UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Legal Hackers hosts ‘From Law to LawTech’ event

4 February 2020

LawTech practitioners from Ashurst and Office & Dragons spoke about their experiences in law and in the LawTech industry.

UCL Legal Hackers

On Monday 27th of January 2020, UCL Legal Hackers (the UCL chapter of the global Legal Hackers network) held an event titled “From Law to LawTech”, which involved discussion about the current state of legal technology, and the obstacles in the way of further development and adoption. Students had the opportunity to learn about how technology is changing lawyers’ lives, and the many opportunities available for those interested in getting involved in legal technology.

Tara Waters, partner at Ashurst and co-CEO of Ashurst Digital Ventures (ADV), began the event by discussing how Ashurst is meeting clients’ demands for innovative and efficient delivery of legal services through its Ashurst Advance legal operations division. The firm is also working to develop, acquire, and deploy new digital solutions through ADV. She explained that technology provides an opportunity for growth and the development of new revenue streams, because it allows law firms to do things at scale in a way that would previously have been infeasible.

However, she emphasised that adoption of new digital solutions needs to involve people, processes, and technology. If technology is not integrated into internal processes, or buy-in is not sought from the actual users, then technological solutions alone have a high risk of becoming “shelfware” that sits on a shelf unused.

Next, Samuel Smolkin, CEO of Office & Dragons, spoke about his experience as a M&A lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, and how he founded the company to tackle the problems he faced doing transactional work. He outlined several parallels between the work of a software developer, and the work of a lawyer, and explained that many principles, patterns, and tools from software development can be applied to law to make legal work quicker, more efficient, and less tedious. Logan Oliver, who heads business development at the firm, discussed some of the challenges students tend to face when entering the job market, and suggested that students seek out a diverse range of work experience so as to become cross-functional applicants with a valuable talent stack. Above all, he highlighted the importance of learning to learn and being able to quickly acquire skills and knowledge when needed.

The presentations were followed by an engaging discussion with the audience, after which the attendees had the opportunity to network with the speakers and ask further questions over drinks and canapés.

Disclaimer: All comments were made by the speakers in their personal capacity and only reflect their personal views.

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