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Legal tech companies are hoarding usage data

A client’s choice to use a legal tech company’s services, could be less likely to happen when the tech company declines to share usage data.

Companies such as PacerPro — an automated data and case management software — believe that even if legal tech firms prefer to keep some usage data to themselves, it doesn’t mean that none of their data can be shared, according to Anne McGrane, the COO of PacerPro.

One reason legal tech companies opt to control who views their usage data, is to keep information away from the competition.

Clio — a Canadian company that makes management software — received a $250 billion investment in September 2019, according to an article in Bloomberg Law.

This was one of the largest investments into a legal tech company for 2019.

Yet the legal technology industry still remains small and new.

Stanford Codex reported that only 1,107 firms existed worldwide, in December of 2019.

The legal profession has often been slow to adopt new processes, and has been routinely described as conservative.

But, some argue that it is the budding nature of the industry that makes this a perfect time for companies to share information.

McGrane says that if companies begin information sharing, the industry as a whole can benefit and improve.

To their credit, PacerPro has recently published a white paper that details usage data by big and boutique law firms alike. PacerPro collaborated with Fireman&Company to detail some of the services they offer that are being used by big law firms across the United States. According to McGrane, the white paper is also good marketing, because it’s a resource in the form of data or knowledge, to the industry as a whole.

Despite the long term benefits that sharing data can provide, if legal technology is still not adopted fast enough, tech companies may want to continue to keep their data to themselves. But that is not the climate suggested by looking at the landscape of investments and start-ups. The legal tech industry has experienced a rapid increase in investments. Sean Bernstein reported that investments for legal tech had increased to over $1.2 billion as of September 2019, “415 per cent over the $233 million invested in 2017.”

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) had their largest attendance numbers on record at their annual legal tech conference. Attendance increased from 1,715 in 2018, to 1,850 in 2019.

The Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) — dubbed the “first incubator for legal technology” — expanded their support and services for legal technology entrepreneurs worldwide at the end of 2019.

The Legal Innovation Zone is a hub developed by Ryerson University located in Toronto, Canada.