A specialist technology app store and artificial intelligence for contract drafting are among the technologies likely to be adopted by the legal arm of Big Four firm Deloitte in an attempt to bridge the gap between startup companies and clients. Deloitte Legal said today that it had 'hand-selected' 14 startups after evaluating 400 businesses for its Deloitte Legal Ventures programme.

In a significant departure from previous lawtech incubator schemes, Deloitte Legal has said it will become a user of products and services offered by the chosen startups. These include execution technology, artificial intelligence, data analytics and predictive analytics, the firm said. Among the 12 companies named today are Genie AI, a UK pioneer in artificial intelligence and Reynen Court, an online platform designed to simplify the process of buying legal technology. 

Deloitte Legal Ventures will provide the companies with access to consulting, technology, legal and investment experts, the firm said. 'Experts will stress-test products, services, business models and strategies in a transparent and structured way to identify scalability. This will in turn accelerate the on-boarding, uptake and usage of the products and services.' The firm stressed that it was not seeking exclusive deals. 'We do not want to impose any restrictions that could hinder product development and growth,' said Laura Bygrave, innovation lead at Deloitte Legal. 'We are focused on developing long-term, meaningful relationships with these companies. Starting as the user enables us to understand how a product or service can transform how we work and how it can benefit our clients.'

Almost two-thirds of the selected companies already have operational products or services with a number of existing clients. The rest of the cohort are either at a ‘very-early’, pre-revenue stage of development, or have chosen to work with Deloitte Legal in order to develop their offering further in a sandbox environment.

Members of the first cohort of companies in Deloitte Legal Ventures named today are: Autologyx, Avvoka, CourtQuant, Crafty Counsel, Define, Genie AI, Juralio, Kormoon.ai, PING, Reynen Court, Sente Advisors and Tabled.io.