Dentons’ NextLaw Labs Partners with IBM, Signs First Portfolio Company

Dentons, the global law firm, announced that its accelerator, NextLaw Labs, has partnered with IBM to create a technology platform using IBM Cloud to facilitate the creation and deployment of legal applications.

Through the partnership, NextLaw Labs will be able to provide legal tech startups with access to IBM Cloud and the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups, as well as Bluemix, the platform-as-a-service that allows developers to build, run, deploy, and manage applications on the cloud.

Joe Andrew, the Global Chairman of Dentons, said, “This is an important moment in our profession. Joining the world’s largest law firm with the world’s leading technology provider is just one of the ways that NextLaw Labs is working to transform the legal industry.  By focusing on using new technology to work smarter and ultimately lower our clients’ costs, our interests and our clients’ interests are one and the same.”

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NextLaw Labs, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dentons, is a business accelerator focused on investment in and development of new technology that will transform the legal practice by improving client services and enhancing client solutions.

The accelerator also announced today that it signed its first portfolio company, ROSS Intelligence Inc.,which is developing ROSS, an IBM Watson-powered legal advisor app designed to streamline legal research.  Using Watson’s cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers can ask ROSS a research question in natural language, and ROSS will proceed to sift through the law, gather evidence, and provide an answer, citing legal cases and indicating its level of confidence that the answer correct.  As cases are added to the database, any information relevant to a lawyer’s previous queries can be sent via push notification to his or her phone.

Regarding the accelerator and the signing of ROSS Intelligence, NextLaw Labs CEO Dan Jansen said, “Technology is now and will continue to be a real differentiator in the legal profession.  The potential in companies like ROSS shows how the approach to solving client challenges is going to change.  NextLaw Labs wants to be a part of transforming what is possible into a tangible offering in today’s legal market.”

Legal tech has been an area of intense interest in recent years, as law firms seek out technological solutions to the time-intensive and automatable aspects of law: research, documentation, and billing.