The impact of technology driving innovation in the West of England’s legal sector is the focus of a new report launched today (11 March).
The report – commissioned by the Bristol Law Society, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bristol+BathLegalTech – analyses the region’s strengths in LegalTech and innovation and sets out recommendations for growing the sector.
LegalTech means the use of technology and software to provide and aid legal services. This offers huge opportunities for legal firms to adapt and become more efficient in how they work and provide services.
Key highlights in the Bristol & Bath LegalTech Report include:
- Legal sector employment is 1.6 times the national average outside London
- 478 legal businesses operate in the West of England – with an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) of £581m
- 26 of the UK’s top 100 law firms have a presence in the region
- More than 750 roles in ‘legal technology’ have been identified in the region within law firms and LegalTech firms
- 1,192 law students graduate each year, equating to 4.4% of the region’s total graduates; higher than the UK average (3.9%)
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This report shows that the West of England is the place for LegalTech in the UK. It’s easy to see why, with our globally recognised tech and creative sectors fusing with legal and professional services to revolutionise how clients are advised and firms operate to create the jobs of the future.
“The data and insights in this report are not only valuable for our region but for the entire country, being the first comprehensive survey of LegalTech in the post-Covid world. With such a strong cluster in Bristol and Bath, I look forward to us welcoming more talent and new businesses to the region soon.”
Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society and Partner, VWV, said: “LegalTech collaborations can assist with access to justice and make a huge difference to the more vulnerable members of society. It also provides a route to achieving more diversity and inclusion in legal tech careers.
“WECA has been a pivotal supporter of this project. BLS has worked closely with WECA and Bristol+BathLegalTech to develop the opportunities for regional commerce and industrial strategy. We need to make innovation and LegalTech a long-term success story for the region and further demonstrate its enviable position as a world class innovation hub.”
Joanne Rumley, Partner, Foot Anstey, and West of England Recovery Taskforce member, added: “The strength of our region’s existing legal and tech sectors creates a strong foundation for the future of LegalTech. Our region’s Covid-19 Recovery Plan focusses on supporting businesses to adapt and innovate, and this will accelerate the development of LegalTech in the West of England. Our legal services business are on a fast paced journey of digital transformation, and we are keen to support this.”
Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This report recognises the unique opportunity for LegalTech businesses based in our region. Combined with the existing strength of our tech and professional service sectors and our long history of innovation, this report demonstrates that we are well positioned to lead digital transformation and create the future of LegalTech.”
Regional strategy firm Whitecap Consulting worked with local expects to conduct the analysis; engaging with key stakeholders across the legal and tech sectors. The report was sponsored by Invest Bristol & Bath, WECA’s inward investment and international trade arm. It will be used to inform the national debate about the development of a LegalTech industry as well as promote the strength of the sector nationally and internationally, attracting further investment and business opportunities to the region.
The Bristol & Bath LegalTech report is available to download here: