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Understanding and enabling LawTech

“The UK legal services market is worth almost £26bn a year, and growing. Technology is making inroads into the way legal services are delivered but it remains early days and the potential to disrupt is enormous.”

So begins our new white paper released in partnership with Legal Geek, the UK’s largest community of legal startups. The report, Movers and Shakers: UK LawTech Startups, details the current state of play for the many startups that are using technology to disrupt what has been a historically conservative and traditional market. The report gives insight into these lawtech companies – who they are, the solutions they offer, how much funding they’ve received and more – organized around intuitive categories like Practice Management, Marketplace, Contracts, Risk and Compliance, Law for Good, and Analytics and Search.

The report also includes the latest UK LawTech Startup Map – a one-of-its-kind visual representation of the UK legal startup community, first created by Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek in 2016.

The Legal Geek Thomson Reuters Lawtech Startup Map

The Lawtech Startup Map is a collaboration between Legal Geek and Thomson Reuters.

Based on the iconic London Underground map, we have developed a map to give an overview of the lawtech startup scene in the UK. The map uses different “Tube” lines to indicate the various categories or market segments that startups are operating in.

Main criteria considered for inclusion on the map:

  1. Technology-based, targeting rapid growth
  2. Operating in the UK
  3. Founded less than 7 years ago
  4. Believed to have generated <c.£5m in funding / revenue (exact figures usually unavailable)
LawTech Startup map illustrates UK legal technology startups by market segment and business categories
Source: Legal Geek Startup Map

The new report is the latest output of what has become an important collaboration between Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek. Other efforts include Legal Geek conferences and meetups. Both Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek appreciate the value each can bring to supporting the lawtech community and all those interested in learning more about these burgeoning businesses.

According to Sam Steer, law firm director at Thomson Reuters Legal, the purpose of the collaboration between Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek is to give startups a clear point of entry to engage with the legal industry. What’s more, it helps Thomson Reuters provide invaluable information to clients. “It’s important to help our customers navigate all the technology activity that’s coming at them,” said Steer.

Who are LawTech customers?

UK LawTech startups chart shows startups target customers in law firms, corporations, consumers and SMEs.
Source: Movers and shakers: UK LawTech startups

Of the UK’s 64 leading lawtech startups, 56 are aimed at business customers, such as law firms, large corporations, SMEs and barristers, according to Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek research.

LawTech insights

Sam Steer and Jimmy Vestbirk, founder of Legal Geek, along with a number of startups featured in the new report, recently shared insights into the growing area of lawtech and why being informed matters in a brief video.

Here are some excerpts:

  • Sam Steer, Thomson Reuters Legal:
    “The new LawTech ecosystem is bringing with it a number of changes, particularly to the roles that are undertaken within law firms and the activities that lawyers and others within law firms and other organizations undertake.”

    “Thomson Reuters can make a massive contribution to the Legal Tech ecosystem. We’ve been around for a very long time and help our customers navigate their way through the ecosystem.”

  • Jimmy Vestbirk, Legal Geek founder:
    “Law firms need to catch up with the fact that these new roles are coming; technology is going to enable those new roles, and what skills lawyers [will] need in the future.”
  • Richard Mabey, cofounder and CEO of Juro, an online, contract-management tool that helps businesses integrate and negotiate, sign and manage contracts through a single, integrated platform:
    “…We’ve seen a greater willingness on the part of lawyers to adopt technology. And I think what Legal Geek has done is to bring a lot of those people together and actually push out some solutions to some of these problems that have been around for so long. “
  • Mary Bonsor, CEO and founder of F-LEX, an online platform that connects pre-vetted law students and paralegals to law firms and in-house counsels:
    “The legal sector is going through a real wave of change at the moment, and trying to adopt technology and being part of that and in a startup is great.”
  • Dan Garrett, cofounder and CEO of Farewill, which helps people to make and update their wills online:
    “Legal Geek has given us a platform to tell the rest of the industry what we are working on and how it relates to them, and how can we make it as convenient as possible, as accessible and intelligible and affordable. And the answer to that is by using technology and making simple, online tools that mean you can do it at home.”

    “Companies like Thomson Reuters can help law firms to understand which way the tide is going, to see technological change and how it can apply to them.”

  • Daniel Van Binsbergen, CEO and cofounder of Lexoo, Europe’s largest legal marketplace:
    “It’s better to understand what’s happening to your sector and be a part of it than to wait on the sidelines and have it happen to you.”

Learn more

For a detailed review of the UK lawtech scene, click to download a copy of the Movers & Shakers: UK LawTech Startups report and check out the interactive version of the UK LawTech Startup Map. You can learn more about Legal Geek by visiting its website.

For more on Thomson Reuters and startups, read how we’re #Team Startup; why we think corporations and startups can form beautiful partnerships; and about the recent launch of Thomson Reuters Labs Incubator program with commodity startup Open Mineral as its first resident.

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