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FIRESIDE CHAT: AN INTERNATION PERSPECTIVE ON LEGAL INNOVATION

What is the status in legal innovation? What is happening overseas? How are law firms adopting tech? Where is investment really paying off? How are the markets evolving? What are consequences for the legal ecosystem?

 Mitchell Kowalski, Professor at the University of Calgary, Canada and author of leading titles on legal innovation, and Marie Bernard, CEO at Bleu de Prusse and former Head of NextLaw Labs, met to discuss.

In a fireside chat format, BRYTER brought two renowned and experienced experts on Legal Technology and innovation together to discuss challenges, opportunities and best practices, with a special emphasis on the international perspective: Mitchell Kowalski, Professor at the University of Calgary and author of the much-acclaimed book Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century and one of the leading voices in legal innovation has been examining and describing legal innovation for decades.

Marie Bernard from Blue de Prusse, former Head of NextLaw Labs and Woman of Legal Tech 2018 has shaped the ecosystem from various angles: as a consultant, as Big Law representative and as a VC. The discussion was moderated by our CEO, Michael Grupp, hosting the event at the Q Club, the business club of Deutsche Bank right in the heart of Berlin.

Mitchell Kowalski elaborated on his view on current trends in legal innovation: there is a diverse innovation landscape with many innovation hubs geographically scattered all over the globe – changes are happening everywhere. Some innovation hot spots, however, like the Silicon Valley, New York area and Toronto, seem to be leading the pack, at least in terms of visibility.

Innovation is still about driven, enthusiastic people. If you have them: great. But if you don’t: you can’t change anything.

Innovation is still people driven. This poses a hard challenge for the billable-hour-based service profession still struggling in taking leaps of faith. There are increasing examples of success stories – yet they remain lighthouse projects in an overall hesitant market. In addition, false expectations and hypes have sometimes discouraged early adopters and innovators, challenging real innovation and feasible products to be perceived as helpful.

Marie walked the audience through a number of examples where the adoption of innovation had been successful and highlighted the value of research and development for legal services. Funding of Legal Tech is still lagging behind the VC ecosystems in other industries, also due to the national regulation. Marie Bernard highlighted how different regulations come to play in different jurisdictions.

Innovation is not only about tech. It’s a lot about paving the way. And of course: Trial and error.

Both speakers highlighted the value of Legal Tech and innovation for boosting A2J. They expressed hope that future legal innovation trends will be more realistic, focusing on scalable tools and platforms.

The audience from big law firms, public sector, academia as well as from technology and consulting companies took an active part in the discussion, especially questioning on innovation adoption and intelligent technologies and artificial intelligence in law.