At the intersection of law and tech: the results of the Skolkovo LegalTech. Black Edition 2019
On November 29, the Skolkovo Innovation Center hosted the 3rd International Conference Skolkovo LegalTech. Black Edition 2019. The event brought together leading LegalTech international and Russian analysts from top consultancy services. They discussed the steps to be taken by professionals and businesses that enable them to be prepared for the revolution of innovations in the legal sphere. This program should also empower them to get maximum benefits from introducing technologies into the daily work of lawyers.
The chairman of the board of directors of the Skolkovo Foundation Igor Drozdov and the president of the Skolkovo Foundation Andrey Krichevsky addressed participants with welcoming speeches. Igor Drozdov said that introducing innovative tech will radically change the structure of the legal society and its approaches to business management.
“Everyone has a different understanding of LegalTech solutions. Historically, we mean by this term the technological solutions that make the lives of lawyers easier. But today we would like to discuss if technologies are going to change the legal profession or if we’re just talking about a helpful tool. We will have enough time to discuss if the skills of lawyers have changed, or if we’re discussing the change of their working style,” Drozdov said.
Krichevsky says that to achieve a competitive advantage and to be on equal terms with entrepreneurs and innovators, lawyers have to become full-fledged business partners: “Lawyers are a special caste of people, they are chosen people, I mean this in a good sense. No matter who speaks about the advent of the digital era and the end of lawyers, we should not forget about the basics – we should be realize what is shaping the thinking of lawyers, the so-called Legal Thinking. From my perspective, this is a key to the survival of lawyers in our digital age. Today we are going to talk about the skills of lawyers that they developed due to their education and specific approach, and the skills they need to have to strengthen their role in the new world.
The conference opened with Forbes plenary session “Legal&Business: how legal practices and technologies develop business.” The session was attended by Mikhail Galperin, deputy minister of justice of the Russian Federation and Commissioner of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights, Igor Drozdov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Skolkovo Foundation, and Andrey Krichevsky, President of the IPChain Association, executive director of the Non-Commercial Partnership “Promotion of Corporate Legislation” Elena Avakyan, executive vice president for legal affairs and corporate relations at VimpelKom Pavel Klimov and senior LegalTech manager in AI group at MTS company Sergey Abramov. The plenary session was moderated by Nikolai Uskov, editor in chief of Forbes. Experts discussed Russian and global trends in innovative legal practices.
Ari Kaplan, an attorney and legal industry analyst, an inaugural Fastcase 50 honoree, a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, a finalist of ILTA’s Thought Leader of the Year, delivered a talk at the conference. At the lecture “The legal department as a competitive advantage: expectations of in-house lawyers from partners of law firms” the expert shared his professional experiences with top global consulting firms, suggesting practices for the modern lawyer to help adapt to the challenges of the time.
The attorney stressed that the companies need to improve tracking practice for performance evaluation and pay more attention to technology portfolio audits and data protection. In line with the data provided by Kaplan, in 2017 only 26% companies were interested in tech competencies of outsource consultants. In 2019 this number grew up significantly: 49% of the companies today conduct audits. As a result, 69% of the companies have changed their approaches to work thanks to the new demands to data protection.
Deloitte Legal experts conducted an expert session on “How and why we should launch LegalTech.” The session was attended by Thomas Northoff, Managing Partner Deloitte Legal, Anna Kostyra, Managing Partner Legal in the CIS countries, Dmitry Bespalov, Deloitte’s Director of Digital Products, and Sergey Yemelchenkov, a member of the Management Board and Deputy Director-General for Information Technologies and Development of Digital Services at the Post of Russia.
Anna Kostyra, Managing Partner Deloitte Legal in the CIS countries, added that lawyers should not be worried that eventually they would be replaced by computer software as LegalTech solutions imply freeing up intellectual resources for solving complex problems, not replace a lawyer with AI. She said that it would be difficult to sell products that you do not supervise things yourself in your own company, therefore, all solutions should be first implemented in Deloitte, CIS.
“Russia is a big country, therefore we have to collaborate with the company’s branches and subsidiaries; all exist independently, there is no unified information database. It becomes a serious obstacle to the implementation of LegalTech. From my perspective, this is the biggest problem of the industry,” says Anna Kostyra.
