As 2015 comes to a close, we recap the trends of this year and look forward to 2016. Zach Abramowitz, from Above The Law, throws his hat in the ring with his top trends to watch. Here at Helm360, we are excited to see Artificial Intelligence and Analytics topping his list! We are confident this trend will continue as an increasing number of firms are seeing the value in business intelligence, especially of the on-demand type.
As 2015 comes to a close, it’s only natural to peek ahead to see what’s in store for 2016. As a whole, legal technology is still just a baby of an industry which pales in comparison to the technology revolution going on in the financial industry. It remains an open question of whether legal-tech startups will be attractive targets for early-stage venture capital companies. Getting money for a startup can be a difficult task, but keeping on top of business financials is a huge must for any startup to survive, that is why they may want to try this as a potential avenue to keep going in this business. 2015 began to show some serious promise with some of the biggest Silicon Valley VCs placing bets on legal tech. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, or if you’re thinking about joining or starting a startup, it’s important to start identifying trends. Whilst you can find more general business trends via the RCIA Resources blog, here are four trends more tailored to legal tech businesses that I think are going to be hot in 2016.
- Artificial intelligence. I’ve not hidden my enthusiasm for companies like Kira Systems and Lawgeex, and I’ve identified both as “companies to watch.” Both Kira Systems and Lawgeex are examples of growing companies that are using artificial intelligence to help make the lives of lawyers better by improving due diligence and contract review respectively. If artificial intelligence can improve these two processes, what’s to say that it can’t improve others?
- Analytics. Although the fact that numbers were not disclosed in Lexis Nexis’ purchase of legal analytics company Lex Machina, the acquisition itself is significant. Will Lex Machina be able to scale its business with the backing of Lexis Nexis and will analytics be a tool that every firm begins to use in order to get a leg up? But that’s not the only reason the acquisition is meaningful. In 2016, every CEO trying to build an analytics startup will point to the Lex Machina acquisition as evidence of potential acquirers.
- Legal marketplaces. At the moment, the most noteworthy company has to be UpCounsel, but two big questions face legal marketplaces: (a) whether they can prevent lawyers and clients from working around their system and making side deals and (b) whether or not the frequency of use will provide enough volume to make these marketplaces profitable. But if UpCounsel is able to create a market that can effectively connect lawyers with clients, then the opportunity could be massive. I find it hard to believe that UpCounsel can build a protective moat making it the only game in town, but they definitely have first mover’s advantage. I’m betting we see other legal marketplaces popping up in 2016.
- Non-lawyers starting legal startups and lawyers starting non-legal startups. I may be biased here, but I speak with many lawyers who are working on interesting apps and/or companies that are not in the legal space. Anna Santeramo is a former biglaw attorney who started Stylebee, a beauty on demand service that was backed by Y Combinator. On the other hand, Eliam Medina (co-founder of Willing) has no experience in law.
Those are trends I’m watching, but I’m sure there are others. Let me know what I missed in the comments sections or shoot me a tweet or an email.
To read the article in Above The Law, Click Here. Zach Abramowitz is a former Biglaw associate and currently CEO and co-founder of ReplyAll.
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