Canada: Legal Tech And The Changing Legal Services Industry – Weekly Update – January 30, 2018

Last Updated: January 31 2018
Article by Aaron Baer

Quote of the Week

"All law firms talk about 'delivering value' to their clients ... It's one of those phrases that's all over every website. The problem is, the law firms are defining value on their terms." – Donna Kent

Three Articles Worth Reading

Law Firms Working Together With Legal Tech Companies – The Allen & Overy Example

  • Key excerpt: "We are trying to create a culture where every lawyer within A&O feels that it is his or her responsibility to identify ways in which we can work better. The key challenge is creating the space, time and resource for lawyers to take their ideas forward, and that is partly what we are trying to achieve with Fuse – we are very fortunate to have a dedicated physical space in the A&O building itself, which means that from a practical perspective, it is as easy as it can be for our lawyers to engage with the programme and cohort."
  • Why it matters:  A&O has taken the impressive step of launching its own legal tech incubator at its London offices. Legal tech companies have a chance to work at the firm's offices. The result is 2-way dialogue between legal tech companies and lawyers. Lawyers develop a better understanding of how they can leverage technology to augment their legal practices, while the legal tech companies are able to get real-time feedback from lawyers to help refine their products. When it comes to building a culture of innovation at a law firm, it doesn't get much better than having entrepreneurs collaborating with you on a daily basis.

The Legal Industry's Scoping Problem

  • Key excerpt: "Scope is the bedrock of client relationships. Clients want certainty; this is the client theory of "no surprises:" yes, clients are demanding budgets to control cost — but it's not solely cost at issue. It's the need for certainty, the desire for no surprises in their legal spend. Without scope, when partners price matters, they are giving educated guesses. Guessing is not a long-term strategy, it doesn't scale well, and when the guess goes wrong, it's rather difficult to justify the error — so we save face and the relationship by writing off the error. That is why we, the legal industry, are in a scoping crisis. Learning to scope is a better strategy than guessing — in fact, it delivers the missing ingredient on clients' theory of no surprises, which is important for firms endeavoring to develop strong, long-term relationships."
  • Why it matters:  People have been saying for decades that the billable hour is dead (or at least dying). Yet somehow, the billable hour remains the dominant way that large-firm lawyers bill their clients for legal work. That being said, demographic changes, technological advances and increasing pressures on in-house counsel are starting to accelerate the shift from the billable hour to fixed fee/AFA arrangements. Last year, Microsoft announced that it would be shifting 90% of its work to AFA arrangements within two years. General counsel at Fortune 500 companies are coming together to apply pressure on large law firms. And there is no shortage of articles bemoaning the failure of law firms to provide value to their largest clients. But to win on fixed fees/AFAs, lawyers will need to learn to scope effectively and will need reliable data on which they can base their quotes. And this will be no easy feat for most firms.

The Industrialization of the Legal Industry - An increased Focus on Standardization

  • Key excerpt: "Leading Swiss law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal (MLL) has joined global professional services giant PwC in selling automated contract templates via PartnerVine in a move that shows the 'industrialisation' of the legal sector is now truly speeding up ... In short, this is a quality 'manufacturing' style approach that seeks to tap technology to crystallise legal knowledge and then sell this to the market. It also may help drive standardisation, something the legal market has been sorely missing. Overall, this is an important step forward in the much-needed industrialisation of the legal sector."
  • Why it matters:  Picture an employee who is fired from a job and who is told they have 24 hours to accept the employer's severance offer. At present, the employee needs to find a lawyer (hopefully they know one), sign a retainer and obtain sound legal advice in that limited window. Imagine a future where the employee simply pays $100 and uploads that contract to a contract review website. The employee receives – within a matter of minutes – an understanding of whether their employer's offer is fair given the terms of the employment agreement and the common law. No lawyers involved. While this scenario may scare a lot of lawyers, this is where we're heading. And enterprising lawyers will recognize opportunities for new revenue sources from this currently untapped pool of consumers who would not engage a lawyer in the current environment.

Legal Tech to Check Out – Blue J Legal

Blue J Legal co-founder Benjamin Alarie was at Aird & Berlis this past Thursday to talk about artificial intelligence. Toronto is a world-leader in the artificial intelligence space, and the event was a great opportunity to hear Benjamin's insight (amongst others) during a panel discussion.

Aird & Berlis is a subscriber to Blue J Legal's Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight products. Tax Foresight enables tax professionals to determine the strength of their tax position by applying AI to prior judicial decisions. Employment Foresight is an AI-enabled software that helps employment lawyers get rapid clarity on how the courts would resolve certain employment law issues.

To learn more, visit Blue J Legal.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions