Legal Tech Link Newsletter (Summer 2017): MDR LAB’s Nick West, Tech Tools for the Labor & Employment Lawyer & Some Perspective from the Recent CLOC Institute

Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Automated Contracts, Data Analytics, Law Firms, Leadership, Legal Innovation, Legal Tech Link, Thomson Reuters

The Summer edition of Legal Tech Link, our quarterly update on all things legal tech, is now available online.

In our top story, we speak to Nick West, the Chief Strategy Officer and Director at MDR LAB, part of UK law firm Mishcon de Reya.

West was brought on as Chief Strategy Officer by Mishcon de Reya Managing Director Kevin Gold and given a primary goal: The firm wanted to be technologically transformed by 2025, and West was to get that job done. “We’re doing this for culture change purposes,” West tells us. “If we want to be technologically transformed, as our 10-year vision says, it has to begin with a lot more people around here believing that technology has a significant role to play in client services.”

West notes that legal tech start-ups “are not waiting around for the industry — they’re trying to disrupt the market.” To that end, the firm created London-based MDR LAB to bring the technology component to legal tech start-ups that the firm identified as “emerging, but barely available commercially, but which will be ready in the next year or two” as well as early-stage ideas that involve academics working on things that are currently in research that might end up in production in five years’ time.


MDR LAB’s Nick West

The firm takes an equity stake in those companies it selects and assigns them a partner and an associate who are the company’s Mishcon mentors, West describes. “And the Mishcon mentors’ job is to try to make sure that they are helping the start-ups achieve the goals that we’ve all agreed on at the beginning.”

Download Legal Tech Link (Summer 2017) Here!

Legal Tech in Practice

The Summer issue also showcases a new feature, Legal Tech in Practice, which in this issue focuses on Tech Tools for the Labor & Employment Lawyer.

Author Kate Bally, Director of Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s Labor & Employment Service, and a former labor & employment lawyer with Littler Mendelson and Day Pitney, interviews a panel of experts to determine how best to approach legal tech tools and their integration into the daily practice of law, especially when considering the needs of different practices. “The securities lawyer has needs distinct from the family lawyer; the criminal defense lawyer has needs distinct from the intellectual property lawyer,” Bally writes. “Understanding how legal tech works in practice requires going to the source.”

Her panel discusses the impact and uses of artificial intelligence, automated contracts, blockchain technology and data analytics in the labor & employment practice.

Also in this Issue:

  •                   Legal tech startup focus: This has been a busy year in the legal start-up community, in a spirit of community and cooperation we’ve seen a number of prominent examples of legal tech start-ups banding together under various forms.
  •                   Readings: Practice Engineering for 21st Century Legal Services, a new white paper by Neota Logic’s Michael Mills and published by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute, addresses the need for a legal practice engineer and The New Legal Career, by Mark Cohen of Legal Mosaic, discusses how the career paths and prospects for young lawyers are markedly different than recent generations.
  •                   Legal Tech Events Reports: We offer some perspective from the recent Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s (CLOC’s) annual CLOC Institute: Law firms should worry less about legal tech start-ups and the latest, flashy technology and perhaps look at out their own clients and their legal operation teams as the real disruptors in the industry.
  •                   Legal tech events calendar: Upcoming events include ILTACON in Las Vegas (Aug. 13-17); the 2017 Emerging Legal Technology Forum in Toronto (Sept. 21); and The Future of Law Schools: Envisioning a More Collaborative Education Model, in Washington, D.C. (Nov. 2).