Hosted at the spectacular Walker Morris head office, LegalTech in Leeds invited five out-of-region firms to take part in a Lawtech Innovation Showcase, where they demonstrated the ‘art of the possible’ through their technology-based solutions.
To kick-off the event, Julian Wells, Director at Whitecap Consulting, outlined the agenda by introducing the speaker line-up and thanking our sponsors and partners for their continued support: Addleshaw Goddard, Bruntwood SciTech, Barclays Eagle Labs, Calls9, Cyber Security Partners, DAC Beachcroft, Leeds City Council, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Leeds Law Society, Leeds Trinity University, LawtechUK, Page White Farrer, rradar, SYKE, Toca, The University of Law, Walker Morris.
Julian gave the audience a brief background on the LegalTech in Leeds initiative, detailing the guiding principles as well as our three key aims:
1. Accelerate digital transformation across the legal sector,
2. Enhance access to legal services,
3. Drive and enable innovation.
Chloe Thompson, Consultant at Whitecap Consulting then gave an update on what LegalTech in Leeds has achieved so far in 2023, followed by the announcement that LegalTech in Leeds is delighted to be officially part of the Innovation@Leeds programme, which is helping support our plans for two upcoming events. The innovation@leeds programme is funded by UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, coordinated by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and led by Leeds City Council.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.
The fund will allow LegalTech in Leeds to continue working towards achieving its overall aims by supporting the ongoing programme of activity, specifically helping to fund two key events:
· ‘The Big Hack’ – Friday 10th March, 08:00 – 18:00, Platform.
· LegalTech in Leeds Conference 2023 – Wednesday 26th April, 08:30 – 17:00, University of Leeds – Esther Simpson Building.
Chloe finished the update by encouraging the audience to follow the LegalTech in Leeds Eventbrite page, where details and sign-up links of all upcoming events can be found.
We then heard from Tom Matusiak, Director at Leeds Law Society and Legal Director at Stewarts, who reminded us of why Leeds City Region is considered by many to be “the UK centre of excellence for legal services outside of London.”
Tom started by explaining that, “Law has developed in Leeds through history to be one of the pillars of the Leeds economy, with a full range of law firms, legal service providers and in house legal teams giving excellent service to a full range of regional, national and international individuals and corporates.”
Tom then spoke about developments in the Leeds legal market, making reference to an editorial ran by The Lawyer Magazine which predicts significant future growth across the region’s real estate market – “Leeds has the perfect balance of real estate clients, investment and legal talent.” The magazine also claims that “2023 could be the year that solicitors make the jump to Leeds to fast-track their careers. Real estate lawyers, Leeds is your prime location.”
Tom went on to discuss a hot topic in the form of ChatGPT and early uses of and commentary on generative AI within the legal sector. Tom finished his speech with an inspiring quote: “What a time of change we are living through – and a time where the legal and digital worlds are becoming inseparable and where people such as you, and exchanges of ideas such as those we are having today, are shaping the present and future of law, in Leeds and everywhere else.”
Sally Mewies, Partner and Head of Technology at Walker Morris was up next. Sally is a member of the Innovation Committee which sits at the heart of Walker Morris with the aim of collecting and progressing ideas from across the firm.
Sally started with an overview of where Walker Morris sits along its digital transformation journey, stating that the firm has improved internal processes such as adopting contract automation to increase efficiencies.
She also gave the audience a number of anecdotes including a paralegal within the firm who has created a tool that reduces the time it takes to process document bundles from 7 hours down to 30 minutes, as well as a tool used within the property function which pulls in data from different sources to conduct early risk assessments.
One key challenge that the legal sector often faces with regards to digital transformation is the culture barrier that exists within many law firms, including Walker Morris. Sally highlighted that it is often difficult to get employees to share their ideas and that tech adoption can sometimes be met with resistance. She finished her talk by stating, “we want to go further at Walker Morris by starting to engage with clients through technology in order to improve the services we offer and the experience we deliver.”
Next, Liam Angus, Lawtech Innovation Lead and Balraj Singh, Lawtech Innovation Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs gave us a brief overview of the Eagle Labs proposition, including the growing network of physical spaces that are used to help support businesses through dedicated growth programmes.
These programmes involve networking opportunities, events, workshops, mentorship and much more, with the premise of ensuring that “Barclays Eagle Labs is the beating heart of the entrepreneur ecosystem across the UK.”
Liam and Bal finished by thanking the sponsors and partners that support Eagle Labs and stated, “we will continue to strive towards ensuring the UK legal system remains world-class.”
