With A level results being announced last week, thousands of students across the UK and the world are now preparing to begin their legal studies. The next few years will be full of insight days, vacation schemes, and, hopefully, training contract offers. However, for students and graduates with an interest in Technology Law, it may be worthwhile considering some of these graduate schemes, or legaltech start-up programmes, which are focused on technology and law.

Slaughter and May – Collaborate

Slaughter and May Collaborate is a legal tech programme, which is open to, “innovators and entrepreneurs at all stages with products relevant to the legal tech sector. The programme offers the opportunity to collaborate with the brightest minds in this space – helping to develop, test and expand legal tech products”.[1]

The programme launched in 2019, and the 2020 cohort has an impressive line-up. This includes; Della, which looks to accelerate contract review; Immediation, a confidential online dispute resolution platform; and Novastone, a secure instant messaging platform integrated with public IM, among others.

If you are a student or graduate with a desire to develop a legal tech product or business, or are already making strides towards this, Collaborate could be a pivotal stepping stone in progressing your venture.

Allen & Overy – Fuse

Launched in 2017, Fuse is A&O’s tech innovation space, where lawyers and start-ups come together to, “explore, develop and test legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions”.

Jonathan Brayne, Partner and Chair of Fuse, explains that, “Fuse acts as a remarkable radar. It helps us stay at the forefront of technology innovation, so we can spot the game-changing solutions that address our clients’ most pressing challenges”.[2]

One of the 2020 Cohort 4 entrepreneurs included BRYTER, who have discussed their work previosuly with SCL  here. The last cohort applications took place in January, and focused on fintech streams also. This could be a great opportunity for budding legaltech start-ups to receive expert legal advice for industry leaders.

Allen & Overy also offer a Legal Tech and project management advanced delivery graduate scheme, perfect for students with non-law backgrounds, including STEM degree courses. Here, graduates rotate between four areas in Advanced Delivery & Solutions – the Markets Innovation Group, Project Management Office, Legal Tech and eDiscovery teams, across two years. Recruitment for this scheme generally opens in December.[3]

Norton Rose Fulbright – Business and Legal Operations Graduate Scheme

Norton Rose Fulbright also offers a techlaw route, through their Business and Legal Operation s Graduate Scheme. Again, this route is available to students from any discipline. This scheme involves a two year programme which mirrors their, “traditional training contract for new lawyers, but with a focus on different disciplines. Those who progress to full time roles are expected to drive our business strategy in the years to come”. The scheme is built around four six-month rotations through teams including: Business Solutions, Commercial Management, Innovation, Legal Operations Consulting, Legal Product Design, Legal Project Management, Pricing, and Resource Management. All rotations are based in their London office, except for rotations through the Innovation Team, which is based in their Newcastle Hub.[4]

Mishcon de Reya – MDR LAB

Another start-up development programme for legal tech start-ups is Mishcon de Reya’s MDR LAB. MDR LAB is open to early stage and growth technology start-ups, and they welcome applications from concept stage through to revenue-generating start-ups.

They note that, “Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work within their target market to pilot and improve products and to gain a better understanding of how legal services are provided and where lawyers – and their clients – would benefit from new technologies. They will have access to Mishcon de Reya lawyers and other business experts throughout the firm for advice, mentorship and education”.[5]

Clifford Chance – IGNITE

Clifford Chance IGNITE is described as a training contract with a rare emphasis on tech. It’s still a Clifford Chance training contract, but on top of the skills and experiences of a traditional training contract, this route also asks you to, “reconsider what tech can do for law”. Here, again, a law degree is not an absolute requirement. The scheme encourages applications from those studying tech related fields, such as computer science, or those who are working on their own tech skills, including coding or app development. Clifford Chance stresses that, “The only thing you must have is an excitement for what the meeting of law and tech can spark”.[6]

Law students and graduates of this generation are at the forefront of the development of techlaw and legal tech, and it is important to highlight these new and innovative legaltech opportunities. In a recent panel event with Lorraine Chimbga, she discussed how she initially found it hard to combine her interests in law and tech, because, “Obviously, no firms were offering a legal tech training contract as far as I can remember”. However, Lorraine is now a future IGNITE Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance, and if you want to learn more about her experience up to this point you can watch her discussion on alternative career paths in law  here.