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Lawtech and ethics principles report

Read our report on lawtech principles and ethics to find out how some of the largest firms in the UK have assessed solutions and navigated ethical considerations.

Digital transformation can only be successful when the capabilities of people are built and the functionality, limits and benefits of tools are understood.

Over the last year, we have interviewed the country’s largest law firms to understand how they have transformed, assessed solutions and navigated ethical considerations.

This report has two purposes:

When capabilities are built, people are empowered to work in new ways and understand the tools they are using to unlock the benefits of digital transformation.

The benefits of digital transformation

What our respondents thought

In 2020, we carried out extensive interviews with members of the profession to understand their experiences.

We asked whether it would be useful for us to share best practice on ethical considerations that should be made during the development, procurement and use of legal technology.

Respondents agreed that:

  • a set of Law Society principles and guidance on lawtech and ethics would be beneficial for the solicitors’ profession
  • there were many benefits of having a set of lawtech and ethics principles – respondents thought that principles:
    • create clarity and flexibility
    • reduce duplication
    • increase consumer choice
    • encourage competition
    • increase innovation and adoption
    • reduce time spent on procurement
    • facilitate interoperability between products
  • principles would help create a more stable and predictable environment for lawtech developers, as they would have a greater understanding of the profession’s professional standards and could assess the compatibility of their products with these standards
  • significant confusion on lawtech terminology remains – this is a barrier for adoption; respondents were keen to establish a clearer definition of lawtech through the principles framework, as a way of creating a ‘common lawtech terminology’

The principles

Respondents agreed that five main principles should inform lawtech design, development and deployment.

They also recommended that the five principles were linked to an overarching client care principle, to reflect the use of lawtech in a way that's compatible with solicitors’ professional duties to their clients.

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