Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update. Take a look at this week’s key trends, moves and developments in the UK legal sector.
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1). Investment into Legal Tech triples in 2018, reveals report
Investment into UK legal tech start-ups rose to £61m in 2018, a considerable increase from £22m the previous year, according to a Thomson Reuters report released this week.
The increase in investment is all the more drastic when investment trends are considered over the past five years, with only £1.5m invested into legal tech companies in 2014. Moreover, the cash influx shows no signs of abating, with 2019’s investment already standing at £62m.
‘The legal market is accelerating its adoption. You don’t see the same valuations in the US as you do in the UK. It feels the UK is slightly ahead in its adoption of technology’ explained Thomson Reuters vice president of customer markets Jim Leason.
This year’s figure is bolstered by leading companies increasingly landing hefty funding rounds. Machine-learning company Tessian, which looks to protect firms from data breaches, raised £33.5m in early 2019 following its expansion into the US. Elsewhere, AI company Luminance raised a further £8m this year, with Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May among those who contributed to the funding.
The Thomson Reuters report also details how Big Law’s increasing tendency to set up technology incubators is fuelling investment, with alumni of such programmes among the most successful companies in the market. The industry’s more prominent incubators are A&O’s Fuse; Mishcon de Reya’s MDR LABS; Slaughter and May’s Collaborate; Dentons’ NextLaw Lab and Barclays’ Eagle Labs.
The report, created in collaboration with legal technology community Legal Geek, can be found in full here.
2). Movers & Shakers
Barclays’ head of litigation, investigations and regulatory enforcement for Europe and the Middle East (EME) Tracey Dovaston is to join the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner as a partner in January 2020 to build the firm’s regulatory, investigations and litigation practice.
Tax partner Mavnick Nerwal is the latest to join the US firm
Catherine Bamford, CEO of BamLegal, a consultancy that provides automation services to the legal sector, is to join Deloitte Legal. This follows the hire of Bruce Braude as chief technology officer from BCLP and Laura Bygrave as innovation head from Taylor Wessing
The listed firm has hired BDO partner Andrew Jacobs and Grant Thornton associate director Darren Fisher to lead the new business, DWF Regulatory Consulting
Daniel Abercromby is Weil’s first Hong Kong partner hire in four years
The Magic Circle firm’s U.S. leveraged finance group co-heads – partners Alan Rockwell and Michael Chernick – have left to join Sherman.
Private equity partner Weyinmi Popo is set to join Akin Gump’s London base next month
Mergers & Alliances
Office Openings & Closings
Inclusion & Diversity
Technology and Innovation