WELCOME to CEE Legal Tech Blog: information resource and community
connecting innovators, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs across law–tech–design who are
interested in Central and Eastern European legal & law tech sector.
CEE – understood here as the area from the Eastern border of Germany to the Western limits of Asia. Hence, consisting of: POLAND, CZECHIA, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, SLOVENIA, CROATIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, SERBIA, MONTENEGRO, KOSOVO, ALBANIA, NORTH MACEDONIA, ESTONIA, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, BELARUS, UKRAINE, MOLDOVA, ROMANIA, BULGARIA, RUSSIA + TURKEY. While we are fully aware of the diversity within this region, we believe there are enough of similarities, shared experiences and goals, especially in comparison to the other broader regions, that it can be considered as a whole, singular, region of Central and Eastern Europe.
Hello there! 🖐
Have you ever wondered why CEE, with its revolutionary spirit, skilled programmers and smart lawyers, has not yet become the Silicon Valley of Legal Tech?
We have! In searching for The Answer, we identified these main problems:
outdated + innovation adverse legal sector
technology benefits mainly big enterprises → digital gap & polarisation grow
CEE is overlooked as a prime market for legal tech or a source of legal innovation.
While outstanding, these are not bulletproof. So, we came up with a few ideas for solving these challenges.
How about, for starters:
changing the mindset → embracing legal & law tech + preparing for data–driven future
demystifying tech + sharing knowledge, experiences & data openly + inclusively
connecting regional legal sector stakeholders + promoting CEE’s achievements & potential externally.
Clearly, such big issues merit further consideration. Bear with us while we briefly address this pickle.
P.S. Well, maybe not that briefly, after all, but thoroughly – we hope! An overview in our Manifesto (aka ‘About’) below. We also discuss each problem in detail with forthcoming blog posts.
GIF Source: GIPHY
Tech tools (such as automation and AI–powered software) along process improvements (like platform–based solutions or design thinking) helped many industries not only stay current in the digital era, but also grow. Technological change is accelerating and became a standard. However, for long, the legal industry has remained sluggish, fearful or even hostile towards implementing innovation. Yet, as millennials and the new generation of legal professionals – engaged in the practice and the business of law – we feel this is an exciting time to be around. We see law as a skill, and, equally, a social as much as a business tool. So, we embrace the opportunities and actively shape this change, in search of optimisation, accessibility and, simply, democratising law.
As pioneers in our areas we have been inspired to experiment. Learning from accomplished innovators, we are determined in staying ahead of the curve. Nevertheless, we recognise that the legal sector in Central and Eastern Europe – our home region, has not kept up with the rapidly changing business and social environments. On the contrary: law with its increased amount of regulation and complication is frequently seen as an obstacle, rather than a safeguard of stability required for development and prosperity. With outdated modes of operations, stifling conservatism and formalism, as well as its own echo chamber, legal sector is yet to experience a true modernisation of service provision – towards more open, usable, accessible and effective.
The digital divide in society is widening. Unsurprisingly, we see it mirrored in the provision of and access to legal services. There is a huge – and growing – gap between the big (mainly multinational) and solo, small and medium enterprises. Although the latter constitute the great majority, it is the former which account for and overwhelmingly benefit from the digital transformation. In the field of legal practice, these are mostly global firms which are able to apply tech tools – vastly created catering for their needs, with price tags excluding smaller players. Cumulatively with unequal access to data – the new gold of the digital era – and more ‘traditional’ issues, like limited talent pools and difficulty to acquire major investments and/or scale them, the gap between the big and small worsens. These inequalities are then reproduced on the level of clients and users of law. Smaller stakeholders are effectively excluded from accessing legal services, which hampers their growth or even existence. “Something as necessary as legal services has become something that only super-rich or super-desperate can afford.” Despite – or because of – the gig economy, disparities increase. Polarisation is exacerbated in a feedback loop.
What is more, many of these challenges become amplified due to the specific economic, geographic and socio–cultural circumstances. It appears that CEE is not a primary market of interest for most of the providers of legal and law tech. This stems from, among others, weak purchasing power, relatively small size of the market(s) and low saturation of legal services. It is singled out especially when compared with the most developed economies, like the US or UK and homogenous regions, such as DACH or Scandinavia. Combined with linguistic barriers – variety of national languages spoken by relatively small populations – we, in CEE, experience a lack of tailored products, relevant literature or even safe fora for sharing experiences and discussing potential remedies. Equally, the common perception is that as much as CEE is not an important receiving market neither is it a force to be reckoned with as a source of innovation in the legal sector. This leaves many entities underserved and a lot of potential flying under the radar of innovation seekers. It also frequently feels like CEE is passively observing the looming change as its subject, rather than an actor actively creating it.
