A law firm specialising in acting for employees in employment tribunal cases is one of the recipients of the latest round of government backing for research in lawtech. Virtual firm Monaco Solicitors has developed an online tool helping people who feel they have been badly treated at work to compose a ‘without prejudice’ letter to negotiate an exit package.

Monaco Solicitors is one of six innovators named as recipients of ‘smart grants’ through Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund to develop and accelerate commercialisation of legaltech products and services during the pandemic. The fund is part of a £550m package of measures to support the response of small and medium sized businesses to the pandemic. A total of £591,179 has so far gone to lawtech projects. 

The firm says that Virtual Lawyer enables lay people to 'craft the foundations of a legally accurate letter in less than five minutes'. The service is free and anonymous. The system is based on natural language processing technology, with algorithms trained on real case data. The project has received £98,900 through the grant scheme. 

The other recipients, according to government research agency UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), are:

  • Wyser Ltd, granted £95,106 for a disputes triage tool which will improve efficiency, reduce case backlogs and improve engagement between legal bodies and their customers.
  • Resolv Dispute Management Ltd, granted £99,764, for a software-as-a-service platform that provides seamless and remote access to online dispute resolution services to lawyers, mediators and law firms. 
  • Uhura Solutions Ltd, granted £99,766 for work on AI software to review agreements and provide automatic identification of high-risk clauses in a body of contracts. 
  • Office & Dragons Ltd, granted £97,622 for development of a machine learning-based platform that could efficiently help legal professionals elaborate contracts. 
  • Juralio Ltd, granted £99,991 for an experimental development project to prototype and pilot a highly scalable legal dispute management and collaboration platform which will be attractive to neutral decision makers as well as to disputants, lawyers and their clients.

UKRI said it has seen an increased level of interest from legal tech organisations since the launch of its Next Generation Services programme in 2019.

Although the Sustainable Innovation Fund has now closed, organisations can still apply to the Smart Grants Programme.