Next in line for disruption: the legal industry

New technologies are affecting every industry. One of the emerging fields is legal tech. Everything from VR in courtrooms, blockchain technology in supply chain management or Artificial Intelligence can make a huge impact on the legal industry.

According to Future Trends for Legal Services, a research study by Deloitte Legal, the majority of participants in the survey said that technology had not replaced the tasks of in-house. But over half, 52 percent, said that this is bound to happen over the next five years.

In-depth interviews with CEOs and CFOs of law firms show there is a wish to bring in commercial and non-legal expertise to stay relevant. They want better and more relevant technologies to be used and shared on integrated platforms, and firms want to be more savvy on global data and cyber security protection issues.

Making legal work more affordable

Merete Nygaard is the CEO and founder of Lawbotics, an early-stage legal tech startup. Her ambition is to make the legal market more transparent and open for innovation.

They are developing a knowledge management platform for handling legal content, which will help manage all legal documents and legal processes for any company.

“For companies, the core value the platform provides is making distribution of legal content more effective and accessible within its organization, and importantly, the company will be able to re-use and improve legal content more cost effectively,” says Nygaard.

Lawbotics is automating manual legal work and is also creating tools on the platform for making the interaction between lawyers and their clients more efficient and cost effective. They are also looking into the use of AI features on the platform. Use of algorithms and data in legal field will be crucial in developing more effective service for the companies, and between lawyers and their clients.

“Our team consists of both a domain expert within the legal system, a data scientist specialized on machine learning and AI, a senior developer and an UX/UI designer. We believe we have a great combination of skills and the necessary network to take the lead within the legal tech domain in Norway. We have further recruited more domain experts and senior developers to join our team,” she says.

Q:Where in the process is your company today?

“Lawbotics has been bootstrapping until now, but we have received funding from Innovation Norway and are currently closing a deal with an external investor. We have built a great core team, and are collaborating with resources outside the company.”

“Going forward we’ll focus on building our product which will be used within law firms and companies of any size, both in Norway and internationally.”

Quit her job

Nygaard knows her field well. For eight years she was a corporate lawyer at Wiersholm, but recently quit her job to create the new company.

Q: What made you take the leap from a steady day job to creating a startup?

“First of all, I’m a doer and I’m not particular risk-averse. It was a no brainer to quit my job, once I saw the opportunity to be part of the new legal tech space, and to learn business by building on my own experience.”

She adds that she was never planning a long career as a business lawyer.

“I was always more interested in the business itself and in building scalable products. Of course it was helpful that I knew I could sell legal hours while bootstrapping Lawbotics.”

Nygaard says that every entrepreneur needs to find their own path when it comes to building a business. However, she has one advice to disruptive entrepreneurs.

“When I was figuring out which path to take, it worked well for me to target interesting and relevant people and talk to them. More often than not, they were willing to spend an hour on me. Often, it led to them connecting me to other interesting people. Having the right network and the right team is crucial for Lawbotics and that’s why we will succeed.”