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Emerging Legal Technology Trends in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

The pandemic affected industries throughout the world, and recent legal technology trends prove it. In some ways, the disruption wasn’t all bad. In fact, as Forbes mentioned in a well-titled article , “The Pandemic Might Be The Tech Disruptor The Legal Industry Needs” : “This pandemic-prompted digital transition is just the beginning of a larger evolution for the legal profession that will lead to more efficiency, stronger security and better client service.” Necessity is the mother of invention, and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly kicked the legal industry where it hurt.

To set the stage, let’s see how the most recent Gartner “Market Guide for Enterprise Legal Management Solutions” presented a concise summary of the regional adoption level of ELM solutions. Clearly, the strongest current presence is in North America and Europe. But there’s been movement elsewhere . With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting legal technology trends some have identified in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Smaller legal firms are outpacing larger firms in technology

Among legal technology trends in Europe, we find smaller, specialist law firms are taking on entrepreneurial projects that are challenging larger firms to keep up . By thinking out of the box, these small firms are changing the traditional way of doing things and introducing new ideas that may well pave the way for the future.

In Poland, for instance, NGL Legal is expanding in a revolutionary manner. Instead of going the more traditional route of acquisition or hiring more employees, NGL Symbio is a partnership between six different law firms throughout Central and Eastern Europe. By covering 50 jurisdictions, NGL Symbio’s clients are able to access the resources and expertise they need, and the firms collaborate as necessary.

In Portugal, Antas da Cunha Ecija & Associados have created a legal intelligence department . Their projects include various experiments to find technological solutions to challenges faced by lawyers, such as a knowledge management system that provides a single source of truth that retains the firm’s institutional knowledge and thus makes it easier to train junior lawyers. Larger firms are getting creative to keep up

The pandemic has certainly forced an acceleration in creative, out-of-the-box thinking that’s showing up in legal technology trends. As winner and runner-up among the ‘ Most Innovative Law Firms in Europe 2021 ’, DLA Piper and Allen & Overy are examples of larger, international firms that found ways to transform their business model and cater to clients who value long-term, big-picture thinking.

DLA Piper has created a wholly owned subsidiary, Aldersgate Holding, which invests in new technology (blockchain, for instance). While it’s funded by the partners, it has autonomy and is able to be far more agile than other firm management teams.

Allen & Overy created the Markets Innovation Group, or MIG, to focus on long-term project investments and to encourage more of a start-up culture. It is part of the firm, unlike Aldersgate Holding, but it’s treated like a client, with lawyers able to […]

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