Applications open for refreshed Slaughter and May Collaborate

The third round of the firm’s legal tech programme will take a more targeted approach to solving challenges faced by Slaughter and May and its clients.

Slaughter and May, the leading international law firm, has announced new features for the firm’s flagship legal tech programme, Collaborate, and has opened applications for its third cohort. Members of the cohort will – for the first time – have the chance to pitch for equity investment from the firm’s partners via a newly launched venture investment platform, Slaughter and May Ventures.

The programme will also take on a different format, designed specifically to target challenges that Slaughter and May lawyers and business services teams are facing. Individuals from across the firm have suggested pain points that legal tech might be able to solve, and legal tech entrepreneurs have now been invited to present a proposition for addressing one or more of the following problem statements for this next round of the programme:

  • We are seeking to harness the power of new technologies to enhance our Knowledge Management documents and processes, in particular the ability to easily surface precedent clauses (from our internal KM system) whilst drafting.
  • Manually reviewing legal agreements to check whether they have been properly executed is a time-consuming and repetitive task. We are seeking a tool which can check whether a document has been validly signed by the correct parties to reduce the time our lawyers need to spend on this.
  • Law firms have historically relied on physical proximity to encourage learning. Our L&D and Innovation teams are working on a project to help support on the job learning experience for our people in a remote/hybrid environment, and would welcome tech solutions which might address this.
  • It is often difficult to collect and track large volumes of data, documents and communications from clients submitted in response to Requests For Information from regulators, in various areas of our practice. We would welcome a tech solution to assist with this.
  • Open Category: if you think you have a legal tech solution that could assist our business in another way, we’d love to hear from you.

Up to four legal tech businesses will be selected to trial their tools in a full live pilot with the firm while still benefiting from the same dedicated feedback, support, skills sessions and mentor relationships that have always been provided; this is a further update to the programme’s offering which had previously seen only one successful member of each cohort proceed to full pilot.

Jane Edwarde, Collaborate sponsoring partner said, “The launch of Collaborate this year is really exciting. Having worked on the programme for the last two years, we saw an opportunity to develop both the content and benefits offered through the programme. The updates that we have implemented for this next year allow us to take an even more targeted approach to the use of legal tech within the firm, and to better support growth and development in the legal tech space.”

Knowledge and Innovation Manager and Collaborate Programme Lead, Billie Moore adds, “Our planning processes have allowed us to consult our people on where they experience pain points in their work, giving us a better understanding of where legal tech can assist our practice to improve the way we work.”

In addition to the live pilot, each cohort member will also benefit from access to the newly launched Slaughter and May Client Innovation Network. Established earlier this year, the Network acts as a forum for members of in-house legal and legal operations teams to share ideas and experiences within the innovation and legal tech space, as well as test new technologies in collaboration with the firm.

Head of Knowledge and Innovation, Jane Stewart explains, “Working with our clients has always been a key part of Collaborate. Our Client Panel has continued to grow over the past three years, and formed the basis for our exciting new Client Innovation Network. We are now able to collaborate with even more clients, hear about process issues and technologies that are of interest to our Network members, and enable our clients to explore legal tech through us; whilst offering our successful cohort members the chance to engage with the in-house legal teams across a number of our client organisations.”

In addition to this new approach, the programme’s offering has been enhanced, and through Slaughter and May Ventures, the firm’s newly launched venture investment platform, legal tech businesses will be able to pitch for equity backing from the firm’s partners. Although investment is not a requirement of participation in the programme.

Chris McGaffin, Collaborate sponsoring partner added: “The launch of Slaughter and May Ventures is a really exciting development for the firm and for the Collaborate programme. Through Collaborate, the firm has built relationships with some of the most innovative names in the legal tech world, and Slaughter and May Ventures offers a chance for us to take our support one step further.”

Applications to form part of the third cohort for Collaborate are now open.

About Collaborate

Launched in 2019, Slaughter and May Collaborate aims to help shape the development of new legal tech and identify and harness future efficiencies in the delivery of legal services. The programme sets out to find the best legal tech companies in the market, helping them to test and develop their products alongside Slaughter and May lawyers, clients, and legal tech and innovation specialists.

Collaborate will again be led by Slaughter and May partners Jane Edwarde and Chris McGaffin, supported by the firm’s central Knowledge and Innovation team; Jane Stewart (Head of Knowledge and Innovation), Emily Lew (Senior Knowledge and Innovation Manager) and Billie Moore (Knowledge and Innovation Manager and Programme Lead), all of whom have played a key role in the development of the programme.

About Slaughter and May Ventures

Slaughter and May Ventures is a venture investment platform through which partners in the firm can participate in venture equity raises pitched by participants in the Collaborate programme and selected other early stage technology businesses. Venture investments made via the platform will be funded by groups of interested partners rather than by the firm. No investment is guaranteed to participants in the Collaborate programme and each proposition will be assessed on its merits by the partners involved.