Legal tech was in the spotlight in London and Paris this week, with launch news from Slaughter and May, Barclays and the Paris Bar
Slaughter and May confirmed it will launch a legal technology incubator in the next year. The law tech programme will complement its existing Fast Forward fintech incubator and is expected to open by mid-2019. The law firm holds a five per cent stake in Luminance but does not expect to take further equity stakes in start-ups through the new initiative. Fintech Fast Forward was to fund legal tech applicants, but some legal tech start-ups have not taken up the offer.
Eagle Lab launch
As Slaughter and May was readying its plans, Barclays Eagle Lab legal tech incubator held a formal launch in London incubator in partnership with The Law Society, aimed at helping the legal sector catch up with its fintech peers and 'turbo-charge London’s law-tech ecosystem.' Barclays UK general counsel Stephanie Pagni led the launch, explaining Eagle Lab was inspired in large part by its flagship lab in Cambridge, where legal engineering firm Wavelength.law became its first ever member. Ms Pagni explained: 'We want to be part of the force turbo charging that innovation.’ Legal tech startups are gaining traction but law firms remain risk averse and loathe to change traditional practices. Avokka co-founder David Howorth said: ‘Trying to convince people that there are new and better ways to work is one of our biggest challenges.’ Speaking at the launch The Rt Hon Lord Keen said: 'There is a law tech revolution happening all over the world and we want to make sure that the UK leads it.' Other London firms pushing incubators are Allen & Overy, Mishcon De Reya and Dentons.
Paris Bar prepares
Over in Paris, the the Paris Bar launched its first physical incubation programme to support four innovative initiatives led by lawyers. All candidates, whether their projects are in the process of being created or have already started, have until June 24, 2018 to submit their application to benefit. The programme is coordinated by the Hercules, a legal tech agency and offers to successful candidates one year’s support to include access to expertise, innovation workshop, a ‘documentary pack’ to support strategy and development, and a strategy of visibility, monthly meetings with experts and business personalities, and a space to grow their ideas. The Paris Bar says the ambition of the incubator is to encourage innovation by lawyers and to be a player in the digital transformation in the legal world.