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LEGAL TECH: THE END OF THE LONESOME COWBOY?!

BRYTER is featured in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), a major German newspaper, as an innovative company changing the way lawyers will work on complex decision making.

[Convenience translation:] Digital transformation is now beginning to take hold at the legal industry and more and more law firms are cooperating with Legal Tech companies. Most of manual work will be automated in the future. 

By Markus Zydra

Here you can feel comfortable. Right at the entrance door, there is a bar. Around the corner is the meeting room with a comfortable lounging sofa and a huge screen. The rooms look light, the walls are entirely made of glass. There are monitors on every desks. The view from the sixth floor extends to the eastern part of Frankfurt, where cranes, trucks, building dust and noise proclaim the renewal of the town area.

Companies working in the Legal Innovation Hub ‘Reinvent Law’ develop digital products for a profession that for long thought the digital revolution would pass them by. We are talking about lawyers. They are often regarded as “lonesome cowboys’, just picking their brains. Assisted mainly by law book and – if you want to believe TV-series such as ‘Law and Order’ – also by a detective. However, modern technology did not play a big role in the legal profession – yet.

Daniel von Devivere, CEO of Reinvent Law, thinks: ‘Modern digital thinking has not yet reached the legal profession. They are often still ‘lonesome cowboys’ hanging over books. ‘Reinvent Law is a innovation hub where companies such as Bosch, Daimler and ZF develop new digital products together with Legal Tech companies. ‘It is the first centre of its kind in continental Europe,’ says Devivere.

‘Unlike in the industrial sector, there are no research departments in law firms.’

The term Legal Tech is a combination of ‘Legal Services’ and ‘Technology’. It is about the digital transformation and automation of legal work. Baker McKenzie, an international law firm, is also involved. ‘We must not miss out on the digitization process because we want to offer our clients efficient and innovative legal advice,’ says Matthias Scholz, Managing Partner at Baker McKenzie. ‘Unlike in the industrial sector, there are no research departments in law firms’. This is why Reinvent Law is so important. In addition, Baker also wants to recruit the best graduates from universities with as much technical affinity as possible.

At the end of the 1990s, legal and computer scientist Richard Susskind began to think about how information technology could be used for legal purposes. In his book ‘The Future of Law’ he argued that many legal problems could be reduced to a standardizable core. These routine legal tasks can be automated. Is it really necessary for highly paid lawyers to sift through complicated contracts in small print or could software do it faster and cheaper?

Highly standardized areas like contract drafting are ideal for automation. Speeding tickets and delayed flights have been processed through legal advice portals determining whether an appeal or a lawsuit is worthwhile.

This trend has now reached Big Law representing large companies in court – for example in banking law, patent disputes or mergers. The hourly fees of these lawyers are often high, and many clients are wondering whether this cannot be done cheaper. Pascal Di Prima used to be a partner in a law firm, before he started Lexemo. ‘Sifting through 1,000 pages of contracts does not really qualify as a job promotion for lawyers any longer,’ he says. His company Lexemo has developed a browser application for banking regulation.

Michael Grupp, CEO and co-founder at BRYTER believes that the digital transformation will fundamentally alter current business models in the legal industry. His company provides a no-code toolbox enabling lawyers to automate legal thinking, reasoning and processes. ‘This finally allows lawyers to model and digitize legal decision making’, he explains. With BRYTER, the future lawyer might be software.