Strength of West of England’s legaltech sector to be promoted on national stage

August 21, 2020

The West of England is to be showcased as a national centre for legaltech by drawing on its strengths in both technology and law and promoting innovation in the fast-growing sector.

The region is already acknowledged as having one of the UK’s fastest-growing legaltech sectors with many of its law firms undertaking pioneering work in harnessing innovation and technology to bring about radical changes in the way they operate. 

It is also home to some of the UK’s largest tech firms working exclusively or partially in the legal sector.

Now a new report will analyse how the region can exploit this growing reputation and competitive advantage.

The research will also inform the national debate about the development of a UK legaltech industry as well as promoting the strength of the sector nationally and internationally and attracting further investment and business opportunities to the region.

Commissioned by the Bristol Law Society, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bristol+BathLegalTech, the report will also provide comprehensive analysis of the region’s strengths in legaltech and provide recommendations for the growth of the sector locally.

Bristol+BathLegalTech was formed earlier this year to bring together lawyers, techies, and designers to develop a regional legaltech community. 

Regional strategy firm Whitecap Consulting, which has a base in Bristol, will work with the region’s law firms and tech innovators to conduct the analysis for the report. 

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles, pictured right, said: “The West of England is a vibrant and dynamic hub for innovation in professional services.

“Legaltech brings together our forward-looking legal sector with our globally recognised tech sector to revolutionise the way the legal industry operates.

“This report will provide valuable data and insights not only for the region but for the entire country, being the first comprehensive survey of legaltech in the post-Covid world.

“The report is a central tool for promoting the region’s strengths in legaltech; taking the exciting Bristol+BathLegalTech initiative to the next level as a driver of digital transformation in the legal services sector. This all underlines the West of England’s national and international importance as a centre of innovation.”

Bristol Law Society president Ben Holt, pictured below, added: “Bristol Law Society recognises the increasing use of and huge potential for legaltech amongst the law firms in our region.

“It is a key driver for many firms in streamlining their current offering and delivering services in innovative ways in an increasingly digitalised and agile workplace.

“Bristol is a diverse legal sector with large firms looking to partner with tech firms and lead the way on innovation, and smaller firms looking to harness the power of tech products to deliver services more efficiently.

“There is a complementary drive within the courts and pro bono groups to use legaltech to help drive the administration of and access to justice which is critically important to our broader justice system.

“Additionally, there is a great opportunity to work together with our excellent universities and other legal education providers to upskill and inspire the next generation of future lawyers and legal tech specialists in this burgeoning sector.”

The report has been sponsored by Invest Bristol & Bath, WECA’s inward investment and international trade arm. It believes that establishing the region’s dynamic legaltech sector as an international centre of excellence will be a central factor in developing the region’s legal industry, which is already recognised for its leading-edge track record of innovation and technology adoption.

Ben added: “Bristol and Bath’s legal services need to be represented and put on the map nationally and internationally and so we are encouraging our members to support this report which, together with the Bristol+BathLegalTech group, is essential to making our mark and shouting about the breadth and depth of what we offer in this space.”

Whitecap Consulting previously produced a widely acclaimed report on the fintech sector in the West of England.

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