Innovations in the UK’s Legal Industry: Key Firms Reaping the Benefits of Legal Tech

Business Insights

The United Kingdom’s legal industry is enjoying the benefits of tech innovations that help firms boost their services and competitive advantage. According to a Solicitors Regulation Authority survey, 37% of law firms in the UK currently use legal technology, including artificial intelligence, interactive websites, and automated documents. The same survey found that some of the critical reasons why firms use new technology include improving service quality and efficiency and allowing their staff to work more flexibly on other important tasks. 

From using AI to draft or summarise legal documents to utilising tools that generate litigation strategies, legal firms are now reaping the benefits of legal tech. Below, we look at a few of these innovations in the UK’s legal industry.

Digitalisation of the UK’s legal sector 

This digitalisation shift can be traced back to 2019 when the UK’s Ministry of Justice and a panel of legal and technology experts created LawTechUK, an initiative that aims to transform the legal industry through technology. This has propelled programmes that help modernise the legal sector by improving its use of technology to boost the industry’s efficiency. Last year, LawTechUK received government funding worth £3 million to boost innovative tech in legal services. The continued support by the UK government in promoting the legal services market has encouraged many key firms to harness legal technology to their advantage. Here are some law firms that use legal tech as part of their daily operations:

Key UK firms that use legal technology

Slaughter and May

Leading firm Slaughter and May is among the many law firms that are currently leveraging legal technology to aid and streamline their services. The firm has adopted Definely’s AI-powered contract drafting services to help their lawyers do final contract checks. This ensures greater accuracy before the distribution or execution of contracts. Through natural language processing, the tech tool can perform automated proofreading checks quickly, ensuring that contracts are clean and watertight. Using this service allows the firm to significantly reduce errors that may be overlooked by manual proofreading and save time on manually checking or reviewing contracts.

Battens Solicitors

Meanwhile, the law firm Battens Solicitors has also been a long-time adopter of digital technology. In particular, the firm uses electronic document bundling software from Zylpha, a known innovator of legal systems. This software allows Battens Solicitors to electronically prepare, paginate, and distribute legal documents with greater convenience. With automation, the firm can better manage and organise the sheer number of documents that their staff receives daily, including commercial and residential property sales, through the tech tool’s legal document bundling technology. This has allowed the firm to save time preparing and maintaining document bundles, enabling their workers to focus on more immediate tasks such as responding to client needs and inquiries. 

Baker McKenzie 

International law firm Baker McKenzie also uses an upgraded, AI-powered version of Microsoft’s 365 Solution for Legal, which leverages file encryption technology to protect important data found in legal documents. Using Microsoft’s AI tool Copilot, Baker McKenzie is taking advantage of automated tasks such as summarising and formatting official documents. Since writing legal documents is a cornerstone of any legal practice, the firm can also leverage the conversational chat tool for drafting and rewriting content and adjusting paragraph tone to ensure the precision and accuracy of contracts. Additionally, Microsoft 365 helps the firm access a wide range of legal information and resources through the tool's database, including laws, statutes, and regulations, which play a crucial role in helping lawyers prepare for a particular case.

Allen & Overy

Leading international law firm Allen & Overy announced the integration of Harvey AI into its services last year. The legal firm has used Harvey AI’s natural language processing and machine learning capabilities to access legal content and develop litigation strategies or counterarguments that help the firm’s lawyers prepare for a case hearing. Since Allen & Overy deals with numerous clients daily, adopting the said tech tool has enabled the firm to enjoy the automated aspects of legal work, such as insight generation and expansive access to legal information, which can help deliver faster solutions for their clients. 

Law firms have adopted legal technology in an ever-changing digital world to gain a competitive edge and boost their services. With more legal firms using innovative tools to streamline tasks, the shift to digitalisation has become more evident than ever.