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Five businesses chosen for ‘lawtech sandbox’ pilot

Swallow: Targeted support

Five lawtech businesses are to join a ‘sandbox’ designed to “fast-track transformative ideas, products and services” with the help of legal and financial regulators.

The lawtech sandbox pilot, which will run for three months from this month, are Amplified Global, Clause, ClauseMatch, Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab and Legal Utopia.

LawtechUK, a government-backed initiative delivered through a collaboration between growth platform Tech Nation, the Lawtech Delivery Panel and the Ministry of Justice, said the pilot would give the firms access to a “fast-response forum” of regulators for advice and support.

The forum is made up of six legal regulators, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board, alongside the Law Society of Scotland and Law Society of Northern Ireland and the Legal Services Board.

The other regulators are the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Information Commissioner’s Office.

LawtechUK said the project was inspired by the sandbox set up by the FCA in 2016 to support innovative UK financial services firms.

It described the pilot as a “free, government-backed initiative”, which “did not take an equity stake in organisations that join”.

The aim was to bring together “technologists, the legal and business community, and public bodies, to support more innovative legal technology coming to market”.

Jenifer Swallow, LawtechUK director at Tech Nation, said the sandbox was designed to provide “targeted support to those who are building game-changing lawtech, working alongside them to help raise the bar for business and society”.

Ms Swallow went on: “Access to data, cross-sector regulator engagement, and timely input from decision-makers represent shared barriers to growth, all of which we address through the lawtech sandbox”.

Amplified Global, or Amplifi, uses natural language processing and machine learning to help customers “engage with and assess lengthy, technical legal information”.

Clause aims to provide an open-source library of smart legal documents, overcoming the problem of legal documents “typically formed of unstructured text, which makes it difficult to analyse and use the data they contain”.

ClauseMatch is “an easy-to-use, AI-powered smart document collaboration platform, making it easier for businesses to automate and manage their compliance and to keep up with regulations”.

The Deep Tech Dispute Resolution Lab is developing a dispute and risk avoidance tool based on advanced machine learning techniques, which “sorts and analyses a range of data [to] automatically detect early warning signs of an emerging dispute or issue with customers, suppliers and/or others”.

Legal Utopia [1] aims to make legal services “affordable and accessible”, particularly for SMEs, by “providing recommendations and information on legal services via an intelligent legal diagnostic process that can identify and assess a wide range of legal problems”.

The successful firms were chosen from 65 applications received by the lawtech sandbox steering board and a panel of judges.

Launched in the spring [2], LawtechUK is funded by £2m of government money [3] to build on the delivery panel’s work.