Legal Tech as hot topic for Legalia’s recent networking event

Technology concerns all of us, in our everyday lives, at work, at home, everywhere we go. With this as a given and the recent developments in Legal Tech, Legalia hosted its very first networking event on October 12th, 2017.

Legal Tech as hot topic for Legalia’s recent networking event

The stage for the evening was set at Cercle du Lac in Louvain-la-Neuve, where our Founding Partner, Harold Dulait, started off by giving a quick view on where we stand in Belgium compared to rest of Europe and the USA. It is clear that the USA and the UK have taken a bit of a head start in Legal Tech compared to continental Europe, but we are catching up, with new initiatives, associations, incubators and start-ups popping up throughout the legal landscape.

Expert insights from Darts-ip

To help our guests better understand what exactly is being referred to by the term Legal Tech, we had the great pleasure of welcoming Evrard van Zuylen, Managing Director at Darts-ip, a Belgian company that quickly became a specialist in worldwide IP cases & analytics, amongst others by making good use of artificial intelligence.
Thanks to his engineering background, Evrard van Zuylen was able to share some very interesting insights with our guests regarding the origins of the technology, the differences with what was used up until now and the reason for its sudden, explosive growth. Practical examples of things that are familiar to every one of us certainly brought the point across and illustrated just how fast things are moving and how profoundly this is changing our way of functioning.
For any company, start-up or organisation to benefit from the new technology and the potential of artificial intelligence, a massive amount of qualitative and repetitive data is however required. This is probably why economics have also picked up on this (r)evolution, as it has been suggested that “data” is in fact the most valuable resource in the world nowadays, rather than oil.
There are some challenges on the horizon for this booming business though, such as access to the right kind and quality of data, together with the availability of qualified data scientists, the uncertainty due to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and last but not least, the possibility of losing control over the technology.

The future of legal jobs

Since the topic provokes some concern about the future of our jobs, as computers or machines will indeed be able to process complex data at a speed that no human being can and with fewer errors, we also made sure to address the upside of things! By this, we mean the opportunity for legal professionals to gain massive amounts of time, which they would have normally spent on tedious research and analysis. That available time can then be better spent on the typical legal expertise, advice, strategies, etc.
There will obviously also be a need for legal experts/data scientists who are able to program and check the machine’s output, so new professions are being created as we speak.

Epicurean closing

To wrap up the official part of the presentation, Legalia invited Geoffroy van Lede from Le Vin du Mois, who specialises in sourcing authentic wines directly from small estates, crafted by passionate craftsmen and which can’t be found in supermarkets.
This is how our guests went home with the added experience of having discovered 4 delicate wines during an informal wine tasting and with having had the pleasure to savour those wines during and after a delicious cocktail dinner, all while the exchanging of ideas on the thought-provoking subject of Legal Tech continued.