Annual Innovation Conference: From ABS to AI

Legal Futures has led the way in examining how the legal market is evolving, and our annual innovation conference this year will again bring a critical eye to current and future trends, with a focus on what it means for you and your business.

09.00 Registration


09.25 Welcome

Neil Rose – Editor, Legal Futures


09.30-10.30 Is ABS delivering?

More than three years into the ABS era, and some 500 licences later, have ABSs been a revolution? A selection of the more eye-catching firms outline what they have been able to achieve as a result.

Speakers include:

  • Viv Du-Feu – Head of Legal Services, British Medical Association
  • David Simon – Chairman, Triton Global
  • Steve Brooker – Head of Research and Development, Legal Services Board – presenting the findings of the board’s research on innovation in legal services
  • Caroline Wallace – Strategy Director, Legal Services Board
  • Chris Newton – Managing Director, Newtons Solicitors

10.30-11.20 Making legal services more accessible

Research highlights how much unmet legal need there is among both consumers and SMEs. Investment in law firms, new ways of delivering services and an increasing focus on digital tools are at the heart of the potential responses. This session will hear from three very different perspectives on the issue.

Speakers include:

  • Colum Smith – CEO, McMillan Williams – a firm that has taken private equity investment to boost its high street network
  • Professor Roger Smith – running a project on the digital delivery of legal services to people on low incomes
  • Glenda Terry – Practice Manager, Castle Park Solicitors

11.20-11.40 Sponsor presentations


11.40-12:10 Networking break


12.10-13.00 Standing out from the crowd

These legal businesses are making the best of the liberalised environment to open up new opportunities and showing that it is not just about newcomers entering the legal market. Whether by creating non-legal businesses, creating multi-disciplinary practices or demonstrating a commitment to something more than just maximising income, these firms are standing out in an ever-more crowded market.

Speakers include:

  • John Banister – CEO, Wiggin
  • Martin Bunch – Managing Partner, Bates Wells & Braithwaite
  • Andrew Bloom – Partner and Head of Legal Services, Kingston Smith
  • More speakers to be confirmed


13.00-14.00 Lunch


14.00-14.45 What is IBM Watson and what does it mean for the law?

There is much talk about IBM’s ‘cognitive’ computer Watson, which understands natural language and, rather than being programmed, learns. Watson is built to mirror the same learning process that we have through the same cognitive framework that humans use to inform their decisions: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide. In this session, delegates will hear more about what Watson is and how it can be applied to the law.


  • Kyla Moran – Senior Consultant, Watson Industry Leadership


14.45-15.45 P45 time? What emerging technologies such as AI mean for you

Is AI still science fiction for most law firms? When, if ever, will it start to affect you? And what about the other exciting technologies coming your way? An expert panel will debate where technology is taking the legal profession.

Speakers include:

  • Matthew Whalley – Head of Legal Risk Consultancy, Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Tony Williams – Principal, Jomati – which published a report predicting that AI will dominate the legal profession within 15 years
  • Nigel Rea – Director of Precedents, Drafting and Forms, LexisNexis
  • Graham Ross – Head of European Advisory Board,; Member, Civil Justice Council Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group


15.45-16.05 Networking break


16.05-16.45 Meet ROSS – the world’s first AI lawyer

Marketed as “your brand new superintelligent attorney”, ROSS is a digital legal expert that helps users power through legal research. Built on top of IBM Watson, you can ask it questions in plain English and then ROSS reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources.

Speaker (by video link):

  • Andrew Arruda – CEO and Co-Founder, ROSS Intelligence


16.45 Close