International law firm Dentons has launched NextLaw Labs, “a global collaborative innovation platform” to develop and invest in new technologies and “transform the practice of law around the world”.
Dentons will be the accelerator’s lead supporter and investor, serving as “the global testing ground for new products, services and other ideas to be vetted, piloted and scaled”.
Dan Jansen, chief executive of NextLaw Labs, said: “Ideas and inspiration can come from any source, but only one accelerator can draw from the world’s largest law firm to help source and refine product ideas, while our partnerships with leading start-ups, thought leaders and other technology providers will help bring them to life.
“Finding new technologies to reinvent the legal profession and reshape how business is conducted is what NextLaw Labs is all about.
“We are looking for start-ups, entrepreneurs, VC’s, established vendors – anyone who wants to join our innovation ecosystem and work together to build and bring to market new products and services, whether through direct investments in existing companies or by building our own suite of services within NextLaw Labs.”
Mr Jansen’s previous roles include leading the global media practice for the Boston Consulting Group and advising start-ups with Arthur Young & Company.
Joe Andrew, global chairman of Dentons, added: “The market has talked about Big Law and New Law, but we want to be Next Law.
“We don’t just want to be the world’s largest law firm, we want to transform the legal profession, drive innovation in legal services and bring clients what they want with better quality, more responsiveness and greater value.”
Professor William Henderson, based at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, is one of a number of academics and general counsel on the advisory board of NextLaw Labs.
“NextLaw Labs has an ingenious design and structure that gives legal entrepreneurs and Dentons’ lawyers the running room needed to get ahead of this curve,” the professor said.
“NextLaw Labs could be the place to go to see the future of law.”
Professor Daniel Martin Katz of IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law – who co-created the well-known Reinvent Law movement while at Michigan State University – is also on the advisory board.
He said: “This is an exciting development for the legal industry as it will help Dentons leverage current and future cycles of legal innovation and integrate into them into the workflow of the world’s largest law firm, and others. Everyone in the legal industry should take notice.”