We’re touching down for the first time ever in Africa in under two months! Future Lawyer Week Africa will take place in Uganda, a hub for the legal technology revolution, from the 21st through the 23rd of February 2023. We have three days of action planned: from a tour of our partner’s headquarters, the Innovation Village, to a hackathon, to a full day of legal tech panels and presentations, we’re thrilled to bring the magic of Future Lawyer Week down to Africa! Check out our latest blog to find out what to expect!
But, why Africa? Why Uganda? The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a huge shift in the African legal industry: the adoption of everyday technology. While justice was served over Zoom, the law sector began advancing many other aspects of the job, including manual services like contract preparation and review. Law was once a conservative, old-fashioned industry in Africa – but as tradition was pushed out of the window, it gave way to a new path of undiscovered potential. From improving efficiency to becoming more accessible, legal tech in Africa has made leaps and bounds in recent years.
The transition of the legal sector to a tech-reliant industry began as early as 1950. However, this only kicked off in the last 25 years or so, and has – like many other sectors – grown exponentially with new innovation. Legal tech in Africa is currently developing under two main pretences: access to justice for low-income customers; and legal operations tech designed for firms to use and be able to offer more efficient and cost-saving services. Despite a turbulent and high-risk startup environment, there are over 50 legal startups in Africa whose primary objectives can be grouped into either E-discovery, Online Legal Services, Lawyers Marketplaces, Legal Documentation, or Legal Practice Management.
Developing from a previously-strict industry, a few startups have really managed to make their mark.
Afriwise is a software that aims to help its users find and understand African laws and regulations through a smooth user experience. This eliminates an enormous source of chaos for businesses trying to find information and guidance.
A & K
Anjarwalla & Khanna (A&K), an African law firm, partnered with Microsoft in 2020 to launch a Legal Tech Incubator, which will support the development of legal tech innovations, enhancing legal practices across the continent.
Africa’s first legal chatbot was developed by LawPadi, and provides helpful articles, guides, and even videos that cover rights and duties.
Legal Interact is a legal tech company that, since 1982, has been dedicated to building solutions for the legal community in South Africa and beyond. From assisting with contract management to financial organisation to connecting every area of your law practice, their integrated software solutions are designed to streamline legal services. They’ve helped over 900 customers across more than five African countries, and with their academy portal, have trained over 400 eager learners.
BarefootLaw was one of the first legal tech services in Uganda and is still one of the most recognisable. This non-profit organisation utilises technology to deliver legal information to people across Africa to develop legal solutions for their own justice needs. They offer assistance through both technology and traditional methods and have served over 800,000 people. This massive number is easily attributable to their use of social media (primarily Facebook), SMS, radio, and public events to deliver free legal information. The company recently won 5 million Ugandan shillings in the second round of “UG Needs More of You”, a campaign run by Airtel Uganda.
After winning, BarefootLaw announced that the prize money will go towards establishing a village community justice grant for women – specifically those in Kole District in Northern Uganda. Their dedication to delivering free, accessible law advice, guidance, and information has already helped thousands, proving just how amazing legal technology can be.
Legal technology has proven to not only save lawyers time and money, but make legal services more accessible – and change lives. By streamlining legal processes, lawyers are able to get back to their clients and larger goals faster and easier, creating less of a ‘red tape’ divide between what people need from legal services.
Our amazing Future Lawyer Week Africa event partner, The Innovation Village, focuses on providing options for those in technology. They take on entrepreneurs and connect them to the paths that will make their dreams a reality. With expertise in market making and the resources of a group dedicated to entrepreneurship, they’re a revolutionary force shaping the future of the legal tech sphere in Uganda.
The Innovation Village is a launchpad for leading entrepreneurs and innovators working to solve the most pressing challenges using technology. Every day, they devise avenues to leverage innovation, entrepreneurship and technology to deliver lasting solutions to challenges in the world. Their goal is to create a destination that grows companies that matter and are centred around solving the biggest industry and community challenges. They do this by converging Network, Talent, Capital and Physical Assets leading Uganda and the region into industry 4.0.
Their projects have taken on many unique facets of entrepreneurship – from placing refugees with the right job to Hackathons to working with the vital agricultural sector, The Innovation Village continues to prove their dedication to improving the paths of dreamers. They’ve worked with many game-changers, such as Stanbic Bank, Mercy Corps, Enabel, and The World Bank Group.
On the first day of Future Lawyer Week Africa, the Innovation Village’s amazing team will host a tour of their headquarters. They’ll also be speaking on several of our panels and will be present throughout the event – this is your chance to get to know Uganda’s fastest-growing startup engine and one of the driving forces behind the shift in legal technology in Africa.
Future Lawyer Week Africa will also be packed with other exciting things all centred on legal technology, like a full-day ‘Access to Justice’ Hackathon and a conference loaded with the best and brightest from across the industry! With not only our first-ever event in Africa, but an exciting collaboration with the amazing Innovation Village, these are a few unmissable days!
Learn everything you need to know about the event over on the website.
Already interested? Grab your tickets now!