Technology is set to have a huge impact on the legal profession - making lawyers cheaper, faster and more accessible, a Sheffield conference heard.
Legal advice from artificial intelligence, online searchable case law, AI verified document scanning, unhackable cash transfers and apps that keep clients up to date with cases were all about to make an impact, delegates were told.
Some 150 people attended the sold-out Legal Technology North at Sheffield Hallam University, the first of its kind in the North, it is claimed.
Susan Clegg, of PM Property Lawyers in Sheffield, said: “People complain they can’t get hold of lawyers and struggle to understand information. And they always want cases to go faster.
“Today all law firms have a website, the next thing is mobile apps. Maybe a quarter of conveyancing firms have them but there’s so much potential in areas such as family and criminal law and employment disputes. And Sheffield has a lot of small tech start-ups.”
The day featured speakers and workshops where lawyers, tech experts and students brainstormed ideas.
Kollider, the tech development group, co-hosted the conference and offered participants the chance to develop ideas at its incubator in the former Coop department store on Angel Street. Harvey Harding, of PM Property Lawyers and conference co-organiser, said: “To have tech firms, AI experts, cyber security experts and legal tech thought leaders talking to lawyers about the challenges they face was simply fantastic.”
Co-organiser Matt Pennington, of Sheffield tech firm QuoteXpress, said the aim was to improve legal services and access to services.
“Technology can do so much to bring legal advice to people who would never normally consider approaching a lawyer for help.
“The hands-on workshops had an incredible amount of energy and some of the ideas they produced have real potential to be developed further.”
Delegate, Callum Murray, of tech firm Amiqus ID, said: “There was an excellent mixture of content and great opportunities to get together with interesting people from many different sectors. We’ve had some really valuable discussions and it’s great that this kind of event happened in the north of England, not in London.”
Last year, Sheffield legal tech firm Rebmark, which automates the calculation of damages in personal injury cases, was snapped up by US giant, Verisk, a global US data analytics provider.