Law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas launches legal-tech incubator

Law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas launches legal-tech incubator
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20 Feb, 2019

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, the country’s largest full-service law firm, has launched an incubator to scale and assist technology startups working in the legal domain.

The firm said that Prarambh, which it claims is the country’s first legal-tech incubator, will work with young entrepreneurs to devise technology-based solutions in areas such as access to justice, dispute resolution, transaction efficiencies, and managing legal talent.

“Legal-tech generally comprises of startups that are developing technology to facilitate compliance, contracts, automated documentation etc in the legal industry,” Komal Gupta, head of artificial intelligence & innovation at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, told TechCircle.

She said that AI has use-cases in due diligence, legal research and e-discovery for reviewing electronic documents on a review tool as opposed to manually going through volumes of files and paper. 

Gupta, who will lead the incubation team, joined Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas two years ago to work at its ‘innovation lab’, which is a broader initiative for exploring cutting-edge technology and different delivery models for practising law at the firm.

Under the incubation platform, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas will identify three to four potential startups in the legal space and provide mentorship, co-working space along with intellectual capital for six months. 

“We are giving intellectual capital to them and will keep an open mind about financial support,” said Rishabh Shroff, partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

The incubator will also be guided by a board of mentors comprising venture capital funds and legal advisors.

Justin North, founder of independent consultancy Janders Dean, will be part of Prarambh’s mentor board. Janders Dean advises law firms on technology and innovation.

“Half a billion dollars has been pumped into legal-tech startups from VCs in the US, UK and Europe in the past few months,” North told TechCircle. “One of the reasons why the firm is setting up an incubator platform is to cater to the untapped market.” 

North is also an advisor to Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and has worked on defining the innovation agenda of the firm and in the adoption of latest technologies including the implementation of AI.

“Three areas where we are seeing tech bringing impact are: speed, cost and access. We want to do predictive modelling using data and statistics to analyse previous history to be able to predict outcome. Startups that are using tech to resolve disputes online and arbitration are also taking the load off courts,” he added.

The firm will initially house Prarambh at its New Delhi office and later expand to other locations. It will start accepting applications from April 8 onwards and the shortlisted startups will be announced by the first week of July.

Led by managing partner Cyril Shroff, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has more than 625 lawyers — including more than 100 partners — and offices across Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Chennai.