Travers Smith spins out AI technology products into new software business

Jylo to sell AI platform to wider legal market as independent entity

UK top 40 law firm Travers Smith has spun out its AI technology products into a new software business. 

The business – known as Jylo – will sell its online AI platform to the wider legal market, with initial investment coming from Travers Smith. Shawn Curran, previously Travers’ director of legal technology, will head up the new enterprise as CEO.

The platform enables users to explore, organise and interpret findings from data, using a combination of analysis and chat features.

It combines YCNBot, the open source chatbot the firm launched last May to allow organisations to use ChatGPT with enhanced controls around compliance, security and data privacy, with Analyse, a user interface it developed internally to support volume-based work like discovery and diligence.

Curran commented: “In the last 18 months we have built two excellent products but now is the moment to build on our place in the market. Jylo will enable us to do this, by integrating our work on AI into a single, highly adaptable, cloud-based AI platform.”

He added that Jylo “will be more than a data analysis tool, acting as a co-worker that communicates with the user, providing advice and approval each step of the way. It will also introduce a marketplace where users can create and share custom intelligence products either for private use or for sale, opening up a new avenue for knowledge sharing and monetisation”. 

Alongside Curran, Jylo’s team will include Travers alumni Sam Lansley, who has been named chief technology officer, Russell Harding, who is VP of consulting, and senior software engineer Zak Jama.

Travers carving out its AI group is an unusual move. 

The firm’s managing partner, Edmund Reed, said: “As a firm we have benefited enormously from Shawn and his team’s expertise and now feels like the right time to spin off our AI capabilities and capitalise on what has already been achieved in-house. 

“This will enable the team to sell to other businesses, whilst continuing to support Travers Smith, as their first customer. I have every confidence that Jylo will continue to move and innovate at pace and I am excited to see what they develop next.”

Law firms are moving to tap into the boom in generative AI technology and growing client demand for AI-related advice in different ways. Some have launched specialist AI practices, including top 25 US firm Sullivan & Cromwell earlier this month, while others, like Eversheds Sutherland, have created AI leadership roles and task forces.

A number of firms, including A&O Shearman, CMS and Macfarlanes, have also formed a partnership with Harvey, creator of a generative AI tool designed specifically for legal work. 

In 2020, Kennedys set up Kennedys IQ, which is targeted at the firm’s large insurance client base and houses a range of existing claims management services.

Slaughter and May was an early supporter of legal tech company Luminance and in 2017 the firm told Legal IT Insider its partners had “been given a small equity stake” in return for their input.

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