David Curle: Legal Tech Startup Explosion

David Curle, Director of Market Intelligence at Thomson Reuters Legal, writes a fascinating article, “Legal Tech Startups: Not Just for Silicon Valley Anymore,” on TR’s “Legal Executive Institute” (August 2). The article also includes a way-kewl Legal Tech Ecosystem chart.

David Curle on Legal Tech Startups Growth 1


“In recent years, the number of lawyers and technologists combining forces to develop new legal products has exploded,” writes Curle. The map, he says, “describes just a fraction of the many legal tech startups active today.”


“The map is derived from the Discover Legal Technology database hosted by CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. That database currently tracks 558 legal tech startups from around the world, and there are probably dozens if not hundreds that haven’t been added yet,” explains Curle, who notes that the ecosystem is “extremely fragmented and diverse.”

David Curle: Legal Tech Startup Explosion
David Curle


He discusses applications, markets, trechnologies and geographies, and notes that legal and business media “don’t get too excited” around legal tech that addresses processes such as “practice management, document automation or contract analysis,” but pay attention to the “sexier topics like blockchain, smart contracts, or machine learning.” Of course, the idea of “robot lawyers” draws attention as well.


Curle also lists some of the reasons why legal tech startups is slow to come to the legal market, citing Legal’s small size and latent markets, as well as regulation and juristicion-specific challenges. But he identifies who will win in the legal tech startup races, including large-scale processes with large data sets; process efficiency; regulatory compliance and contract lifecycle management.

Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX and a member of the California bar. Twitter: @MonicaBay Email: mbay@codex.stanford.edu.

Cover image: Clipart.com