2020 Annual Report

4 min read

Collaborating with start-ups to develop new legal tech

Story synopsis

  • A new generation of legal-technology start-ups are developing revolutionary products for the legal profession.
  • Through our Legal Ventures Programme, we’re taking a new approach to how we engage with these start-ups, paving the way for talent to bring new tech to the mainstream while supporting them to develop their ideas.
  • Through a further collaboration with venture builders Conception X, 50 mentors across our firm are helping twelve UK PhD student teams apply their tech talents to real-world business challenges, using technology in areas such as Blockchain and AI.

Our aim for Deloitte Legal is to build a market-leading legal practice with technology at its centre, so that our lawyers can offer the best possible solutions to clients.

Deloitte Legal managing partner, Michael Castle said: “New technologies have revolutionised a number of industries in recent years, but so far the legal sector has lagged behind.”

“We believe our approach to developing legal technology will redefine the way legal services will be delivered in the future.”

By helping lawyers to resolve complex problems in shorter timeframes, new technology is enabling lawyers to do more for less.

Clarity for start-ups

Deloitte Legal Ventures is an innovative way of supporting UK enterprise, while introducing clients to some of the most exciting legal technology in the market.

Typically, new products or services require ‘proof-of-concept’ to demonstrate the viability of the new technology. Yet for many start-ups, products are often piloted without a full understanding of how their success will be measured.

“The process of working with big businesses can mean start-up companies often struggle to understand how their proof-of-concepts are being measured”, said Scott Campbell, partner at Deloitte and leader of Deloitte Ventures.

“In reality, big businesses can be nervous to test pilots with real customers.”

Taking a different approach, Legal Ventures allows both parties to decide, at the outset, what success looks like and measure it using agreed metrics.

In practice, this means speeding up the process of taking potential new technologies from the ideas stage to proof of concept, while also ensuring that the concepts themselves will solve actual client problems.

“We’re looking forward to doing this differently” Scott continues “because it could be the difference between success and failure.”

Collaborating with pioneering companies

“Collaborating with pioneering companies offers the best of both worlds” continued Michael.

“We can all learn together while supporting innovative ideas and driving them forward.”

Selected from 400 technology companies, 14 companies were hand-picked to join our first cohort for the Legal Ventures programme - chosen because their products aligned with our future strategy to provide new solutions to legal problems, enabling our clients to experience the future of law, today.

Working closely with the initial cohort, we’ve provided them with detailed feedback on their products and services along with access to consulting, technology, legal and investment expertise from across our firm.

Since the launch of the Deloitte Legal Ventures programme, we have improved our ability to respond to clients’ problems through technology.

As a result of the programme clients are actively engaging with Deloitte Legal to submit ambitious innovation challenges they would like to see solved through the venture in 2021.

Support for ‘Venture Scientists’

All over the UK, digitally-native students are a hotbed of new ideas with the potential to bring even more innovative ideas.

Recognising that, with our support, the right start-ups could make a big impact for our clients we began collaborating with Conception X - a venture builder that empowers students from the UK’s leading PhD programmes to create tech start-up enterprises.

“Taking the Ventures premise a step further” explains Deloitte Legal’s innovation and ventures lead Laura Bygrave, “we’re also supporting talent at the earliest possible stage, exploring technology solutions to the unknown legal problems of tomorrow.”

Dr Riam Kanso, chief executive officer of Conception X, added: “By engaging with early stage deep technology, created by talented PhD students, industry leaders like Deloitte are at the forefront of shaping the future of their industry.”

“We are working with people who are excited about tackling challenging problems head on, while creating and opening markets for innovations.”

“They are already looking at the world 5-10 years from now, gathering insight on the products and services that will be part of our economy and society. This is the future, and we're excited to be riding the wave together.”

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