Manchester Law & Technology Conference - July 6th 2023

LawTech conf image collage
LawTech conf image collage

The University of Manchester’s Law & Technology Initiative (MLaTI) has played a role in propelling legal innovation to new heights through its unique academic-industry platform since launch in 2018.

In July we hosted the 2nd full-day conference bringing together leading experts, practitioners, and pioneers in the legal tech space, showcasing the university and wider region’s commitment to shaping the future of law through technology. MLaTI industry partners include Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Addleshaw Goddard who each helped to shape the conference themes.

The event was opened by Professor Orkun Akseli , Professor of Commercial Law at The University of Manchester Law School, who emphasised how academic-industry collaborations can facilitate the integration of technology into legal practices to meet the demands of the digital age.

Keynote speeches that followed set the tone for the day’s discussions, with Professor Sarah Green of the Law Commission taking the stage to discuss how the Law Commission is actively engaging with emerging technologies to ensure a robust legal framework. Executive Director of the Regulatory Genome Project at the University of Cambridge Dr. Giovanni Bandi captivated the audience with insights into the transformative potential of AI in simplifying regulatory compliance for financial institutions.

The keynotes wrapped up with Professor Louise Gullifer KC, of University of Cambridge and Unidroit, discussing the ground-breaking UNIDROIT Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law, which could serve as a new transnational standard in the realm of digital asset regulation.

The later sessions brought a diverse mix of speakers and maintained a lively and dynamic vibe. Leading LegalTech innovator Alexandra Lennox of Orbital Witness shared her views on the growth of the UK B2B LawTech market and the strategies needed to accelerate its adoption which led in to a panel discussion on scaling in the optimal timing and strategies for scaling technology solutions in the legal domain which was expertly moderated by Alex.

MLaTI partner Freshfields was represented by Ramesh Kumar and Philipp Thumfart presenting their ground-breaking work on "Machine Learning in Legal Services," emphasizing the potential of AI and ML in transforming legal service delivery. Later Sophie Taylor, Senior Innovation Manager at another MLaTI partner Addleshaw Goddard, explored the role of contracts as a foundation for driving change within the legal industry.

Later speakers included Eimear McCann of TrialView discussing insights into the storytelling behind AI developments and their impact on achieving better outcomes and gaining a competitive edge; Sam Karim KC brought perspectives from The Bar, offering a glimpse into the future of legal practices in specialist legal service areas; and as the day neared its end, Ben Shillito, Head of Digital Legal Services at Fujitsu, emphasised the imperative for digital transformation within corporate in-house legal departments.

The final session, aptly named " Happy Hour ," added a relaxed atmosphere to the event, where representatives from the leading UK regional hubs for LegalTech participated in a panel-style chat discussing the opportunity for regional collaboration and the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in driving nationwide legal innovation with a focus on regional hubs outside of London.

This session further highlighted Manchester’s commitment to fostering collaborations between academia and industry and how platforms such as MLaTI are supporting and advancing legal innovation in the UK. It remains evident that the fusion of law and technology is ushering in a new era of legal practice and shaping a brighter future for the legal profession as a whole.