Written by Valentyn Pivovarov
The legal tech industry says that growth is not only the growth in the number of products, but also the number of customers which grows proportionately with the trend to introduce innovations among lawyers.
One of the examples – a chatbot that helps to register trademarks in Facebook Messenger. It works in 30 countries and over 9 months of activity was estimated at $750,000 before the start of work in the countries of the European Union.
Of course, not all legal tech products become successful. The secret of success is different for everyone, but there are general rules that should be adhered to. One of the most important is also the choice of the right niche.
In 2018-2019, according to my estimates from analyzing demand, there will be the following trends in legal tech:
1: Voice assistants. In 2017, 30 million voice assistants were sold in the US, and demand for them is gaining momentum every day. One of the most popular is Alexa’s “clever” column from Amazon. Official statistics confirm that the number of orders “by voice” on Amazon has grown by 20-30% on average. According to research from the American analytical company ComScore, it is expected that by 2020, 50% of general search queries will be vocal.
2: Projects at the junction of jurisprudence and blockchain. In the jurisprudence of blockchain technology, there are several possible applications, one of which is smart contracts. The British edition of The Economist called them “the most progressive technology implemented on the blockchain, which will gain momentum”.
Several projects that implement blockchain in the justice system appeared in February 2018 in the framework of the Global Legal Hackathon, which was attended by members of more than 30 countries from around the world. One example is a project created by a team from USA. These are smart contracts for the correct understanding and use of incoterms when buying or selling across international borders, which helps to more accurately assess costs and risks.
3: Online dispute resolution. In May in the US, a conference, organized by Codex – The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, was held about the future of the law. The President of the American Bar Association, Hilarie Bass, asked a rhetorical question: “Why should we go to court for a resolution of small claims for three minutes in order for the judge to postpone the trial for another 6 weeks?” Everything will move towards ODR (online dispute resolution).
4: RegTech. The industry began to develop in 2007, when the US was hit by the financial crisis. Many people blamed the problems of regulators, which poorly controlled the banks. Now it is rapidly developing because regulation affects a huge number of different industries, and technology helps to solve the problems. According to IBM estimates, regulators are now producing at least 20,000 new requirements per year, and a full set of rules and regulations will exceed 300 million pages by 2020. Also, according to Reuters, turnover of the RegTech will be $120 billion by 2020.
5: Code = Law. At Stanford Law School, students study programming. Hundreds of law students receive basic skills in HTML, Ruby and CSS. Of course, this gives them advantages over lawyers who simply memorize the Tax Code. Who do you think is more likely to create a successful legal tech startup in the future?
These are the niches whose products will have great potential and chances for development all around the world. Market demand is confirmed even by the criteria of inquiries not only from consumers but by requests from investors.
For example, the Belarusian service, which allows you to create and download new skills for “smart” speaker Amazon Alexa, took part in the American accelerator Y.Combinator this year and attracted $120,000 investment. One of the reasons is that the product meets demand, helping it to develop to even greater proportions.
Valentin Pivovarov is Co – Founder PatentBot