Cambridge practice Taylor Vinters has taken the unusual step for a law firm of investing in a legal technology start-up.
The firm has paid an undisclosed sum for a minority stake in Pekama, which provides a cloud-based collaboration tool allowing lawyers, clients and third parties to communicate in real time.
It says this can ’eradicate email congestion, centralise access to legal documents and keep clients up-to-date on the progress of each legal matter’.
The platform also automatically populates data feeds with legal update feeds from intellectual property offices and Companies House, triggered related task management and events.
Pekama’s founder Ze’ev Fisher (pictured) said the system assures client confidentiality by encrypting messages from end to end. ‘The least secure way to communicate is by regular email,’ he said. Users logging in remotely also have to identify themselves by ‘two-factor authentication’ - a code sent by text message as well as a password.
The investment was made as part of a second over-subscribed funding round. Other investors in Pekama include Israeli law firm Lior Pick & Co.
Taylor Vinters said it expects to make further investments in Cambridge-based tech start-ups in the new year.
Ed Turner, managing partner, said: ’This investment is an exciting addition to the Taylor Vinters business portfolio. From a law firm perspective, we can see just how transformative to business efficacy and client satisfaction and retention the Pekama software can be and we are already trialling it within our business.
’Our investment in Pekama represents a considerable shift in the traditional law firm business model we see elsewhere, which only commits capital to initiatives the firms owns or accesses exclusively.’
He added: ’Legal Tech is a burgeoning sector, akin to FinTech, FashTech, AdTech and the ”internet of things”, all fast-paced sectors where Taylor Vinters has seen increased client demand across all of our offices. This investment in Pekama is one way we show our ongoing commitment to participating in the Cambridge innovation ecosystem.’
Pekama is based at St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, Europe’s first technology business incubator.
David Gill, mentor to Pekama and managing director of the centre, said: ’The real benefit of Taylor Vinters’ involvement for Pekama is the live collaboration with a user whose standards are necessarily demanding. Pekama couldn’t have a better testing ground for software designed to improve lawyer-client communication.’