Barclays Bank has launched a lawtech incubator in partnership with the Law Society, law firms and academia. The initiative called “Eagle Lab” aims to “turbo-charge” the UK’s lawtech sector by helping companies start-up, scale-up and create a centre of excellence for international leaders in their fields. The law firms backing the scheme include Allen & Overy, which set up its own lab last year, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co and Baker McKenzie. Other partners include accountancy firm PwC, while the academic clout is coming from University College London and The University of Liverpool.
The London-based lab will provide co-working space and support for up to 100 people, with further plans for an events and meet-up space. The lab will be modelled on at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Cambridge, which has become an important contributor to “Silicon Fen.” Partnering law firms will provide feedback and guidance to entrepreneurs. Law Society vice-president Christina Blacklaws said: 'This collaboration will create a forum for solicitors to learn and innovate with entrepreneurs and developers for the common good of the legal sector. We encourage all our members to get involved.'
Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: 'Law-tech is an area where the UK has every reason to be a world leader. It is home to some of the greatest law firms in the world and we want to help build on the success of its legal sector, and play a leading role in transforming lawtech in the future. The impressive range of partners supporting this initiative shows just how important this is.' Stephanie Pagni, general counsel for Barclays UK, said: 'This initiative will help trigger a transformation in law-tech with significant potential, addressing not just commercial but also societal legal problems, and drawing on the expertise of data scientists, engineers and a range of other graduates and contributors from our university partners.'