Young African lawyers are driving change with legal tech

Prior to the pandemic, attorneys and clients were required to appear before a physical court or attorney to initiate legal proceedings. In Kenya, that meant appearing before a judge in a robe and wig. There could have been fewer traditional institutions than lawyers. Fast forward 18 months and the profession is almost unrecognizable.

“We are aware that law firms can no longer work as rigidly as in the past and that our clients are dynamic, on the 21st), in Nairobi.

A cornerstone of most societies around the world is that justice must be served without interruption. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, justice has been done to restricted movements and restrictions on face-to-face meetings in virtual courtrooms created by video conferencing apps like Zoom.

African law firms have quickly adapted to the new realities, adopting technology to speed law enforcement and keep them competitive.

Hope mukami / bird

Otanga believes that technology plays a fundamental and irreplaceable role in the delivery of business services today, with the current realities of business practice continuing to drive a legal tech revolution, well beyond the current remote work models sparked by the pandemic.

Almost as if the floodgates had opened after centuries of downtime, the profession seeks to harness the technology to advance almost every manual service in this book, including contract preparation and review.

Automated text messaging, legal tech apps, and social media are emerging as key media used to provide legal services and advice.

Legal technology revolution in Africa

Kieti Law, for example with offices in Eastern and Southern Africa, is preparing for the technology revolution by leveraging all feasible digital and technical tools to bring its services closer to customers.

“We want to make sure our customers don’t have to travel far to reach us, so we use technology to make us accessible, efficient and relevant,” said Otanga.

The company currently uses legal podcasts and vlogs to spread information on emerging legal issues, deploy e-learning tools, and run tech design thinking programs to equip employees to keep up with the revolution.

In 2020, another African law firm, Anjarwalla & Khanna (A&K), partnered with Microsoft to launch a Legal Tech Incubator to help develop and promote innovative technology-based solutions to legal challenges and promote legal and legal practice on the To improve continent.

“The initiative aims to help budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable applications for the African market and ensure access to justice,” said Dominic Rebelo, A & K’s innovation partner, in a statement.

The Kenya-based law firm has offices in Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

In addition, young groups of legal entrepreneurs under the age of 30 are driving the revolution in the often conservative sector, a report shows.

The Global Legal Tech Report for Africa 2020 shows that the continent has the most (53 percent) of the youngest founders of legal tech companies, compared to countries in Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand, where the founders are over 30 years old.

“This new generation of lawyers in Africa is not constrained by legacy practices and is reinventing the legal profession through legal tech,” said Eric Chin, Alpha Creates Researcher, in the report.

The report, produced through collaboration between African and international legal and technology networks, identified Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe as emerging legal technology hotspots.

The majority of African legal tech firms would like to expand their activities into the global market, with a high preference for local markets, according to the report.

West Africa is the most preferred growth market (75 percent), followed by East Africa (67 percent) and 42 percent said they rated southern Africa’s markets.

It is predicted that digitized legal services for individuals and SMEs will have a transformative impact on African societies and economies, especially in the post-COVID era.

That sentiment seems to pull in the legal community, with Otanga arguing that the pandemic’s catalytic impact is unlikely to be reversed, despite the urge to resume an element of “normality” and move societies into a “post-pandemic” environment.

Rather, it is likely that justice will be served in virtual courtrooms across the continent.

You can find the full report here

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