GIF Source: GIPHY
Digital innovation reshapes the functioning of all industries. Despite claims to the contrary – legal sector is not a special exception and cannot stay insulated from change. Legal industry needs this transformation. We, in CEE, need to develop or apply already existing legal and law tech tools, through which we can automate the mundane, time–consuming tasks in order to focus on the bespoke, irreplaceable and highly specialised service delivery. Simultaneously, it will result in the legal sector catching up with the level of technologisation amongst the business and allow for responding effectively to the clients’ needs. The legal sector must embrace digitalisation and disruptive technologies. Legal needs to prepare for the data–driven future – which has already started.
We help CEE’s legal sector stakeholders adapt to this changing market and actively shape it. Our community leads the way by being open and curious, which, in turn, is rewarded by information and knowledge. With these ingredients, the result is an ability to develop and implement effective digital strategies, meeting the clients’ demands. In the process we aspire to tackle the digital gap, since tech has the potential to bridge, instead of exacerbating, the disparities. We are aware that the smaller entities – due to their very nature – need advantages of tech tools, like automation software, just as much or even more than the larger. Within this community we openly share knowledge, creating safe environment to exchange ideas and experiences. Our special focus is supporting the underserved solo, small and medium enterprise sector. Hence, we present legal & law tech tools and techniques which especially cater for this segment of the market. By gathering and compiling data – to make informed decisions and drive legal operations – we aim to accelerate your progress. To begin with, we are firm believers in incremental change where little tweaks can bring outstanding effects. Equally, we are open to disruption – in the name of challenging the established thinking and the goal of solving complex business and legal issues.
CEE Legal Tech Blog addresses the problems and spots opportunities for the legal sector in the region of CEE, at the time of great change. On macro level, digitalisation is a sure candidate for driving sustainable economic growth in CEE, improving the region’s productivity mainly through digital transformation of the public and private sectors. By closing the digital gap with Northern and Western Europe, CEE is believed to be able to earn up to €200 billion in additional GDP by 2025. Legal needs to actively partake. As Rome wasn’t built in a day, we start small. Responding to the lack of a forum for ongoing discussion, sharing experiences and supporting endeavours in the field of legal and law tech – we created this Blog. Its outcomes tackle the issue of missing relevant information: we provide analyses and reporting through our CEE-centred publications. Regarding lack of tailored products, we hope that acting as a group – with an added value of cumulative purchasing power and bigger market – we can strengthen our position and, as a result, adjust the existing offerings to the needs of CEE’s stakeholders. At the same time, we can take the initiative in our own hands by designing our own solutions. To facilitate this process, by forging connections and sparking ideation, our Blog is a community for IT, design and business, as much as lawyers. We also hope that through this Blog we will uncover all the hidden gems – should it turn out that these tailored solutions originating from CEE already exist, though only locally (hence yet unknown to the wider audience). This is in line with the goal of promoting CEE’s achievements, as we have business unicorns and pioneering jurisdictions worth praise as examples to follow on a global scale. With a richness of talent and highly qualified professional workforce, accompanied by drive, CEE is uniquely positioned to capture the digital opportunity. Therefore, shaping this change, we invite you to join as a member of our community!
Image Source: PIXABAY
The goal for our community and the Blog, as its representation, is twofold. Firstly, to advance the field of legal and law tech in and for the benefit of the region. Specifically, to assist legal service providers and recipients in realigning their businesses to the changing, digitalised, environment. We strive to help all legal sector stakeholders becoming futureproof and to tackle digital divide and inequality gap. Secondly, to promote CEE legal and law tech sector’s potential and achievements externally. We believe that growth, powered by tech and design, shall and can benefit not only the biggest entities, but also solo, small and medium enterprises, including those located outside the most developed economies. As we recognise – and live – local particularities and diversity, we know that one size does not fit all, yet we can learn and adopt best practices modified to fit our needs. In doing so we pay attention to inclusivity and accessibility.
For those striving to #make law better applying tech and design – i.a. lawyers, programmers, designers, investors – and interested in the region of CEE, whether based locally or from afar.
CEE Legal Tech Blog publishes reporting and analyses about, from and for the CEE’s legal & law tech community. We post longer pieces of analyses, opinion or interview on a weekly basis – on Tuesdays; while news from the field, as reported by our country leads, whenever developments worth sharing occur.
CEE Legal Tech Blog is a two–way forum. Primarily, we connect various legal tech stakeholders of the region. We, then, proudly present to the wider audience ideas and developments originating in CEE. We also bring our readers the latest legal innovation products and practices from around the world and sieve them through the local realities within our region. Therefore, our initiative aims to bridge CEE with the global legal and law tech sphere, stimulating mutual exchange.
This is an ice breaker and an experimental project, so we appreciate your feedback and participation in furthering our shared agenda!
Hello there! We’re Karolina and Theodora – practising lawyers and tech aficionados. Karolina – a mediator, legal tech start–up’s CEO and UX designer in training; Theodora – a tech geek, entrepreneur and attorney. We met at Legal Technology & Operations course at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Upon discovering shared passions and similar, CEE specific, pain points of our home jurisdictions in Poland and Romania, the idea for the Blog was born.
The rest is history – in the making ⚡ Join us on this journey towards a more effective, innovation-responsive, customer-focused and tech-powered law! 🚀