an opening keynote from Mike Freer MP, Minister for Courts and Legal Services at the Ministry of Justice and a closing keynote from Simon Wright, Chief Operating Officer at PEXA. 

Each session is detailed below: 

Session 1: LegalTech and Innovation in the UK

First up, LegalTech in Leeds opened the conference with welcomes and a brief progress update on recent activity. We then had a welcome from our hosts, Professor Julia Bennell, Executive Dean at University of Leeds.

This was followed by a panel style opening address from Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer for Culture and Economy at Leeds City Council and Tom Matusiak, Director at Leeds Law Society and Legal Director at Stewarts, who discussed the future direction and priorities for Leeds City Region, the strength of the region’s legal sector and the changes the sector is seeing in terms of technology including AI, blockchain and the metaverse. 

Then we had the first panel discussion, focused on ‘Evolving the UK LegalTech Landscape’, which provided the opportunity to showcase the exciting LegalTech activity that is happening across different UK regions. 

The panel featured Julian Wells, Director at Whitecap Consulting (LegalTech in Leeds), Hilary Smyth-Allen, Executive Lead at SuperTechWM, Dagmar Steffens, Head of Strategic Innovation at West of England Combined Authority (Bristol+Bath LegalTech), Rachel Kenyon, Business Engagement Manager at University of Manchester (Manchester Law and Technology) and was chaired by Liam Angus, LawTech Innovation Lead, Barclays Eagle Labs.

The first session was concluded with a keynote from Mike Freer MP, Minister for Courts and Legal Services at the Ministry of Justice who expressed support for regional LegalTech initiatives and gave an outline on how technology and innovation can drive growth for the UK legal sector.

Session 2: LegalTech and Innovation: Stories from Leeds City Region

After a short coffee and refreshment break, we had six 10-minute presentations from LegalTech in Leeds strategic partners who showcased some of the success stories from across Leeds City Region. 

Presentations were given by: 

·      Shelley Quinn, Director and Abbie Thomas, Trainee Solicitor at Walker Morris

·      Sundeep Aulakh, Academic Fellow at University of Leeds

·      Olivia Dakin, Senior Manager, Innovation and Legal Technology at Addleshaw Goddard and Anna Hudson, Senior Legal Manager, Transaction Team Lawyer at ASDA

·      Patrick Grant, Senior Tutor and Project Director at University of Law

·      Louise Bloomfield, Partner and Location Head, David Williams, Partner and Sukhvinder Kaur, Business Improvement & Change Team at DAC Beachcroft DAC Beachcroft

·      Steve Bravery, Head of Law at Leeds Trinity University

This session was concluded with a fascinating panel discussion on the ‘Future of Legal Services’ featuring, Gary Gallen, CEO at rradar, Angelique de Lafontaine, Head of Legal Operations and Performance at Bupa, Adam Roney, CEO at Calls9, James Croyston, Director at Founders Law, chaired by Beth Fellner, Director at Legal Geek.

Session 3: LegalTech in Leeds Breakout Sessions

After lunch, everyone had the choice of attending four different breakout sessions which ran consecutively for an hour, designed to be interactive and engaging, focused on different topics: 

1.     Hosted by University of Leeds focused on AI in Law Firms – opportunities and challenges.’ 

2.     Hosted by Calls9 and University of Law who showcased a Generative AI Assistant still in the R&D phase, highlighting the building process and the lessons learnt. 

3.     Hosted by Jungle IT, focused on preventative technologies and protecting operations. 

4.     Hosted by Cyber Security Partners (CSP) , focused on cyber security concerns when digitally transforming your business, targeted at SMEs. 

Session 4: LegalTech in Leeds Showcase 

After a short refreshment break, all attendees returned to the main auditorium for the LegalTech in Leeds showcase which featured 12 quickfire pitches from tech and LegalTech firms. 

The first to present was ‘Remedy Robin’, the winning team from the first ever LegalTech in Leeds Hackathon, which was hosted in March and was huge success. Remedy Robin pitched an innovative solution for customer disputes in the retail sector, discussing the positive impact of LegalTech on the future of the legal sector and providing the audience with a live demonstration of their solution. 

The showcase then featured 6-minute pitches from the following firms:  

·     Abstract Tech

·     Barrister Link

·     Cyber Security Partners (CSP)

·     Founders Law

·     Jungle IT

·     Just ACCESS

·     Katchr

·     Legal Studio

·     Toca

·     SYKE

·     Talion

The conference concluded with a closing keynote from Simon Wright, Chief Operating Officer at PEXA. Through a customer-led approach to digital disruption, PEXA has had huge success in transforming the conveyancing journey and customer experience of selling and purchasing property in Australia and has recently chosen Leeds to base its UK headquarters. 

In his keynote, Simon Wright discussed the pain points of buying and selling a home in the UK, highlighting the huge industry opportunity to transform the conveyancing process and dramatically improve the customer experience.

He took the audience on the PEXA journey, including all the learnings from Australia and why PEXA has chosen to base its UK headquarters in Leeds.

The event closed with Julian Wells thanking the hosts - University of Leeds, all the speakers and attendees, the LegalTech in Leeds sponsors and partners and the volunteers who helped support the running of the day. 

Overall, the 2023 Legal Tech in Leeds conference was a huge success and there has been an extremely positive reaction from attendees on social media: 

“A fabulous first today: sitting on a panel alongside fellow #legaltech clusters from across the UK national network talking with one voice about the opportunity for regional growth through technology and law. As national initiatives mobilise, leveraging regional voice to drive collective impact is such an exciting prospect and SuperTech WM is ready collaborate.”

“Great to be part of the Whitecap Consulting #legaltech conference in Leeds hosted at The University of Leeds and hear about innovation and challenges within the legal sector.
As a great example 
Sundeep Aulakh outlined the varying degrees of success of law firms assessing the use cases for AI technologies.”

“Great morning at the LegalTech in Leeds Conference this morning. Exciting to see growth and momentum in the region at the beginning of SYKE’s success story. Thanks Julian Wells and Chloe Thompson for helping to bring such a great room of people together.” 

“Thank you to LegalTech in Leeds and Chloe Thompson and Julian Wells for giving myself and Abbie Thomas opportunity to be keynote speakers for Walker Morris LLP at such a brilliant conference today! What an excellent day with some real cutting edge hot legal tech topics discussed.” 

“Brilliant to see Remedy Robin pitch at the LegalTech in Leeds conference following their win at 'The Big Hack' we held at Platform in March. Love that they got to pitch their solution to a much bigger audience. Makes me want to do another hackathon seeing it brought to life again! It's this sort of eco system activity that makes me happy 😊” 

“A brilliant day at LegalTech in Leeds, very well put together by Julian Wells and Chloe Thompson (thank you). Great to listen to all the key notes and panel discussions, bringing #technology #innovation and the #legal industry together... showcasing the art of the possible.” 

“What a wonderful day at the LegalTech in Leeds Conference 2023. Learned loads from some great speakers, met with some great people. Roll on 2024!”

“Fantastic day at Legal Tech in Leeds conference today, some really interesting discussions and presentations.”

“I had a wonderful experience volunteering at the LegalTech in Leeds conference 2023, gaining insights into the modern developments in technological innovation and how to adapt to its implications within the legal field.”