11 March 2021

Independent UK law firm Burges Salmon is pleased to be one of the key sponsors of the new Bristol & Bath LegalTech 2021 report, published today by Whitecap Consulting, which has found impressive levels of LegalTech activity, capability and employment across legal service providers, tech firms and LegalTech businesses in the Bristol & Bath region.

The report is the latest evidence to support the region’s core strength in emerging areas of technology, coming less than two weeks after it was named in the Kalifa Review as one of the top 10 FinTech clusters in the UK.

The key findings of the report include:

  • High levels of LegalTech activity and service innovation across law firms of all sizes reflect the region’s underlying strengths in technology and law – including the presence of 17 Top 200 law firm head office functions.
  • Bristol and Bath has built an extensive LegalTech talent pool, with more than 750 legal technology and innovation roles identified by our research.
  • There is a growing cluster of over 30 LegalTechs, tech companies working in the legal sector and LegalTech arms within the region’s law firms. The number of LegalTech businesses is significant in size compared to other regional locations - as is the case in FinTech.
  • The region’s LegalTech sector could create powerful differentiation on a national and international level if embryonic collaboration in the legal sector was fully joined up with and modelled on the tech sector’s well-established regional collaborative ecosystem.
  • A strong sense of societal purpose is evident within the legal sector in the region and this should drive a future strand of LegalTech development.

The report makes recommendations against each key finding, and advocates supporting the future development of the ecosystem via actions including: improving visibility and accessibility to law firms for LegalTechs and tech firms; more communication and collaboration; building cross-sector links (eg with FinTech) within and outside the region; raising awareness of the roles available in LegalTech to help attract talent to the sector; and building on the region’s strong sense of societal purpose.

Roger Bull, Burges Salmon’s Managing Partner, says: “We see legal tech and innovation as an opportunity for both our firm and the region, so today’s report is both timely and welcome news. As Managing Partner, I have championed our engagement within the wider legal and business community, which has included collaboration with our local universities in Bristol and Edinburgh, participation in the Bristol Law Society’s initiatives, representing the legal sector in WECA working parties and in numerous legal sector conferences.”

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, comments: “The analysis that underpins this report has focused on the intersection of two of the most successful sectors in the regional economy, so it is no surprise that 93% of people surveyed believed LegalTech to be a growth opportunity for Bristol & Bath. The region is widely acknowledged to ‘punch above its weight’ in both sectors, a view that the findings of this research endorse.”

The research has been conducted in partnership with West of England Combined Authority, Invest Bristol+Bath, Bristol Law Society, Bristol+Bath LegalTech, with nearly 50 stakeholders being interviewed as part of the research process, which was supported by an online survey and a number of events.

The new Bristol & Bath LegalTech 2021 report can be downloaded here.

Key contact

Roger Bull

Roger Bull Managing Partner

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