Over 2016, the legal community has begun to build up some of the key infrastructure needed to support startups in the field.
Tech incubators and accelerators, for example, which typically provide structured mentorship and networking supports for startups, are cropping up at law schools, legal services companies, and law firms to help support legal tech entrepreneurs bring new technology to market.
Global mega-firm Dentons was among the first to move into this space, launching their tech accelerator, NextLaw Labs, last year.
The accelerator’s CEO Dan Jansen previously told Legaltech News that NextLaw represents an opportunity for Dentons to tailor-fit technology to their firm’s needs while promoting overall adoption of technology across the legal sector. “We try to help shape the product. We’re not like a passive VC,” Jansen noted.
NextLaw picked up steam in 2016, adding nine new startups to its portfolio this year alone with a wide variety of different legal tech approaches. Below are the accelerator’s holdings as of the end of this year:
Apperio – Matter management is a key staple of law firm technologies, but Apperio sets itself apart through its “smart” analytics dashboard. John Fernandez, Dentons’ U.S. chief innovation officer and partner, previously told Legaltech News said that they opted to invest in Apperio because of “the usability of the product and its ability to integrate with multiple enterprise systems.”
Beagle – Automation and contract work are something of a perfect pairing, and Beagle’s contract automation platform includes a bolstered set of features geared toward user navigation and collaboration.
Brexit Contract Review Solution – The Brexit Contract Review Solution is a collaborative effort between NextLaw and UK-based RAVN Systems, an artificial intelligence software solutions provider, to aid law firms as they try to maneuver through the uncertain legal landscape produced by the Brexit vote.
Clause – Clause’s “data-driven contracts” integrate blockchain technology into the fabric of contracts themselves, allowing them to essentially “self-execute.” Such contracts can be linked to corporate databases and ensure compliance to governing regulations.
Doxly – Doxly is a transaction management platform that looks to bring technology into what Dentons leaders called a “surprisingly manual” system. The platform is cloud-based and collaborative, allowing legal teams to manage all stages of deal processes.
Hire an Esquire – As its name suggests, Hire an Esquire is a means to connect law firms and legal departments with verified attorneys for contract work. The platform also allows firms to track time, communicate with attorneys, and approve invoices.
Libryo – Regulation and compliance take center stage with Libryo, which uses a dashboard interface to help users keep track of relevant contractual relationships and regulation.
Qualmet – Analytics are becoming a major component of the delivery of legal services, but Qualmet takes business analytics to qualitatively evaluate lawyers’ themselves. The service provides over 20 different metrics to evaluate individual attorneys’ “legal quality.”
ROSS Intelligence – Though NextLaw was certainly not the only incubator interested in ROSS’ promise to bring artificial intelligence broadly to legal services (Silicon Valley-based Y-Combinator also invested in the service), it was likely the first. ROSS was NextLaw’s first startup partner, and its success in the market likely benefited both parties.