26 June 2020

Slaughter and May unveils remote legal tech incubator programme

Jane Stewart

Jane Stewart: 'We have really challenged ourselves to pull together a programme which runs virtually.'

Seven startups are taking part in Collaborate scheme, adapted to meet Covid-19 restrictions

Slaughter and May has named the seven startups joining its second annual Collaborate tech incubator programme.

The successful applicants will take part in a redesigned, remote programme, the start of the scheme having been delayed from the spring due to the impact of Covid-19.

Participants are assigned two Slaughters mentors — a partner and a member of its knowledge or innovation team — and given access to a client panel which includes senior in-house lawyers from GlaxoSmithKline, Santander, SoftBank and Vodafone.

They can also use the firm’s ‘tech sandbox and dummy data’, allowing them to test and develop their products in a typical law firm infrastructure.

A new feature for 2020 is access to venture capital funds and legal tech entrepreneurs for advice on securing funding. 

Among the successful applicants are Immediation, which was founded by Melbourne barrister Laura Keily and offers confidential online dispute resolution technology; and secure instant messaging platform Novastone, which promises to move ‘relationships from the inbox into an instant, compliant conversation across multiple devices’.

Former Herbert Smith Freehills disputes partner Graeme Johnston is a co-founder of another cohort member: legal project management tool Juralio which allows users to ‘organise documents, messages and numbers around maps and timelines in one central place’.

Completing the line up are Della AI, which undertakes contract review; deal management and transactional workflow platform thedocyard; document review system Lexical Labs; and Office & Dragons, whose document automation app is currently being piloted with law firms and legal teams.

Jane Stewart, head of innovation at Slaughters, said: “The second Collaborate programme is another great opportunity to join forces with our clients to work together with high potential legal tech businesses. This time we have really challenged ourselves to pull together a programme which runs virtually – at least initially - while still offering our cohort the high level of personal interaction with the firm and its clients.”

The programme culminates in a ‘demo day’ when the startups present their 'elevator pitch' to an audience of client in-house teams, tech suppliers and Slaughters personnel.

Last year’s winner, StructureFlow, which helps lawyers and clients quickly and easily visualize complex legal structures and transactions, was kept under Slaughters’ wing for a further period to allow the product to be developed.

Other firms operating tech incubator programmes include Allen & Overy, Deloitte’s UK legal arm, Deloitte Legal, and Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, which completed its first programme in May. Barclays launched its Eagle Lab tech incubator programme in 2018.

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