The Globe and Mail (a top news publication in Canada), wrote an article titled “How Ubernomics can transform Canada’s legal diseconomy.” It is a fascinating and articulate piece about the clear supply-demand mismatch in legal services. Prior to Uber you could always order a taxi, a limo, a minivan…with caveats of course…it could be done. Uber did not invent the paid lift service. What they did was identify a frustrating and recurring problem, void of useful technology, and they fixed it. If we look at that recipe, it is universal. Why is Uber such a success story? It is as basic as supply and demand, with the magic dust of great execution.
The legal industry, like many others, is wanting for innovation, efficiency and accessibility. Canada is in such a unique position to be leaders in this innovation movement. Companies like Beagle, LawScout, LegalSwipe, ClauseHound and Ontario Small Claims Wizard, are just small sample of the thought and execution leadership coming out of Ontario. Aron Solomon, and Jason Moyse are consolidating this group with LegalX out of MaRSDD. Their experience, passion, and love of beer are a magnetic force drawing companies together.
It's not just about startups. Toronto based Kira Systems (formerly Diligence Engine), founded by Noah Waisberg has gained a great reputation on innovation. And when we look beyond the Canadian border, there are a number of great companies trailblazing and trying new things. The legal tech space is really small. The same names start popping up over and over again. Sheri Atwood and her great company SupportPay, and Pieter Gunst’s legal.io are examples of non-Canadian companies trying to help the basic consumer with legal related services. In the US Dr. Roland Vogl is consolidating legal innovation through the Stanford Law School, with their program CodeX, of which Beagle, and many of those mentioned companies, also participate in.
Beagle is a part of this innovation circle. As the Globe states, Beagle “performs rapid contract analysis using a sophisticated algorithm, while providing a platform for social media-inspired collaboration among decision-making teams.” Giving people instant access to contract content, with a simple way to engage others drastically improves comprehension, and makes large amounts of legal text accessible. The Globe then stated. "Technologies such as Beagle will liberate lawyers from mindless contract analysis and enhance their productivity while increasing competition.” This is key.
I can tell you unequivocally that there is not a single legal tech company trying to eliminate lawyers. We do have to make the lawyers work smarter, and focus on good lawyering, in a transactional model that is consistent with 2015 business, and not 1972 business.
If Ubernomics means looking at a cludgy, broken, and archaic system, which is used every day by millions, and improving it through thoughtful technology, with precision execution, then yes, the legal system in Canada, and the world will change. The companies listed are a small sample of what is now, and an even smaller part of what is to come.