Magic circle firm Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer and DWF Ventures, a business set up by international firm DWF, have joined a new academia-industry tie-up aiming to explore the impact of technology on the legal sector. They will work with an interdisciplinary team from the University of Manchester’s schools of law, business and computer science, in what the university says is the first research collaboration of its type in the UK.

One aim of the initiative is to ensure graduates have the technological skills to work in the sector in the future. It will also fund and direct basic research on  emerging technology trends that may affect the legal sector and examine their potential impact on the provision of legal services, the university said. It will be open to additional members from the legal, technology and associated fields.

Professor Andrew James, University of Manchester

Professor Andrew James

Professor Andrew James, University of Manchester

Professor Andrew James, director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at the University’s Alliance Manchester Business School, said: ’It is intended that this consortium becomes a platform for innovation and a voice of recognised expertise in this emerging field. The university has a strong reputation of collaborative research with industry partners. By combining our research expertise with business awareness, we hope this work will result in the establishment of improved service provision within the legal sector.’

DWF Ventures managing director Jonathan Patterson said: ‘At DWF Ventures we have seen the benefits of collaboration and the value that academic input can bring to research & development so the chance to help develop this consortium from the outset was too good an opportunity to miss.’