Deloitte Legal has teamed up with PhD students who will apply their ‘deep tech research’ to try to solve future problems in the legal profession.

The Big Four accountancy firm said today is to collaborate with Conception X, a nine-month programme which helps PhD students create technology start-ups in tandem with their degree. The tie-up will see students paired with mentors from across Deloitte who will work together to identify potential uses of nascent technology.

According to Deloitte, a range of ‘deep tech’ research areas are applicable to the legal sector. These include ensuring artificial intelligence algorithms stay the right side of the law; the creation of blockchain-based identity systems and the use of AI to improve corporate productivity.

Laura Bygrave, innovation and ventures lead at Deloitte Legal, said: ‘From augmented reality to quantum computing, deep tech will transform virtually every aspect of business and society. This programme is designed to encourage the brightest students to experiment in fields that will shape the future of multiple industries.’

Last summer, Deloitte recruited high profile chief technology officer Bruce Braude to put artificial intelligence, data analytics and automation ‘at the heart’ of the firm’s legal strategy. It also hired Laura Bygrave as ‘innovation lead’ and Chris Bull as ‘legal operations architect’.

The first two Conception X cohorts have seen the start-ups incorporated by PhD teams collectively raise a total of £5 million and generate revenue of £2 million.