What We Learned: Legal Geek session

Jenifer Swallow, October 23, 2020 3 min read

Legal Sharing Economy, enter stage left

Platform Domination or a Legal Sharing Economy?  We explored these two future states at a scenario planning workshop with the Legal Geek community this year, in what was a fun and insightful session.


  • 76% see a legal sharing economy as beneficial for customers. 
  • 54% see the in-house community and tech companies as the biggest drivers for digital transformation of the legal sector. 
  • 93% know of steps that they can personally take to drive change in the legal sector.


The goal of the workshop was to challenge our collective thinking – to look at some possible scenarios in the future and work back to what that would mean today.  What would have to be true for a certain reality or outcome, good or bad, to be realised?  What action would be needed, individually or collectively to achieve or avoid it?

Future states

In the Platform Domination future scenario we presented, a few large businesses dominate the legal services market, controlling access to data and knowledge and applying competing standards.  In the scenario we termed the Legal Sharing Economy, the sector is widely sharing both data and knowledge, collaboration has enabled interoperability of products and services and there are many new entrants in the market.  Both visuals as illustrated by the brilliant Alexandra Lennox, our Head of LawtechUK. 

Serving customer need

The Legal Geek community wasted no time in concluding Platform Domination represented the current trajectory of the legal sector and identifying this had significant downsides for customers, particularly businesses.  The Legal Sharing Economy was considered to best serve customer need, with a 76% vote. 

Driving change

Across the workshop break out rooms, groups turned their focus to how the legal sector could achieve the Legal Sharing Economy (and avoid Platform Domination), questioning:

  • who asserts the shared standards needed, including for sharing legal data
  • whether this can be achieved without regulation or action from ‘someone on high’
  • the role of the regulator and the constraints of their remit
  • where the commercial interests lie, to harness market forces
  • when business people will demand change e.g. standard documents all lawyers use
  • how to stop competitive advantage (‘ego’) getting in the way of transparency and collaboration
  • how collaboration can happen between legal businesses if it is not yet incentivised within legal businesses 
  • how to bring alignment between IT teams and legal teams
  • how to make it easy for potential buyers to evaluate tech solutions e.g. a legal confused.com.

54% of our session participants saw the in-house community and tech companies as the biggest drivers for digital transformation of the legal sector.  21% felt we each play an equal part.   


Some workshop groups started to touch on the competencies required for the Legal Sharing Economy. Working with data was seen as the number one development priority for legal practitioners.  


We were keen to understand how personally empowered the Legal Geek community felt in effecting legal sector transformation overall. 68% of our participants felt fully clear how they could personally drive change and a further 25% knew of steps they could take.  

So what next? 

The need for change in the legal sector is widely recognised. The Legal Sharing Economy is a future state we can all work towards, for the benefit of society and the economy.  

At LawtechUK we are taking steps towards this in our year one work programme, working with many across the sector:

  • Providing a lawtech R&D environment around which the sector can collaborate, with government and regulator backing.
  • Working to enable legal data sharing across public and private parties, to increase transparency and fuel developments in technology.
  • Exploring how technology can be harnessed to simplify dispute resolution for small businesses.
  • Establishing a hub environment for lawtech information, training and toolkits across the sector. 
Lawtech panel, Lawtech ,