Join the Evolve Law Revolution | Inaugural Vancouver Event on Feb 16th

Content provided by Traklight

The legal industry is undergoing a technological revolution, and in the last several years, Legal Technology (LegalTech) has exploded into an almost $400B market in the United States. From only fifteen LegalTech startups raising on Angel List in 2009 to over four hundred listed in 2013, technological disruption has affected every branch of the legal industry.

Sometimes compared to financial technology (FinTech), the LegalTech industry saw major venture investment backing in 2014 and 2015 in four areas, cited by Bessemer Ventures here as ripe for disruption: process automation, legal research, consumer, and e-discovery. However recently that investment has slowed down, as has investment in many sectors.

We started Evolve Law last fall as an additional sales and marketing channel for our companies because we experienced challenges selling to lawyers, an inherently risk adverse group. Our mission is to accelerate the pace of adoption of technology within the legal industry.

Everyone resists change but lawyers seem to have an added hurdle because they dislike being first or even early adopters. I have been asked on numerous occasions whether we have hundreds of other firms using my company Traklight’s technology. When I answer not yet, the firms do not wish to continue the conversation. My theories of why lawyers are slow to adopt technology originally appeared in a series I wrote for the American Bar Association’s Law Technology Today:

  • Legal tech companies will do better if the founders are former or current attorneys, because that creates a built-in incubator for the product.
  • In-house or general counsel are important customers, as they will drive change with the larger law firms faster than the legal tech companies.
  • Legal tech companies have more challenges with medium and large firms because of more cumbersome decision-making processes.
  • It may be easier to dislodge another competitive legal tech solution than create a brand new solution that has no competitors and therefore no early adopters.
  • Too many solutions or legal tech products (not necessarily companies) can create inefficiencies—unless there is seamless integration.
  • Everyone resists change; attorneys are no different.

Our first Canadian Evolve Law event was held last fall in Toronto at the Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone. Our hosts were the new Legal Innovation Zone, one of two legal tech incubators in Toronto. At that event, it was estimated that Toronto now has over thirty legal tech startups!

Several themes emerged during this expert legal tech panel and you can view the two-part video here – Is the Forbidden Fruit Hanging Lower? .

  • Bar associations and some large law firms are still hoping all this technology will just go away (spoiler alert – technology is critical to the future of law)
  • Traditionally risk adverse, lawyers in both Canada and the US hide behind ethics and unauthorized practice of law issues to avoid technology
  • Selling to law firms is tricky and requires a blend of legal expertise and a traditional sales methodology
  • Younger lawyers and the exponential increase in mobile technology will accelerate the pace of adoption because clients will demand technology
  • Lawyers need to invest in legal tech and firms need to be early adopters like McCarthy Tetrault’s pilot program for testing legal tech companies’ technologies.

LegalTech is a growing vertical in Vancouver with Clio, one of Bessemer’s investments, plus (just acquired by Coupa) and Knomos. If you are a legaltech company in Vancouver and not listed above please reach out to me on twitter @maryjuetten.

Please join us at BCTIA on February 16th at 5:30 pm to see legaltech company demos; hear from experts, including Clio Founder Jack Newton and Dan Lear of Avvo; and learn about social media and innovation’s impact on the law – more details here.