2020 was an unprecedented year for everyone but especially the legaltech industry, with legal departments rapidly re-imagining their operations to embrace the digital era. Milad Shojaei looks back on a year we’re all bound to remember.
Fortunately, Casedo is in the business of change. Our ability to observe market trends and recognise growing expectations from legal practitioners placed us in a favourable position when the pandemic struck.
Before predicting what will change in 2021, let’s look back at Casedo’s highlights in 2020.
Webinars, seminars and workshops
In early 2020, Ross and Milad wrapped up their ‘How to be a paperless lawyer’ seminar series at London’s top law schools. On the 10th February, they championed the legal profession’s digital revolution to law students at SOAS. On the 27th February, they visited UCL, encouraging students to stay ahead of the curve by getting to grips with the latest technical developments.
In April we were delighted to feature Rhys Taylor from the 36 Group in our weekly webinar series. Ross & Rhys explored Casedo’s practicalities for family practitioners at the Bar and offered exciting new features designed for family barristers.
We also hosted a student webinar where Gizem interviewed Ross on how a law student could make the most out of digital tools and especially Casedo.
More recently, Milad led a webinar on strategies for academic writing with the UCL Fintech Society, exploring how students can ace their dissertations & research-based projects with advanced technical skills.
Our founder and CEO, Ross, featured in two exciting podcasts in 2020. On the 18th November he spoke to Fintech: Byte-Sized about his journey as a legal tech pioneer and how his background as a video editor inspired Casedo.
On the 23rd November, he appeared on the Law Simplified podcast, discussing recent updates in lawtech and was put through his paces during a quick fire round on tax law.
Transforming the mooting landscape
We took our relationship with UCL to the next level in 2020, partnering with the UCL Law Society and sponsoring the Herbert Smith Freehills Junior Mooting Competition. Mooting was especially difficult in 2020, and we were thrilled to help transform the mooting landscape. Our student licenses assisted 239 aspiring lawyers work faster, smarter and more innovatively. The competition operated solely on Casedo and we were honoured to have Lord Carnwath adjudicate the finals.
Congratulations again to Aishwarya Shaji on her success as a finalist. Be sure to check out her interview with Milad as shares her experience mooting paperlessly during a challenging year.
Sponsoring UCL Fintech Society
In September 2020 we kicked off the academic year with an exciting new sponsorship. The UCL Fintech Society is the largest of its kind in Europe, and we have collaborated with them on events and panels to demonstrate Casedo’s practicalities beyond the legal world. On 30th November, Ross showcased Casedo at their Adapt LegalTech Conference. We look forward to future events in 2021.
London Legal Walk
On the 5th October, the Casedo team participated in the annual London Legal Walk, raising money for London’s free legal advice charities. Taking part in this year’s 10km challenge was particularly important for us as the need for free legal advice services has increased, and the global crisis continues to disproportionately impact the disadvantaged and vulnerable. Due to social distancing complications, we all got involved in our own safe ways. It was great to share our passion for free legal advice with 4,500 other participants, raising a whopping £530,000!
The disruption in 2020 allowed us to devote more time to engagement with the Casedo Community in order to enhance Casedo and its functionality. We are indebted to our users for their insight and ideas. Over the course of the year, we released six updates of casedo each boasting new features ranging from optical character recognition and go to page, to table of contents generation and increased speed. The most up to date version, Casedo v1.5, is 120% faster at importing documents, 50% faster at scrolling and switching between documents and 30% faster at searching. You can read more about the evolution of Casedo here. You will be glad to know that we are working on another update and look forward to launching this in 2021.
Our predictions for 2021
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that lawyers will not disappear any time soon. Still, the paper based methods of working will gradually dispel in favour of digital tools, investment in technology and better ways of working. Innovation will continue to play a pivotal role in our professional and personal lives, perhaps now more so than ever before.
A maturing market
The legal tech industry experienced an upheaval in 2020, accelerated by the abrupt transition to remote and digital practice. Now that most legal professionals have taken the first steps towards the new normal engagement with technology, we can expect a maturing market that continues to experiment, invest and accept the advantages of paperless workstations and digital tools. However, adoption is still slow. Tech-incubators and significant investment are crucial to reinvigorating the market. The momentum in legal technology from 2020 should achieve meaningful change in 2021.
Smaller tech start-ups
As the global crisis expands the demand for digital solutions, lawtech start-ups have been quick to deliver. 2020 marked a record-breaking year for lawtech start-up investment. Revised business models and capabilities have suited the cutting-edge technologies that tech start-ups have to offer. Given the accelerated growth of technology, coupled with a maturing market, we anticipate new investment records in lawtech start-ups.
Law firms driving progress
Lawtech will also level the playing field for the anticipated flood of new smaller law firms in 2021. As digital solutions simplify the delivery of legal services, we anticipate that lawyers will embark on new risks on their own, equipped with the latest technology.
As more universities offer interdisciplinary options that intertwine law and technology, we can expect disruptive impacts in 2021 and beyond. Law graduates are often considered to be ill-prepared for legal work today and beyond. Given the tremendous advances in the legal sector in 2020, more law schools, employers and graduates will realise the necessity of adapting to changing tides in the law and recognise how important it is to integrate technological competence at undergraduate level.
Developments in Artificial Intelligence
Like most people in the technology industry, we too find developments in Artificial Intelligence exciting. Although 2021 may not be the year when AI takes over the law, there will still be cutting edge applications into the market given the tremendous potential for improved efficiency. Nonetheless, AI will always need human intelligence to yield meaningful results and training from multidisciplinary teams of technology experts and lawyers . The legal industry will undoubtedly begin to embrace bolder technologies as it prepares for potential expansions, and we may see inspiring AI offerings in 2021.
We hope to see new technological breakthroughs; raised awareness behind digital solutions; advantages of data-analytics and the development of powerful lawtech tools.
No one expected the changes we observed in 2020. If we all choose to work collaboratively, 2021 could be even more surprising and feature more opportunities.