COVID-19 has changed the way we work. With larger shares of the workforce worldwide working from home, several sectors have been forced into the new digital age. Because of that, the pandemic has turned out to be a pivotal moment for legal tech companies worldwide that sees blossoming prospects. We have taken a look at some of the most promising legal tech startups worldwide in the wake of the pandemic.
Legal technology, shortened to legal tech, or sometimes law tech, is a collective term used of technologies and software that provides legal services, or support to legal professionals. The conservative legal industry has been resisting many of the technological innovations other industries has welcomed with open arms, but the recent pandemic is forcing even the most stubborn actors to make wave for the change.
What do I pay for?
One of the main trends in the legal sector has been an increasing awareness of costs among the customers. It’s a common perception that lawyers are incredibly expensive, and often rightfully so. A court case rarely results in new revenue, but are rather securing existing revenue streams and settling any outstanding debt.
The industry has met this differently. An American startup named Rocket Lawyer taken the legal hurdles for fellow startups completely online. Their philosophy is that it should be as easy to order pizza as getting legal help in forming a company. Rocket Lawyer has met the pandemic with new free services for COVID-19 struck businesses, according to CNBC.com
In Europe, a new lawyer comparison service named Advokatguiden is making waves in Norway. Advokatguiden.no was dubbed “the Norwegian TripAdvisor for lawyers” by the journal from The Norwegian Bar Association, members journal. The launch of the site has not passed without controversies. The founder, Erling Løken Andersen, told the journalist from the journal that he “expects to be sued”.
Digital signatures - as hot as vaccines
Digital signatures, like webcams and video conference solutions, have been around for a long time, but service providers in the sector have seen an explosive demand after governments around the world started introducing lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions.
Even before the virus forced businesses online, the digital signature industry was estimated to grow nearly 30% in 2020, according to a Business Insider report from 2019. The industry is expected to be valued staggering 5.5 billion USD as a whole by 2023, according to Business Wire.
One of the hottest players in the field of digital signatures is Docusign Inc. listed at NASDAQ. DocuSign Inc. is the clear market leader in the field, and the stock price has grown nearly 50% since the new year. DocuSign Inc. has a market share of 60% according to data from DataNyze.com
Contracts in the cloud
And with online signatures, it’s nice to quickly be able to put together the contract in question. Several startups are targeting contract law specifically. Two of the most interesting players in this field is a Hong Kong-based law tech company named Zegal, and a UK based startup named Juro. Both are chasing the same dream; owning the contract law market which alone is a multi-billion dollar market worldwide.
If either manages to be the first with a successful AI that can churn out custom made contracts, without any chance of human errors, it will be a front-page worthy achievement that will be crowned with a significant number of zeros on the founders and the early investors’ bank accounts.
A bright future for legal tech
The future for legal tech is a bright one. COVID-19 isn’t changing anything fundamentally, but rather speeding up the digital transition that was on its verge. And it’s here to stay. With legal tech, businesses are expected to reduce their legal costs and increase productivity alike. By reusing templates and frameworks, automating tasks, and increasing volume by making legal services more accessible and affordable, the change is expected to be win-win for both clients and aspiring lawyers alike.
Just like so many other industries before them, the legal sector is now met with the same brutal ultimatum; adapt or die. We don’t need to wait for history to tell us who will go out victorious. Law firms not keeping up with the age of technology will be on the losing end.