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Legal tech investment explosion having an impact

An increased need for technology in-house combined with increased technology capabilities is driving an explosion in legal tech investment, according to Google’s head of legal operations.

user iconGrace Ormsby 09 April 2019 Corporate Counsel
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Speaking recently at the Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Summit, Mary O’Carroll highlighted that “a recent study by BCG estimates that legal tech solutions could perform as much as 30-50 per cent of what junior lawyers are doing today”.

She showed that legal tech start-ups received “$1.5 billion in funding across 610 deals from 2010 through mid-2017”.

For 2018 alone, this figure jumped to more than $1 billion dollars of legal tech investment, distributed over just 40 deals.


Over the last five years, there has also been a 484 per cent increase in the number of patents filed that cover legal technology globally, Ms O’Carroll said.

More than one-third of all legal tech investment for 2018 involved artificial intelligence utilisation, with the legal operations expert noting that “this AI-focused funding alone in 2018 represents a bigger sum than the investment across all legal technology in 2017”.

For Ms O’Carroll, the impact of legal technology can be separated into three categories, with more disaggregation, more collaboration, and more data all able to highlight its effects.

‘More disaggregation’ is occurring as tech targets increasingly complex work and can break it down to standardised tasks that are able to be automated or outsourced easily, she said.

‘More collaboration’ is possible through technological advancements which enable work to be more easily shared through collaboration tools, Ms O’Carroll continued, while ‘more data’ improves a team’s ability to “screen, analyse and interpret unprecedented volumes of data” while alleviating transparency concerns.

Lawyers Weekly has previously reported on Mary O’Carroll’s perception of the legal profession’s resistance towards disruption and change

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