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How do Lawyers Engineer and Develop LegalTech Projects? A Story of Opportunities, Platforms, Creative Rationalities, and Strategies

Abstract

Over the last 15 years, the working context of lawyers has undergone many changes. Evolving in an increasingly competitive, deregulated, and globalized market, they are subject to higher tax pressure while being exposed to unbridled technological innovation. Indeed, a growing number of entrepreneurs are using digital solutions to provide online legal services that are supposed to be faster and cheaper. If many of them are nonlawyer legal entrepreneurs, many lawyers are also engineering innovative projects and launching their own start-up companies, known as “LegalTech” or “LawTech.” However, few studies—or none to our limited knowledge—provide an empirically grounded analysis of such projects, leaving some questions unanswered. Who are these entrepreneurial lawyers? How and why do they engineer and develop LegalTech projects? How do they challenge the legal profession? To answer these questions, this article draws on a qualitative study of three contrasted start-ups Belgian lawyers have recently developed. The research methodology combines gray and scientific literature reviews, web-document (hereafter “manifestos”) analysis, and semi-directive interviews led with the start-up’s founders (n = 5), the Bar Association’s representatives (n = 3), and some members of the main Belgian LegalTech network (n = 4).

 

Published: 2020-09-01
Section: Online First
How to Cite
Dubois, C. (2020). How do Lawyers Engineer and Develop LegalTech Projects? A Story of Opportunities, Platforms, Creative Rationalities, and Strategies. Law, Technology and Humans, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.v3i1.1558

Author Biography

Christophe Dubois holds a PhD in Sociology from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and the University of Liège (2009). He is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, responsible for the Master Degree in HRM, and a member of the Centre de recherche et d'interventions sociologiques (CRIS). He is interested in prison policies and organizations (restorative prisons, the work of prison guards and governors, prison health policies, the implementation of sentence enforcement courts), in mediation devices and practices (school, criminal, and hospital mediation), and in the impacts of digitalization on organizations and professions, particularly in the legal world. He is the author of "La justice réparatrice en milieu carcéral. De l'idée au pratique" (2012), and "De la valeur à la norme" (2019, with O. Kuty).

 
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074