First up, we had Mike Hinchliffe, General Manager at Tessaract. Headquartered in Singapore and located in London and Indonesia, Tessaract provides a cloud-native platform to streamline legal process management, automate workflows and accelerate growth.
With the aim of helping law firms be more agile and productive by organising data and automating work processes, Tessaract allows law firms to manage complex, data-intensive projects which require multiple processes to run concurrently.
Key pain points that the Tessaract platform helps to address include:
· You have many different manual ways to collect data.
· You have multiple existing systems and departments that do not talk to each other.
· You cannot track or retrieve all relevant data.
· You need to link up data and search effectively.
· You are on a mission to streamline everything.
Tessaract helps to ease these challenges by offering an ultra-configurable, SaaS process management and workflow automation platform which combines cloud-native document management, project case management and billing and accounting.
Second to present was Sean Wilson, CEO at SimSage. SimSage provides an intelligent information platform, powered by an innovative and unique indexing engine, that helps to:
· Drive more value from your information and your systems.
· Reduce time and manual work by numerous workflow automations.
· Reduce business risk.
SimSage works across the entire information management lifecycle with the core of the platform helping businesses to find and access the data they need. Sean explains that at SimSage, “we work with organisations to understand their needs and user requirements and then we deliver and improve on prototypes in a co-creative way.”
Sean finished his presentation by stating, “we are very keen to engage with law firms to understand your information, workflow and security requirements to determine how we can work jointly with you to deliver solutions that meet those needs.”
Up next was Panicos Iordanou, Commercial Director at Tabled, who started by speaking about the challenges faced by busy in-house legal teams trying to juggle a high volume of different requests and matters that are not centralised and how, from their clients’ perspective, a lack of visibility can also be a source of frustration.
Tabled helps to relieve these challenges by:
· Giving in-house legal teams a digital ‘legal front door’ to streamline and structure the way legal they receive and allocate work.
· Keeping clients informed via personalised dashboards and regular automated updates as their matters requests are progressed.
· Providing a central digital hub for all things legal so that all matter information, documents and data can be found in one place.
· Empowering the business with self-service tools for obtaining templates, finding answers and drafting documents.
· Capturing and unlocking the data legal teams need in order to take a more insight-driven approach to daily management and longer-term planning.
Panicos finished by outlining some of the ways that Tabled’s panel management tools help in-house legal teams to engage and collaborate with law firms more efficiently and how the platform also helps outside counsel to win more work by staying ‘top-of-mind’ and embedding their firms in their clients’ workflows, together with the ability to better monitor and optimise their own workloads.
Our fourth presentation was from Ieuan Leigh, Founder and CEO at Validient. Ieuan started by highlighting the key challenge that exists across the legal sector regarding Know-Your-Customer and anti-money laundering checks which must be completed by a regulated business to protect against financial fraud.
Manually performing these checks can often be a long and expensive process with a risk of inaccuracy which can lead to large legal fines and sanctions.
Validient offers a complete client onboarding and lifecycle platform allowing firms to generate AML and KYC reports, generate proof of funds reports, verify clients photo ID and proof of address with real-time alerts and notifications. Benefits of this solution include:
· The ability to verify the identity of your client quickly and securely for a reduced cost.
· Reduced risk with real time alerts and notifications.
· The ability to define client risk, perform assessments and store reports in a centralised location.
· Compliance team collaboration with discreet client reporting and decision-making.
Our final presentation was from David Buser, CEO and Co-Founder at Canveo. David began by highlight the problem, stating “companies lose $100,000s each year due to inefficient contract negotiation.”
David made the point that the current approach to contract negotiation is complex and leads to extremely high costs with the average cost for a business to complete a medium-complexity contract being $21,300+, and the estimated yearly costs for a medium-sized B2B SaaS business with 4 contracts/month being $1,022,400.
Canveo offers a secure solution for complex contract negotiations which can replace Microsoft Word functionality, with a key USP being that the counterparty does not need to use Canveo if they do not want to.
David went on to talk about where Canveo is today with over 220 active users on the platform, 250+ agreements negotiated, 3 enterprise opportunities, 2 strategic partnerships and over 120 further opportunities.
Overall, it was a fantastic event with a great speaker line-up and an engaged audience. We are now looking forward to our upcoming events, including our 2023 LegalTech in Leeds Conference:
· Wednesday 26th April, 09:00 – 17:00, University of Leeds – Esther Simpson Building - Signup Here.
To stay up to date with the LegalTech in Leeds upcoming events, please visit our website.
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