06 November 2019

Former general counsel takes lawtech lead

Former general counsel leads lawtech project as UK ministry injects £2 million to promote technology change in the legal sector.

The former general counsel of TransferWise has been appointed by a technology network to support digital transformation in the UK legal sector following a major mandate from the Ministry of Justice.

Paving the way

The network for technology entrepreneurs was today named as the recipient of the latest government funding for the lawtech sector. The £2m was allocated to the Ministry of Justice earlier this year, and has been awarded to Tech Nation, which describes itself as “the leading scaleup network for entrepreneurs.” Tech Nation will take forward and build on the work of the Lawtech Delivery Panel, the body set up in 2018 to promote and champion technology in the legal sector. Tech Nation already supports the government-backed Fintech Delivery Panel. The UK justice secretary, Robert Buckland QC MP, said the funding will “help support the development and use of UK lawtech, boost wider economic growth and pave the way for a technological revolution in the UK legal sector.” Jenifer Swallow, former general counsel at financial transfer service TransferWise, will lead the initiative, engaging with the legal services and lawtech community and working with the panel's chair, currently Christina Blacklaws, immediate past president of the Law Society.

“Transformational potential”

An early priority for the panel is to draw up a 2022 lawtech vision and specific projects to advance that vision. International investment in lawtech reached $1.66bn (£1.29bn) in 2018, a 714 percent increase on the previous year. Ms Swallow said, “The transformational potential of tech is huge. Considering the foundational nature of law and legal services for our businesses and wider society, I am delighted to have the opportunity as director of the lawtech delivery function to help accelerate the evolution of the sector through tech. Bringing together industry leaders, our amazing tech talent, the wider legal community and beyond, and engaging candidly on the issues, we can step change the sector to be truly fit for the future, globally.” Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech Nation, said “We look forward to working with the LawTech Delivery Panel’s distinguished members, tech entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Justice and the wider ecosystem to grow this sector.”