2024 LegalTech in Leeds Conference - Event Summary

LegalTech in Leeds







On Thursday 18th April, LegalTech in Leeds held its third annual conference, attracting over 250 attendees.

LegalTech in Leeds successfully held the largest LegalTech event outside of London, attracting over 400 sign-ups and approximately 250 attendees over the course of the day.

In this event summary, we'll take you through the highlights of the day including the sessions running order, speakers and topic discussions.

Session 1 – National & Regional Landscape

To kickstart the day, attendees engaged in networking over coffee and breakfast, setting the tone for a day of collaboration and innovation. Once everyone was seated, there was a series of warm welcomes from Julian Wells, Director, and Chloe Thompson, Consultant, at Whitecap Consulting/LegalTech in Leeds, marking the beginning of the agenda for the day.

The next welcome was delivered by Catherine Thristan, Director of External Engagement at the University of Leeds who thanked everyone for attending the event, followed by Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer of Culture & Economy at Leeds City Council, who spoke about the role of the council in shaping ecosystems like LegalTech in Leeds.

We then had a regional update from Shanika Varga, President of Leeds Law Society (LLS), followed by a national update from Katie Atkinson, Lawtech UK Panel Member & Dean of the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Computer Science at the University of Liverpool,  shedding light on the evolving LegalTech scene across the UK.

To continue this theme, we engaged in the first panel discussion which focused on the 'Growth of LegalTech across the UK', featuring representatives from regional initiatives that aim to foster and support increased LegalTech growth and activity such as SuperTech WM, The Manchester Law & Technology Initiative, LawtechUK and LegalTech in Leeds.

The panel was followed by an inspiring and thought provoking keynote from Krsto Pandza, Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the University of Leeds which emphasised the clash between 'hype and harsh reality'. The talk explored the unsettling truth regarding disruption innovation making the point that while some glorify disruption, others dangerously overlook its transformative power.

It was then time to refresh over a coffee and networking break where new connections were forged and insights were exchanged amongst delegates.

Session 2 – LegalTech Innovations

Everyone reconvened for next session where we delved into the future of legal services with a dynamic panel discussion on 'Game changers in legal services,' moderated by Chloe Thompson and featuring industry experts including David Nash, Chief Product Officer at Dye & Durham, Gary Gallen, CEO at rradar, Chris Fowler, Chief Operating Officer (Legal) at Rio Tinto and Katie Atkinson, Dean of the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science/Panel Member at University of Liverpool/LawtechUK.

Next was the 'LegalTech Innovations Showcase', featuring regional firms that are leading the way in terms of LegalTech and innovation.

First up, Addleshaw Goddard showcased AGPT, a generative AI tool built in-house, presented by Laura Pilkington and James Whitaker from Addleshaw Goddard.

Next, the audience embarked upon a journey of social justice in legal education with Dr. Jess Guth and Dr. Simon Best from Leeds Trinity University, exploring the intersection of LegalTech and societal welfare.

DAC Beachcroft were next, providing insights into the transformative potential of AI in legal practice with DACB's Head of Business Solutions, Chris Teller.

Following this, Angela Hesketh, Head of Market Development at PEXA demonstrated the 'power of PEXA' and how they have revolutionised property transactions across Australia and now the UK.

Next was a thought-provoking talk on preparing the 21st-century lawyer for the rise of AI, presented by Patrick Grant, Senior Lecturer & Project Director at the University of Law.

The last presentation in the showcase explored the intersection of technology and commercial property practice with Hannah Levy, Senior Associate at Walker Morris and Craig Hassall, Customer Success Manager at Orbital Witness.

After a fantastic showcase, delegates recharged over lunch where they enjoyed a hot buffet and selection of cakes.

Session 3 – Breakout Sessions

Before splitting into four breakout sessions, everyone came back to the main room to hear a fascinating keynote from Adam Roney, CEO & Founder at Calls9 who explored the debate around whether AI should be considered 'friend or foe'.

The audience then has the opportunity to dive deeper into specific topics through interactive breakout sessions tailored to four key audiences including large law, SME law, in-house legal and future talent.

It was then time for another refreshing coffee break where delegates had the opportunity to expand their network and make connections with fellow attendees.

Session 4 – Showcase & Closing Keynote

The final session of the day saw the 'LegalTech Showcase' featuring 10 quick fire pitches from regional, national and international LegalTech innovators. This high-energy session provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs working in the sector to pitch their solutions to an audience made-up of law firms of all sizes.

The event was concluded with a closing keynote from Alistair Maiden, Global Advisory Lead at Consilio as he took the audience through his own journey of starting and growing a successful LegalTech, which has recently been acquired.

Julian Wells wrapped up the agenda by thanking the event hosts and team at University of Leeds, all the speakers and sponsors and the attendees. It was a day full of exploration and collaboration and LegalTech in Leeds is delighted to have hosted such a fantastic day. It truly is an exciting time for the Leeds region and LegalTech more broadly.