By Rhys Dipshan, Legal Tech News| March 25, 2019
For some, law firm-backed technology can face resistance in the market and stunt a firm’s openness to new tools. For others, knowing the inner workings of a firm is the key to legal innovation. So what’s the deal?
As the boundaries delineating law firms and legal tech providers begin to blur, a debate is swirling over how much mingling is good for business. Or, as some believe, bad for business.
Over the past few years, a growing number of law firms in the U.S. and U.K. have been helping legal tech startups design their tools, making equity investments in those startups, or even spinning off their own legal tech subsidiaries. Yet while many believe legal tech plays a vital role in the delivery of legal services and the future of the legal market, some are questioning just how close is too close when it comes to law firms supporting technology businesses.
“Where I think there is sort of a fly in the ointment is that … it dissuades those firms from investing in other technologies that might be better than the technology that they have been developing or investing in,” said Etan Mark, a partner at Mark Migdal & Hayden.
Still, while it can hinder a firm’s ability to think outside of their own boundaries, Mark doesn’t believe supporting or becoming a legal technology provider will ultimately be that detrimental to a law firm’s business. After all, a law firm’s main focus at the end of the day is on serving its clients.
“There are some instances where I might not invest in the tech created by the law firm, but I think generally the right answer is to [purchase or invest] in the technology that is going to be most beneficial for your case and client at that moment,” Mark said.