Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law hosts Wales' first LegalTech Conference

The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law hosted Wales' first LegalTech Conference at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on Wednesday, January 31st. The event highlighted the challenges and opportunities associated with the application of technology in legal service delivery and showcased examples of LegalTech in practice.

2018 Legal Tech Wales  Logo Drawing in over one hundred attendees from across the legal and technology sector, the event secured leading industry experts as guest speakers including Christina Blacklaws, Vice-President of the Law Society of England and Wales and Professor Richard Susskind to deliver a full programme

Christina Blacklaws opened the conference delivering insightful thoughts on the need for innovation in legal services. She suggests that any threats from technology facing the legal sector will likely be offset by the increase in demand for services made possible by improved efficiencies and productivity.

Kerry Beynon, Partner at Acuity Legal, highlighted the risks and challenges that are arising in the LegalTech environment especially in areas such as data management and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). 

Professor Richard Susskind spoke passionately about how clients do not want lawyers, but the outcomes lawyers bring. He highlighted the need for technology to be a force for good in law, particularly from the perspective of “upgrading justice” and supporting access to justice.  Richard also argued that the majority of UK law schools are not yet responding to the LegalTech challenge and that they continue to deliver academic training as they did in the late 70s, with little regard for innovation.

Journalist and Law and Technology Author Joanna Goodman delivered valuable insights into the impact of artificial intelligence on next-generation services and contextualised the skills that future lawyers might need.

She said: "Swansea University is recognised for its strength in law and computer science, so it is well positioned to educate lawyers entering today’s digital and tech-enhanced legal services market. There is clear evidence, in Swansea and elsewhere, that law students are at the forefront of innovation. They are curious; they look for different ways of doing things, and they have an entrepreneurial spirit." 

Dr. Chris Marshall, Director of Knowledge Economy at The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law said: "The LegalTech Wales conference highlighted how the legal profession is being disrupted by the application of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. It was also an opportunity to showcase how Swansea University is working to address the challenges and opportunities facing the profession, with the launch of Swansea’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Law and the announcement of a new Master’s in LegalTech". 

Swansea University aims to pave the pathway for education in LegalTech and recently announced the launch of a new postgraduate taught programme, an LLM in LegalTech. The course will be aimed at Law students and will offer opportunities to work with artificial intelligence systems and to develop LegalTech apps and solutions. Further details on the course can be found here. 

The conference was organised by the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law at Swansea University in association with the Law Society.