Atlanta: Atlanta is perhaps most associated with cybersecurity via the Equifax breach, but the city is also a hub for data protection. Baker Donelson has hosted a CyberCon and Cyber Week in separate years, showcasing companies on the scene. The firm also operates an accelerator for Atlanta-based cybersecurity companies like WitFoo and Gyomo. Likewise, Georgia’s State Bar developed a program to educate attorneys in risk response.
Belfast: UK legal tech goes beyond London, with Belfast hosting major operation centers for both Axiom and iManage. The city’s also home to Big Law innovative efforts, like an Allen & Overy legal services center employing both scientists and lawyers, and Herbert Smith Freehills’ Alternative Legal Services hub, which relies on technologists in its services delivery. Belfast’s Ulster University also opened a Legal Innovation Centre, which tailors programs toward those interested in legal technology.
Hong Kong: Though nascent, Hong Kong’s legal tech scene boasts a robust legal hackers community, including a local chapter of the International Legal Hackers Summit, and was the grounds of both a Global Legal Hackathon Event—a two-day access-to-justice hackathon—and the Hong Kong Computational Law and Blockchain Festival. Among the region’s emerging companies are Decoding Law, creators of a browser extension that uses machine learning to decode legalese, and Zegal, provider of document management and drafting tools. Big US-based players like Epiq and Relativity have also been bringing their efforts to the market in recent years.
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s capital has spawned startups like legal services marketplaces BurgieLaw and CanLaw, as well as apps like EasyLaw, Locum Legalis and boutique law firm Coong Cheng Leong & Co’s database of Malaysian court judgments. The city also hosts LexTech, a legal tech conference geared toward practitioners in Southeast Asia, and has its own chapter of Legal Hackers.
London: Headquarters of RAVN Systems and Luminance, London has proven a launchpad for AI in law. Some of the country’s premier law firms have also entered the tech scene via incubators, such as those from Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy, as has Barclays with its Eagle Lab, a partnership with the Law Society. Legal tech startups are practically their own industry in the UK as a whole, with a 2017 Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek report pegging overall investment at £16m. The city is also the first in which famed chatbot DoNotPay was used to fight parking tickets.
Madrid: Madrid takes a global approach to legal tech. The city’s IE Law School, which hosts a course in legal technology and startups, is partnering with universities across the globe in hosting a competition for new legal tech companies. Likewise, Institute Innovación Legal offers everything from consulting to training for technology in the legal sector. The city is also home to law firm Garrigues, which in addition to developing search indexing and speech-to-text conversion tool Proces@ oversees an in house “Innovation Think Tank,” where staff conceives and creates technology.
San Francisco: In addition to housing much of the country’s tech scene, a large wedge of the Bay Area is filled by legal tech. Stanford University’s CodeX brings together lawyers, technologists and those in between to find tech solutions to legal issue and hosts the highly regarded annual FutureLaw event. Tech accelerator YCombinator has also backed legal technology companies, including Atrium LTS (also in SF). Among the growing companies calling the city home are Casetext, Logikcull, ROSS Intelligence, and Lex Machina.
Singapore: Singapore’s tech and law relationship began in 1990, when the state-appointed Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) launched its LawNet database. SAL released its Legal Technology Vision roadmap 2017, but it isn’t the judiciary’s only nod to innovate. Singapore’s Maxwell Chambers arbitration center employs Opus 2 litigation technologies, while its Supreme Court launched paperless court proceedings in 2014. Chatbots have entered the scene as well, with LawGuideSingapore launching on Facebook to provide users with legal advice.
Tel Aviv: Israel hosted its first annual legal technology conference in 2017, where homegrown companies like Bavli, Autorni and Paralegal showcased their technologies. Also hailing from the city is LawGeex, a contract automation company getting much global industry notoriety, and cybersecurity group Cybint.
Toronto: Birthplace of ROSS Intelligence and Kira Systems, Toronto is home to more than the robot lawyer. Among companies with roots in the city are Codify Legal Publishing and document generation and management startup Founded, which partnered with Blake, Cassels & Graydon’s innovation arm Blakes Nitro (also Toronto-based) for a service. There’s plenty more, too: In a 2016 blog post, lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff, founder of Toronto’s Global-Regulation Inc. and legal marketplace FlatLaw.ca, counted 41 legal tech businesses calling the city home.
Legal technology has taken off in the US over the past several years. And in that time, the industry has expanded to include startups, law firms and practitioners across the globe. These ten international cities are among the many cultivating their own legal technology scenes and changing the way law is practiced.