Artificial Lawyer spent 12 happy hours at the Legal Geek Conference on Brick Lane in East London yesterday and can confirm to those who might be wondering, that yes, this was the best legal tech event of the year. The success of the event was very much driven by an entrepreneur himself, Jimmy Vestbirk, who created Legal Geek and set the tone from the get-go, with a great Truman Brewery space for the event and mandatory high fives to the attendees sitting on either side. There was also a no ties policy and that deserves a special commendation. What set this event apart from others was that the speakers were the real thing. They were the founders and/or senior staff members of the legal AI companies everyone else is talking about.
That is part of the reason why the inevitable change is coming strongly to Israel now. In a competitive market like the Israeli legal sector, players have to find ways to stay ahead and new technology is certainly a way of doing this. Moreover, a younger generation of lawyers, who are much more tech savvy, is entering the local legal market. In fact, we are meeting more and more tech-enthusiastic lawyers who demand tech solutions that will make their practice better and their working lives easier. Some are even quitting their day jobs as lawyers to become legal tech entrepreneurs.
"We do think there will be significant growth," Microsoft's Kimberly Nelson tells the NYT. "As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road." Twenty-five states in the US have legalized pot, either for medical or recreational use, and five more are voting this year to approve it, including California and Nevada. That's created a kind of (Acapulco) gold rush in Silicon Valley, with startups sprouting everywhere. The software giant is based in Washington state, where it's perfectly legal to sell pot, and sees the potential for profits.
The legal technology industry is still nascent, but the industry has quietly built up a number of emerging categories over the last few years. With legal tech companies raising just $739M in aggregate funding since 2011, there is still a lot of opportunity to improve processes within a legal industry still attached to manual and paper-based processes. Using CB Insights and analytics, we identified 50 startups working in legal tech, and categorized them into a market map spanning key emerging categories such as electronic discovery, law practice management, and online legal services. We defined legal tech as all tech-enabled companies offering services and products to those in the legal industry. That includes technology catered to individual lawyers, larger corporate law firms, and other key stakeholders in the law industry.