The market for legal services is typically categorised into practice areas such as Corporate and Commercial, Insurance, M&A, Family Law, Conveyancing etc. There are dozens of such practice areas.

Technology has been developed for single practice areas and multiple practice areas. There is also technology that can be used in all practice areas. Practice areas is one way to categorise legal technology.

Another way to categorise legal technology is with categories such as Marketplaces, Practice Management, Contracts and Risk and Compliance etc.

How relevant are these taxonomies in today’s legal services market? Do they help us understand current developments in legal services technology?

Thomson Reuters has produced a report on the legaltech startup landscape in the UK. This is the 2019 edition of a report that was first produced in 2017. The report covers investments in legal technology startup businesses in the UK. This is interesting reading. However, in this year’s edition of the report, the authors believed that legaltech categories needed to be updated.

The result is the diagram below:

Managing the Business includes people, resourcing, finance and operations. 

Performing the Work is described as helping lawyers undertake the tasks of legal work, an example of which is documents and contracts technology.

Although the diagram depicts third and fourth categories, the authors of the report are tentative about whether Consumer Services is a separate category in its own right or whether it is a sub-category under Performing the Work. 

Consumer Services is explained as serving the needs of individuals and / or businesses and other organisations where the aim is to provide a guided workflow.

The diagram shows another category in which technology has a mixed function of Managing the Business and / or Performing the Work. 

Attempting to categorise technology for the legal services market is a challenging exercise. No doubt the authors of future editions of the report will be looking back on the 2019 version of the model and questioning if it can be further improved.

 Legaltech Startup Report 2019 can be accessed via this link.