LEGAL TECH LAB – Legal problems rethought

D&I Quarterly Q1/2017

Posted on

13 Apr


Dittmar & Indrenius > Insight > LEGAL TECH LAB – Legal problems rethought

An exciting pilot project Legal Tech Lab has been launched at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. The father of the idea, Kimmo Nuotio, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, is very excited about the project. With the laws changing as a result of digitalization, he feels strongly about lawyers needing to set the pace for this change.

Nuotio had been gathering signals from the field for quite some time and along with his law students, his own interest on the subject grew. “I was, however, well aware of our brand image that it was us lawyers at the university who were the slowest to execute any new ideas, perhaps sociologists being the only group arriving to the crime scene later than us.” After attending “Startup sauna” (Aalto University supported accelerator program for startup teams) to find out what was being discussed there, Nuotio was determined to act. Pieces of the puzzle fell into place when he realized he already knew a brilliant leader who could start a pilot project at the law school together with a community of professionals and their own students.

The person Nuotio had in mind was LL.D Riikka Koulu, a research fellow specialized in legal technology, legal automation and dispute resolution.

Lab on Purpose

The Lab’s mission is to bring something new to the legal field: a new way of looking at legal services, new tools to facilitate participation and a forward-looking mindset. Koulu feels passionate about raising awareness about the possibilities of legal tech and the Lab’s role in providing critical insights into technology. Her aim is to create a one-stop-shop for academic and practical information on digitalization of legal practices, both nationally and globally. According to Koulu, topical research with strong practical angle on, e.g, blockchain, robotics and AI, all new phenomena in Finnish legal landscape, is badly needed.

“With topical research on blockchain, robotics and AI we’re answering to a growing need.”
– Riikka Koulu

The Lab has already two major events planned for 2017: Legal Tech Conference on June 9 and Legal Tech Hackaton in early October. They will also initiate a Thesis Bank as a match-making service connecting the industry’s need for practical information with LLM students looking for tech-related thesis projects.

Collaborating in Advisory Board

One essential part of the Legal Tech Lab is its Advisory Board comprised of well-known professionals from all areas of legal tech, from law firms to start-ups, and from academia to software companies and beyond, including also D&I’s Jukka Lång, Head of Data Protection, Marketing and Consumers practice.

Supporting the Lab’s work is fully aligned with D&I’s digitalization strategy centered on understanding the clients’ business needs in this era of pervasive change. Lång believes in the network ideology of sharing and brainstorming in an open community with the same colleagues one would normally compete with for winning new clients. “It is the new normal for thinking ahead and creating big ideas” Lång says and explains that the same applies in today’s client work as well. “Truly innovative solutions that open up undiscovered opportunities are not possible to achieve in solitary silos.” In Legal Tech Lab, this is what seems especially inspiring to Lång. “Our own culture-based operating model, D&I Powerhouse, is all about cross-practice collaboration where we holistically combine specialist knowledge with the clients’ business needs. Thinking ahead, that’s what is needed for challenging status quo and creating sustainable value to the client – and the society as a whole.”

“Collaboration in an open community is the new normal for creating big ideas.”
– Jukka Lång

D&I is proud to sponsor the Legal Tech Conference on June 9, 2017.

LEGAL TECH LAB crew from left to right: Kristian Lauslahti, Hanna Pakaslahti, Riikka Koulu (Director, Legal Tech Lab), Jenni Hakkarainen, Lila Kallio, Ilkka Toikkanen

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