The Law Society for England and Wales has invited law firms to take part in a new innovation challenge to develop technology to improve responsible data sharing in the legal sector.

Leading the challenge, UK Research and Innovation body Innovate UK is awarding up to £1.15 million per project to law firms who can present the most transformative ideas.

According to Innovate UK, the aim of the competition is to “develop responsible data access or sharing methods in the legal services, insurance and accountancy sectors”.

These ideas should have a keen focus on enabling the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies.

To be in with a chance of winning the competition, law firms can apply to take part in a three-day Innovation Lab, running from 14 to 16 October 2019. Participants will then have four weeks to work collaboratively to finalise proposals for research and innovation projects, before submitting them for review.

The deadline for applications to take part in the competition is 12pm on Wednesday 04 September. For more information, please click here.

The new competition builds on a sector-wide push to introduce and implement new technologies to benefit consumers and law firms alike.

In July, the Legal Access Challenge, developed in partnership with legal regulators and Nesta Challenges, invited legal tech start-ups, law firms, alternative legal providers, advice organisations and law schools to develop “ambitious direct-to-user products, services and platforms”.

This could include technology such as guided pathways, expert systems, chatbots, automated document assembly, natural language processing, machine learning and online dispute resolution platforms.

It comes after research revealed that almost six in 10 (58 per cent) customers in England and Wales believe that the legal system is “not set up for ordinary people”.

For advice on grant funding and other forms of finance, get in touch with our expert team today.

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About our Legal team
With Mark Sharpley, executive committee member of the UK200 Legal Group, and fellow partner Nicki Shipley and our consultant Jeremy Allison at the helm of an experienced team of legal finance specialists, the Smailes Goldie Group is well positioned to offer tax and accounting advice to solicitors. Whether you are a sole practitioner or a multi-partner firm, the Smailes Goldie group has the expertise and understanding of all financial matters relating to the legal profession, including: compliance services, Solicitors’ Accounts Rule audits, preparing annual accounts, tax advice for both firms and/or partners, and advising on LLP status. For more information on any of the issues covered in this bulletin, please contact Mark Sharpley at

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