The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has today announced the allocation of £2 million in funding to Tech Nation to support the digital transformation of the UK legal sector until March 2022. Tech Nation will be responsible for delivering and building on the work of the Lawtech Delivery Panel, to create a climate to support the development and use of UK legal technology.
UK investment in lawtech increased 3 fold in the past year, rising to £61 million, and it is estimated that the adoption of new technologies in the legal sector could more than double productivity growth from 1.3% per year to 2.7% per year.
Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland QC MP, comments: “This funding will help create the right environment to support the development and use of UK lawtech. It will support wider economic growth and pave the way for a technological revolution in the UK legal sector.
Established in 2018, the Lawtech Delivery Panel is an industry-led, Government-backed initiative bringing together senior and expert voices to identify and address both barriers to and catalysts for the growth of lawtech.
The Panel is made up of industry experts and leaders from government and the judiciary. The membership of the panel is:
- Christina Blacklaws, Consultant and Chair of LawTech Delivery Panel)
- Rt Hon Lord Keen of Elie QC, Justice Minister
- Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court
- Professor Richard Susskind, Author and independent adviser including Technology Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice
- Dr Anna Donovan, University College London
- Rosemary Martin, General Counsel, Vodafone
- Gary Campkin, Managing Director, TheCityUK
- Sonya Branch, General Counsel, Bank of England
Jenifer Swallow, former General Counsel at TransferWise, has been appointed to lead the executive delivery of the Panel. Jenifer will bring her extensive experience of the tech sector to the Panel, having been in senior leadership roles at several UK unicorn tech companies.
Jenifer Swallow said: “The transformational potential of tech is huge. Considering the foundational nature of law and legal services for our businesses and wider society, I am delighted to have the opportunity as director of the lawtech delivery function to help accelerate the evolution of the sector through tech.”
Her remit will include extensive engagement with the legal services and lawtech community, informing and developing the Panel’s programme and working closely with the Panel to coordinate and deliver the strategic objectives of the funding. Tech Nation will also be hiring two full time employees to support Jenifer in her role.
Jenifer added: “The lawtech space is super active right now, with an ‘up and to the right’ trajectory in investment illustrating the market’s growing maturity – $1billion of investment globally last year showing a year on year increase of 714%, M&A activity and some big name investors seeing the opportunity. So the zeitgeist is emerging and the energy is here. The work of the Lawtech Delivery Panel can help accelerate and guide it. ”
Today marks the next phase of development for the Panel as Tech Nation brings its expertise and understanding of the tech sector to support the Panel’s work. The focus will be on developing solutions to some of the most pressing challenges and harnessing the biggest opportunities in lawtech and the UK legal sector.
Tech Nation Chief Executive Gerard Grech said: “English law is the most popular choice of law in the world for commercial contracts and governs about 40% of all global corporate arbitrations, among other aspects. Emerging technologies are transforming the legal sector; investment in UK lawtech has tripled in the last year alone. We are delighted to announce the appointment of Jenifer Swallow, following her leadership roles at Transferwise, Zynga and Yahoo. Jenifer will lead the Lawtech panel at Tech Nation, building on the Law Society’s work to date. We look forward to working with the distinguished panel members, tech entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Justice and the wider ecosystem to grow this sector’.
The Lawtech Panel will join Tech Nation’s suite of sector-specific support initiatives including the Treasury-backed Fintech Delivery Panel and Insurtech Board.
The funding reflects the UK Government’s commitment to galvanising the growth of lawtech in the UK and positioning the UK as a global leader in legal technology. International investment in lawtech saw a 714% increase in 2018, reaching $1.7bn.
Christina Blacklaws, Chair of the Lawtech Deliver Panel, said: “A huge amount of foundational work has already been completed by the Panel, supported by the Law Society. Today’s announcement signifies the critical next step in the future of Panel, with the welcome support of Tech Nation to develop the necessary legislative and regulatory frameworks to ensure that global business uses English and Welsh law and enhances the growth of the lawtech sector, with ethics at its heart. I look forward to working closely with Jenifer and Tech Nation to make a success of this initiative.”