Legal Tech Landscape in Sweden
Tech Academy Nordic is an exciting legal tech programme aimed at enhancing tech literacy among law students and lawyers. Tech Academy Nordic encourages universities to update their curriculum and prepare the law students of today to become the lawyers of the future, offering a full-day program where law students work hands-on with legal tech. This year’s event will feature speakers from Microsoft, Klarna, Peltarion, Accenture, Baker McKenzie, Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and legal tech startups such as Henry Law and PocketLaw.
The development of legal technology is transforming the legal industry all over the world, gradually closing the gap between law and technology. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a key driver of this, but even before the pandemic investment in legal tech was increasing globally. Sweden is no exception. In this article we will present a brief overview of how legal tech is altering the Swedish legal landscape.
Adoption of legal tech in law firms
Swedish law firms are becoming increasingly digital, not least due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, practically every modern law firm in Sweden uses tools such as digital research databases and various automated document templates. Nevertheless, we believe that there is huge potential for an increased use of legal technology and that much more can be automated. In our view, basic and administrative work that is better handled by technology is still frequently performed by people. When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), some law firms have already invested in AI solutions, specifically AI-powered document review used in due diligence processes.
A lawyer at a global firm in Stockholm summarises the situation as follows:
“We have used legal tech as part of our business for close to a decade now, improving efficiency and reducing cost for our clients. But apart from the basic tools like digital communication, online project management softwares and digital signage of documents, legal tech is still seen as an add-on to our core business. The next big leap will happen when AI can take on a much larger portion of the day-to-day tasks of our lawyers.”
- Olof König, Baker McKenzie Stockholm.
The use of AI tools within due diligence is the only widespread application of AI at Swedish law firms so far.
The Swedish legal tech scene
The Swedish legal tech market has not quite yet boomed when compared to, for example, the Swedish fintech market. However, Sweden has, in our opinion, a great potential to become one of the leading countries within legal tech in the future. It has a well-developed communications infrastructure, high levels of technology use among individuals, and a highly developed tech industry. In addition, Sweden is often regarded as one of the most innovative countries and is home to many tech start-ups.
There are several Swedish legal tech companies and start-ups currently disrupting the legal industry. In particular, the market has seen a strong development in start-ups offering contract automation solutions. This is probably the most developed and prominent area within the Swedish legal tech scene. Some examples of Swedish contract automation services are VQ Legal, Donna Legal, Precisely, Pactumize and Maigon. Partly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, various e-signature and e-identification services are also trending, such as Assently, Scrive, Oneflow and ZealID. Another trend we have recognized is that online legal service platforms are becoming increasingly popular in Sweden, for example with PocketLaw, Lexly, LegalWorks and Henry Law. That said, there is plenty of room for further growth, particularly for legal tech products which employ AI.
The Swedish legal tech market is still in its infancy, and we expect great progress during the years to come. There are a number of innovative start-ups creating digital tools supporting companies with digital legal services, templates and other similar services. Furthermore, we have seen a trend of increased investments in Swedish legal tech made to enhance the use of legal technology during the last couple of years. This is a trend we welcome since investment is key to the growth of a new technology market.
Law schools still lacking behind
Currently, law schools in Sweden are not adequately preparing their students to become technology literate lawyers. A typical law school program in Sweden is 9 semesters long, of which none are spent focusing on basic tech skills or data related subjects. This is also recognised in the market itself. According to Norstedts report The Future Lawyer 2020, 93 % of lawyers state that law schools are not sufficiently preparing students for the job market they are entering. However, some universities have taken steps to adapt, for example Stockholm University has established a mandatory course in legal informatics and elective courses in IT-law and cyber law. Moreover, Örebro and Gothenburg university now have elective courses in legal tech and AI.
We believe the future generation of lawyers need to be prepared with a basic understanding of technology for the reality that awaits them when they graduate. Tech Academy Nordic seeks to provide law students with hands-on experience of legal tech and to encourage the universities to listen up and participate in driving the change. In other words, Tech Academy Nordic aims to bridge the gap between law and technology.
By Tech Academy Nordic