Law firms partner with University of Manchester to develop lawtech skills benchmark

updated on 31 May 2019

An innovative partnership between leading law firms, barristers’ chambers and the University of Manchester is developing the field of lawtech with plans to introduce a new, specialist qualification that sets the skills standard for lawyers working with legal technology.  

The Law Gazette reports that the Law & Technology Initiative – a joint research project between lawyers and academics – is enabling solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers to work with University of Manchester institutions on law, computer science and business issues.

The project was founded in partnership with three top firms – magic circle giant Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, DWF Ventures (an affiliate of DWF) and leading national firm Weightmans. More organisations have recently signed up, including Manchester-based Fletchers Solicitors, Cheshire firm Bott & Co, and barristers’ chambers St John’s Buildings.

Andrew James, professor of innovation management and policy at Alliance Manchester Business School, which is part of the University of Manchester, described plans for a new “hybrid” law and technology qualification: “The legal sector is evolving thanks to the growing impact of technology. It’s vital we keep abreast of these changes and equip graduates with the skills they need to navigate the sector both now and in the future. Learning involves more than just academia. It’s important we collaborate with industry partners so that we can capitalise on our mutual expertise by combining real-life practical experience with robust academic research to deliver both innovative teaching and provide unique insight on the digital transformation of legal services…We're looking at a recognised standard for skills, a hybrid of legal and technology.”