Ulster University teams up with Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie to launch UK’s first ‘legal innovation centre’

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Helping law students become tech-savvy

Ulster University has launched what is believed to be the United Kingdom’s first ever “legal innovation centre”, thanks to the support of international law firms Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie.

Speaking at its launch yesterday, Ulster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon, explained that the new hub is born out of the “growing recognition of the crucial and ever-expanding role of technology in law”.

As well as undertaking “much-needed research” into new innovations, the centre will help students and lawyers — who are interested in law-tech — prepare themselves for the “challenges of legal service provision in the information age.” Nixon, continuing to trumpet the benefits of the project, said:

The legal sector is immensely important to our economy and in recent years Northern Ireland has attracted significant investment from several global law firms which has created a hub of legal expertise with a focus on innovation. This new centre will underpin the strength of our legal sector and further enhance Ulster University’s global reputation for law and computer science research excellence.

The centre, which will be led by three Ulster University academics, will also give law students the opportunity to get to grips with the latest pieces of legal technology. These include Clio, a law practice management platform, and Caselines, a system that helps prepare legal bundles and electronic courtroom presentations.

Financial support for the new centre has come from Invest Northern Ireland (an economic development agency) and international duo Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie. Both firms have a presence within the country, with Allen & Overy launching its Belfast legal services centre in 2011, and Baker McKenzie later in 2014.

Commenting on the launch, Jane Townsend — who is a partner and head of Allen & Overy’s Belfast office — revealed that “knowledge-led business and technology is pivotal to everything we do.” Continuing, she said:

This collaboration gives us the opportunity to work towards these and other goals while deepening our strong relationship with Ulster University. We’ve been greatly impressed by the high calibre of the Legal Innovation Centre and its strategy for accelerating innovation and technology in the legal sector.

Jason Marty, executive director of Baker McKenzie’s Northern Ireland outpost, claimed the new centre will provide tangible impacts in how we build our teams, technologies, and business. He explained:

We also look forward to contributing to the good work of the centre on issues with direct benefit to the people and legal system of Northern Ireland and beyond.

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hahaha! Top bantah.



How are Alan’s ovaries today?



He’s a womb-man y’know!



Will no doubt provide plenty of decent law graduates an inroad to the back office battery farms set up in Belfast.




I think a lot of the firms investing in these ‘innovation centres’ will have a lot of issues long term with staff turnover. I have friends who work in some of them and they are all actively seeking training contracts/other jobs. They are using it as a stop gap and had to be very coy about it during interviews to get their role.

I think these firms need to be a bit more savvy and stop marketing it as an ‘alternative legal career’ which we know it isn’t. No one really buys that.

We all know it’s about paying someone £18k a year to do some of the work of trainees you’d need to pay £40k + to do in the City.


Ex HSF (Belfast) Stopgapper

This is true to some extent, but with some international firms in Belfast it is openly accepted that the Legal Professional role (or whatever the firm calls it) is a gap filler -especially with the likes of HSF, where the role consists solely of document review (I can’t speak for the other firms). They may have a high turnover of staff, but it’s doc review – any law grad can do it with little training.

On the other hand, doc reviewers that show potential can be internally recruited to training contracts in London. I know this happens annually at HSF, though it’s 200+ doc reviewers competing for something like 2 spots.

Ultimately I think the salary difference is justified. First, the cost of living in Belfast is much lower. Second, it’s solely doc review – I’m under the impression that at least some firms in London give trainees more responsibility than that. What I don’t think is justified is the divergent salaries between law grad doc reviewers (~£19k) and qualified solicitor doc reviewers (~£30k) – both do the exact same job.



If it’s 2017 and you’re a student and you need help in becoming more “tech savvy”, there really is no hope for you.



If it’s 2017 and you’re a president and you rely on Fox news for your information, there really is no hope for you.


King Bumboil of Siam

There really is no hoping at all ,Sir



Why the FUCK is a shitehole like Ulster getting attention from A&O? Where is the love for my uni? it’s aberyswyth by the way. Fuck you cucks



Ulster is actually pretty decent for law, at least at the postgraduate level.



Oh I see, so when it’s too late. That’s fine, nobody gives a shit about you if you can’t get a TC at undergrad. HAHAHA



Not everyone wants a TC…


Tadhg O'Womble

That’s dead on in them days, but Nrn Irn is shite now. Ever since the peace deal,


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