The leading consultants of LegalTech communities in Europe and Asia delivered their talks for their Russian colleagues. At the session “FLIP: New Law Business Model Approach” the Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) Paul Nio explained how innovations are implemented in the business processes of the companies, speaking of the ways to modernize the market of legal services. The expert believes that an ecosystem approach is a must for implementing innovations in the field of law.
Along with this, we have to hire not only practicing lawyers, but all other professionals employed in this segment of the market: spokespersons of government agencies, students, in-house lawyers, assistants, and so on. “For this purpose, we founded the Singapore Law Academy, however, we have some global projects. Russian players – the IPChain Association and The Skolkovo Foundation – have already joined FLIP. Recently they partnered with our new initiative, a platform for the international professional community ALITA, The Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association,” Nio said.
Tobias Heining, president of European LegalTech Association (ELTA) and director of Business Development & Communications, CMS Hasche Sigle, shared with the public experience of regional European legal tech communities. From Heining’s perspective, the main obstacle to the development of the LegalTech market was the lack of understanding why lawyers need technologies and how they should be implementing them: “The fear before the change, absence of competition, lack of information and regulatory barriers become the main factors. We should not forget about such problems as the lack of resources – budgets, specialists, and technologies. However, the transformation was unavoidable: innovations improve efficiency and competitiveness, open up new opportunities for development and entire segments of the market, give equal access to justice for all. These are all strong drivers, and the growth of LegalTech markets will continue.”
The Paragraph magazine founder and CEO Olga Demidova shared the results of collaborative research, conducted by The Paragraph and Skolkovo LegalTech on essential skills every team leader should have. “We studied the skills of in-house lawyers, conducting a survey on leadership skills that heads of legal department consider essential.
Average managers can be sure that they think in business categories, take responsibility, risks, and effectively organize their work and set clear goals for the team. There was another question, concerning essential skills in demand for businesses. The most popular answer is a skill to produce a quick result in the face of limited resources,” says Demidova.
At the session Legal Stories spokespersons of the best legal tech startups mentioned the difficulties they had to face since the launch, explaining how they developed their products and which results they achieved. CEO of Legal Technologies Development at the Skolkovo Foundation Anton Pronin, moderator of the discussion, said that the global statistics looked sad: over 90 percent of startups failed after two years. The Skolkovo Foundation improves the survival rate of startups, and each startup passes through the way worthy of respect The LegalTech industry shows steady growth across the globe and in Russia as well.” The Skolkovo residents and the winners of LegalTech awards shared their cases. Featured speakers included the founder of the PLATFORMA service, attorney Irina Tsvetkova, the CEO of Online Patent Alina Akinshina, the founder and managing partner of Legium Ivan Khaustov and the commercial director of European Legal Service Andrey Khoroshilov. “It’s a bit funny: we developed digital products, and later we found out that it was called LegalTech, and we learnt more about this product. Our success helped feed the hype, people started reaching out to us – we received different projects and professionals, some of whom we have lured away from other projects. We keep growing as a startup, and no tas a linear business,” Khoroshilov says.
The eventful business program featured an array of workshops. Garant company, a developer of the reference legal system, hosted a workshop titled “Creating a legal information database and other LegalTech solutions.” At the workshop “Accelerating time: the right of the future at your service” Deloitte company showed how to optimize routine tasks, using advanced systems of legal work automation.
The session was followed by signing an agreement which made n’RIs service for depositing and IP protection one of the founding members of the Online Patent digital platform for patent and trademark management. As part of the deal, the investors of the project made a partial withdrawal, including RVM Capital, Softline Venture Partners, Starta Capital, Moscow Seed Fund, Mikhail Shtepan and Nikolay Belykh. The majority control of LLC Online Patent was acquired by one of the shareholders of n’RIS and will soon transferred to the balance sheet of the service.
This year, Novy Vek Bank and Deloitte CIS became golden partners of the Skolkovo LegalTech. Black Edition while European Legal Service received the silver status level. Aston Martin became the car partner of the conference held under the aegis of the IPChain Association and the Intellectual Property Federation. n’RIS digital service partnered with the exhibition program. The Skolkovo Foundation, the traditional organizer of the event, this year for the first time collaborated with the communication brand IPQuorum and Forbes Russia.