Bucerius goes ELTA-Con 2k17
“At the first ELTA Conference, we met the people who lead innovation in the European Legal Tech scene. From single entrepreneurs to international law firms - everybody was there to discuss the latest trends.” - Jan Willem Kothe
Eight students and alumni of Bucerius Law School were given the opportunity to attend the first ELTA Conference to learn more about how the legal profession might evolve in the future. The European Legal Tech Association (ELTA) is an association of law firms, companies, legal technology providers, start-ups and individuals in Europe. The Association regards itself as a platform specifically for the promotion of knowledge about, and the possible application of, technology and software supported solutions in the legal market (legal technology), as well as its use within companies, law firms, start-ups, and other initiatives active in this area. It is the first European association of its kind and together with the Codex Center at Stanford University a leading promoter of legal technology in the world.
“Truly European and truly inspiring. Opinion leaders giving participants a bold, yet realistic outlook for the future of law. Looking forward to next year’s conference.” - Jan Stemplewski
The conference started off with a presentation of the newly designed networking platform “ELTA-Connect” which was by built by Patrick Haede, who is also a student at Bucerius Law School. The platform serves to connect individuals and institutions in the European legal tech industry. After this short introduction, the first panel discussed the European approach to accelerators and incubators in the legal market. Panelists like Behnam Sadough from Winterberg Partners and Dima Gadosmky from Axon Partners gave their personal views on the current legal tech market in Europe and identified future trends and investment opportunities.
After a short break, the conference continued with a discussion on working with artificial intelligence. While still at its beginnings, artificial intelligence promises to dramatically affect how legal work gets done. More and more big international law firms recognize the potential of AI in the legal industry and start their own pilot programs to test ways of implementing it into their daily business. Probably one of the most famous European start-ups which applies AI in a legal context is Leverton. The Berlin-based company has developed a software which extracts information from contracts and analyzes it, making processes like legal due diligence more efficient and faster.
“People promoting law in a completely new way (for lawyers).” - Niclas Stemplewski
Discussing technology, it all comes down to the simple questions: Why is it relevant? Who does it serve? Two approaches were presented during a panel on Embedding Legal Tech in Legal Advice. First, Dr. Philip Kadelbach explained how the company he founded developed an automated legal process to enforce passenger rights. At first sight, the concept of flightright might sound similar to the traditional factoring. In fact, it serves as a phenomenal example of the capabilities of Legal Tech: The use of technology creates economies of scale in the legal market and, thus, makes enforcement of a standard claim accessible for everybody. Second, Kai Jacob of SAP provided an insight into legal tech from the perspective of an in-house legal department. He systemized the ongoing developments and finished with the hypothesis that it requires standardization, collaboration and a new mindset to embed Legal Tech into legal advice.
“At the ELTA Conference it was great to meet inspiring people and learn about ideas that will shape the future of the legal market in Europe.” - Jakobus Schuster
The first ELTA Conference closed with a “campfire”: 16 speakers from different countries in Europe presented their work and their unique contribution to Europe’s Legal Tech scene. Although many panelists doubted the readiness of their European home countries for the digital future of justice, this closing panel somehow answered the conference’s question (What’s European in Legal Tech?): There is a European approach to Legal Tech which is diverse, evolving and which is as strong in civil law countries as it is in common-law countries.
We now see even more than one angel in the marble - but it will take time and effort until we set them free.
„ELTA-Con offered a unique bird’s eye view on an evolving fundamental change in the legal profession.“ - Thilo Kerkhoff