Legal Futures round-up

By Yves Faguy September 26, 201826 September 2018

Legal Futures round-up


Raising capital is the main storyline in this latest round-up.

Earlier this month, Toronto-based Kira Systems raised CAD 65 millionD ($50 million US) granting a minority stake to New York City-based Insight Venture Partners. Kira Systems uses AI-powered technology to review and analyze large volumes of contracts. Noting that the company mushroomed from 35 to 115 employees since January 2017, CEO and co-founder Noah Waisberg told Betakit that the company’s “hope is to continue to grow quickly and we’d like to do so more gracefully.”

Not to be outdone, Francisco-based Atrium, a tech company that delivers legal services, has raised $65 million US. Atrium is a full-service corporate law firm that relies on technology to build automated legal tools, while lawyers focus on higher-end work. Atrium’s founder Justin Kan also announced that his company was acquiring Tetra, which uses artificial intelligence to take automatic notes on phone calls.

Rocket Lawyer is partnering with ConsenSys, the world’s leading Ethereum blockchain technology company, and its startup, OpenLaw, to launch Rocket Wallet, a secure legal contract payments tool.

Meanwhile, consumer legal platform LegalZoom is partnering with Clause, a New York-based provider of smart legal contracting technology, to offer smart contract services to the general public and small businesses. In case you missed it, LegalZoom announced in July $500 million US Investment, which put the company at a $2-billion valuation.

Clyde & Co has announced it will be providing legal services to a new consortium of banks, traders and energy companies that will digitalize trading processes for commodities using a blockchain-based platform, again developed in partnership with ConsenSys. The new Switzerland-based partnership, named Komgo SA, is between ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Citi, Crédit Agricole Group, Gunvor, ING, Koch Supply & Trading, Macquarie, Mercuria, MUFG Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, Shell, SGS and Société Générale.

The folks at vLex are launching Vincent, billed as an AI-powered intelligent legal research assistant that can analyze documents in two languages (English and Spanish) from 9 countries, including the United States, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. It can incorporate search results from its own collection, but also from the user company’s resources.

Turning to the regulatory environment, a Saskatchewan government task force, a joint effort between the province’s Ministry of Justice and law society, is recommending that non-lawyers be permitted to provide legal information. It also wants to loosen restrictions that paralegals and legal assistants face.

According to the 2018 Thompson Reuters Corporate Legal Department Efficiency Report  cyber security and compliance rank at the top of corporate counsel’s concerns, in part due to this year’s May deadline to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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