University partners in new law tech incubator

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Computer scientists at the University of Liverpool are providing their expertise to a new law-tech incubator launched by Barclays in partnership with the Law Society of England and Wales.

Opening soon in Notting Hill, the law-tech Eagle Lab aims to boost the UK’s law-tech sector, helping companies start-up and scale up, and apply the latest technological innovations in their work.

It will provide co-working space and support for up to 100 individuals, and access to mentoring and workshops. A dedicated Ecosystem Manager and Barclays’ staff will provide on-site advice for entrepreneurs on areas including business and personal finance, as well as connections into Barclays’ international networks.

Barclays Eagle Labs are spaces set up by Barclays to help businesses create, innovate and grow. They also operate as community resources supporting digital empowerment for all. Their focus is to drive digital skills development, productivity and economic growth, and support job creation.

There are now 15 locations across the UK, including in Liverpool, where entrepreneurs can reside, access mentoring, funding and events.

Professor Katie Atkinson, Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University, has been applying artificial intelligence to law for over 15 years. She will be providing advice, expertise and know how to the new law-tech Lab, based on collaborations with law firms undertaken by the University’s computer scientists, as well supporting events, workshops and seminars and helping to build the LawTech network.

Professor Atkinson said: “We are excited to be partnering with Barclays on this initiative and supporting fledgling law-tech start-ups in the new Eagle Lab.

“Technology is transforming the delivery of legal services and this collaboration is a great opportunity for us to guide new players in the market on the key challenges they might face and help them build sustainable businesses. We look forward to embarking on this journey with Barclays and the wider legal community.”

Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays UK, said “Our Eagle Labs are supporting thriving new businesses up and down the country, and our Notting Hill lab will lead the way as an industry centre of excellence for law-tech.”

Stephanie Pagni, General Counsel for Barclays UK, said: "This initiative will help trigger a transformation in law-tech with significant potential, addressing not just commercial but also societal legal problems, and drawing on the expertise of data scientists, engineers and a range of other graduates and contributors from our university partners."

The University of Liverpool is one of two universities backing the scheme; also supporting it are UCL, a number of major law firms and start-up community Legal Geek, all of whom will play a vital role in organising events to encourage the sharing of ideas and help entrepreneurs network and collaborate to drive forward UK developments in law-tech.