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The power of legal tech: insights from Senior Legal Technologist Kathrin Shahroozi

Posted: 16/06/2023

This year’s London Tech Week, now in its tenth year, has been a celebration of the global tech superpower that is our capital. The week has reportedly involved around 30,000 people across official and fringe events over the course of the last seven days. Communities have convened from across the tech ecosystem to celebrate the power of cross-industry collaboration in helping the UK tech sector to thrive. The depth and breadth of that ecosystem is reflected in the work crossing the desks of the lawyers in our specialist tech sector group, who work with clients across a diverse range of industries including information technology, manufacturing and engineering, life sciences, fintech, cleantech and renewables as well as keeping our corporate team busy advising tech companies as they scale up from initial start-ups. 

But what of law firms themselves? The legal tech sector in the UK is experiencing significant growth with strong opportunities for investment.  New products and features are landing all the time and firms are finding themselves having to continuously evaluate what these new tools can provide and how those might integrate into the existing tech already embedded in their businesses.

Given the complex and ever advancing range of technology out there, law firms are increasingly investing in specialists to provide strategic insight into the tech available and to ensure that firms gain maximum benefit from the tools at their disposal. Kathrin Shahroozi joined Penningtons Manches Cooper earlier this year the firm’s first Senior Legal Technologist. She is deployed across the business in the UK, Europe and Singapore to align our knowledge and tech strategy to the needs of the business and to ensure the firm invests wisely. 

“Collaboration across the business is key to identify the problem that you are seeking to solve” comments Kathrin. “Tech can be – and often is – a part of the solution but, without clearly delineating what it is you want to achieve, adding tech on top of an existing process can add to existing problems. Collaboration with my colleagues in our Best Practice Group is a fundamental to devise solutions that work – that embed best practice use of our people and tools so that we improve the services we provide to clients.”

Claire McNamara, Head of Knowledge agrees: “Good systems and processes may seem less glamorous than a piece of shiny new tech, but that tech will soon dull in a drawer if its use is not properly thought through and implemented.”

The use of ChatGPT has only recently sparked a frenzy of interest in the legal community. It is widely accepted that, over the next few years, we will see more use of AI, both for analysing documents and research as well as for drafting documents and even on a wider level like organising tasks. The strong focus on automation will continue, streamlining processes and freeing up lawyers' time to focus on other aspects of their work rather than spending time on administrative tasks.

“I strongly believe that while legal tech solutions will continue to evolve in functionality and replace a lot of repetitive manual tasks, the real challenge for legal technologists will be to streamline processes and clean up the vast amount of data going into the systems of both law firms and their clients. Without good, clean data, firms will be unable to make the most out of the use of the tech they have invested in” predicts Kathrin. 

The energy that has been evident around London Tech Week is reflected in the vibrant legal tech scene that can be found in London and the wider UK. Kathrin says:

“The UK’s approach to tech was one of the reasons I moved to London from Austria. London is known as a global leader on the world’s tech stage with its blend of creative thinking and a proven track record in innovation. With AI on the rise, it is very encouraging to see the UK seeking to balance innovation and regulation. New technology always offers opportunities but the risks are as yet unknown and untested. It is vital that regulatory frameworks are created to ensure we can move forward positively.”

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP