Monday, 08 October 2018

City and Wall Street elite get behind legal tech app as the sector eyes consolidation

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City and Wall Street elite get behind legal tech app as the sector eyes consolidation

Clifford Chance (CC), Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Latham & Watkins are among 12 City and US heavyweights to get behind a startup project to create an App Store for legal tech products.

The initiative responds to challenges faced by legal professionals with overkill setting in as unconnected products flood the market, forcing lawyers to upload client information and documents on a new platform each time the firm adopts a new tool.

It sees CC’s chief information officer Paul Greenwood and Latham’s Ken Heaps chair a group which will meet monthly to advise newly launched startup Reynen Court on the development of a platform where different tech vendors will be able to sell their products.

The consortium aims at steering the project towards products law firms really need, while also setting common standards for the development of new tools. The ambition is to give firms and vendors a one-stop shop for legal tech, a move which if successful might lead to much-needed consolidation in the sector.

The group also includes the IT heads of US firms Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Covington & Burling, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Ropes & Gray, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and White & Case.

‘There is a lot of very interesting new legal tech tools coming out every week, but many law firms are not getting the full value because all of these apps use different platforms and they don’t interact with each other,’ Greenwood told Legal Business. ‘It means every time you use a different product you have to upload client documents on it. Reynen Court will engineer this so that vendors will put all their products on a single platform and each law firm will be able to keep its documents on its own premises or cloud.’

Founded and led by former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Andrew Klein, Reynen Court employs around a dozen people and aims to go live with a first group of ten vendors selling their products on its platform within 12 months.

The initial focus will be on contract analysis, discovery, compliance and practice management technologies.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk