The application of innovative technologies—including AI—has the potential to radically improve the provision of legal services, facilitating cheaper, faster and more accessible delivery. LawTech startups, unencumbered by existing ways of doing things, are making technical breakthroughs. Yet, the adoption of LawTech at scale requires either a transformation of incumbents’ processes and governance, or the displacement of incumbents by new entrants. An understanding of the facilitators of, and barriers to, scaleup is essential to the vitality of the UK LawTech sector.

To understand how incumbents and new entrants are exploiting the potential of LawTech, we require an “ecosystem” perspective. This approach allows us to explore the interactions, and collaborations, among key stakeholders within the LawTech ecosystem.

In particular, this work package addresses the following research questions:

  • What human and financial capital inputs are needed to sustain and scale-up a legal innovation (‘LawTech’) ecosystem in the UK?
  • How do networks within the sector foster and sustain the diffusion of innovation?

The project seeks to generate rich and detailed data about the networks of LawTech entrepreneurial teams and law firm innovation teams in the UK, as compared to elsewhere. We aim to shed insights for policy and  practice regarding the skills and careers of heads of innovation at law firms; the expertise and career trajectories of those tasked with establishing LawTech startups; the optimal (legal and technological) skills mix of the top management team of LawTech startups; the significance of legal expertise among financiers; and the inflow of personnel from contiguous tech sectors (including FinTech and RegTech).