LegalTech in Leeds was created to deliver an events-based innovation initiative in early 2022. Following its success it will now evolve into an ongoing annual programme of activity, designed and delivered by Whitecap Consulting in partnership with the legal and tech sectors, and in collaboration with Leeds City Council and Leeds Law Society.
On 19th May, in order to assess the appetite for the proposed future approach and to gain input from key stakeholders that have an interest in LegalTech in Leeds, Whitecap held a breakfast event in partnership with Pinsent Masons which included a presentation outlining the future plans for LegalTech in Leeds as well as a panel discussion and audience participation. This website post provides an overview of LegalTech in Leeds and the proposed future plans.
LegalTech in Leeds, coordinated by Whitecap Consulting, was created as a short-term initiative which ran January-March 2022, involving a series of drop-in events and culminated in a full day conference which can be rewatched here. LegalTech in Leeds was supported by a combination of Innovation@Leeds grant funding from Leeds City Council and sponsorship from Bruntwood SciTech, Barclays, DACBeachcroft, Leeds Law Society, rradar, Pinsent Masons, Salesforce, Toca.io and University of Law.
The main objective was to bring the legal and tech sector together to help support tech entrepreneurs seeking to engage with the legal sector and enhance access to legal services for consumers and businesses in the region. The initiative also helped to progress the recommendations of the Leeds City Region Legal Tech & Innovation report, which was published in 2020.
Since the conference, stakeholders have expressed a strong desire for ongoing activity.
Whitecap proposes to create an open community that connects the legal and tech sectors around the common interests of LegalTech and innovation, with the following objectives:
The proposed future activity initially consists of the following initiatives, but it is envisaged that the programme will evolve in lines with the areas of interest of the LegalTech in Leeds community as it develops:
The feedback on the three events hosted earlier this year was overwhelmingly positive, particularly the LegalTech in Leeds Conference:
At the event on 19th May, we hosted a panel discussion which included Tom Matusiak, Director at Leeds Law Society & Legal Director at Stewarts Law, Sarah Wilson, Head of Product Services, Pinsent Masons, Rochelle Schuster, Head of Innovations Programmes at Leeds City Council, Patrick Grant, Tutor and a Project Director for Legal Tech and Innovation at University of Law and Keith Sutton, Business Development Director, Toca.io.
“Getting the different stakeholders together for the conference was really positive, it had a real focus on bringing the legal and digital sectors together and there were genuine attempts to find solutions for problems. Going forward, it’s important that we maintain this momentum and continue with the LegalTech in Leeds initiative.”
Tom Matusiak, Director at Leeds Law Society & Legal Director at Stewarts Law
“After the conference I had a lot of tech firms approach us with potential solutions to the problems we presented in our reverse pitch so it really shows the opportunity for working together to solve issues within the legal sector and using technology that’s already out there but developing it for a purpose.”
Sarah Wilson, Head of Product Services, Pinsent Masons
“The Innovation@Leeds programme has shone a light on the importance of collaboration in finding innovative solutions to challenges faced by the legal sector. It’s also really important to create a space where people feel welcome and encouraged to engage and the LegalTech in Leeds conference had a really inclusive community.”
Richelle Schuster, Head of Innovation Programmes at Leeds City Council
“The collaboration, new conversations and fresh ideas that have come out of the LegalTech in Leeds conference is great. Before, when we first started talking about LegalTech to lawyers it was a real challenge; four years on and there is a lot more engagement. Going forward, there needs to be more focus on how we can improve access to justice.”
Patrick Grant, Tutor and Project Director for Legal Tech & Innovation at University of Law
“The LegalTech in Leeds conference really was dedicated to solving problems and pain points within the Legal sector. It gave tech firms the opportunity to understand the landscape, reflect on their offering and adapt it so its relevant.”
Keith Sutton, Business Development Director, Toca.io
After the panel’s reflections, we had an open discussion with the audience to gain feedback on the proposal and to highlight any key considerations for taking LegalTech in Leeds forward.
“There are learnings we can take from other sectors that have come together to use technology to solve challenges that they are facing. We just have to find an effective way of matching the right solutions to the right problems.”
“It would be great to get to a point where tech firms can signpost other tech firms that are better suited to solve a problem because they understand the different capabilities within the sector. That’s a true problem first, collaborative approach.”
“How do we get smaller law firms to engage with the initiative because some of them don’t have the resource to be able to step-away from billable time to attend these events and work on solving the problems that they have.”
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