Google invests £9.5 million in London law firm behind ‘AI paralegal’ which passed the SQE

Avatar photo

By Rhys Duncan on


‘Lawrence’ scored 74% on mock test

The London law firm that created an ‘AI paralegal’ capable of passing part one of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) has received £9.5 million of investment from Google.

Lawhive, founded in 2021, hit headlines last November when it’s AI-powered paralegal successfully completed SQE1, scoring 74% on the multiple choice sample questions available on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s website.

The bot, dubbed ‘Lawrence’, successfully answered 67 of the 90 multiple choice sample questions, despite struggling with what the firm said were issues with “complex chains of logic and wider context”.

Jump forward a few months and Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has pumped £9.5 million into the firm.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Commenting on the the need for AI in law, chief executive of Lawhive, Pierre Proner, said:

“The consumer legal market is totally broken and hasn’t really had an update in hundreds of years. It came out of personal experiences of really battling an airline while trying to get money back during Covid, and feeling totally cut out of the legal system. We went to some high street firms to see if they could help and it was far more expensive than was justified to pay.”

Lawrence, he says, keeps lawyers away from “repetitive legal work”, helping clients find cheaper solutions, whilst ensuring that they’re “not getting an AI chatbot, they are getting a real human lawyer working with them”.

On the new investment, Vidu Shanmugarajah, a partner at Google Ventures, said: “Lawhive not only dramatically improves legal workflows but also makes high quality legal advice more accessible and affordable to a broader audience.”

Earlier this month, one of the UK’s top judges, Lord Justice Birss, noted how “AI used properly has the potential to enhance the work of lawyers and judges enormously”. “It will democratise legal help for unrepresented people” he said, adding that “it can and should be a force for good.”



Humans – the only self-destructing species.

One trick monkey

Might as well replace all solicitors at this point. AI is already faster, cheaper, and more accurate… and won’t be failing SQE unlike some magic circle lawyers.

To oppose the AI takeover is to oppose human progress and ingenuity. Lawyers are dumb, AI developers aren’t.

AI programmer

Join them or beat them.

Just kidding I bet 99.999% of lawyers aren’t intelligent enough for either. It’s a miracle the legal “profession” lasted so long.


So it is self-destructing to innovate and come up with a more efficient and accurate way of doing legal chores?

Why are you even using technology instead of carving on stones? Lawyers are still stuck in the Stone Age and are an obstacle to human progress.

My second big toe

Excellent timing with the headlines on the amount of failing SQE students.

Law is already incredibly saturated with applicants and the roles available are only going to shrink as AI progresses.

SQE exam taker

As a current trainee who passed SQE1 in January in first quintile and who is taking SQE2 in April/May, I would make two points here:

1) Most people who have taken SQE1 say that the SRA sample questions for SQE1 are easier and significantly more straightforward than the actual exam. Any conclusions regarding the capabilities of AI would be much more valuable if the AI bot had sat an actual SQE exam. This is especially given that the actual exams have a higher proportion of questions with “complex chains of logic and wider context” than the SRA sample questions, types of questions on which the AI bot apparently struggled.

2) The AI bot only answered questions for SQE1. The title of the article does not make this clear, just referring to “the SQE”. The two parts of the SQE are very different tests of legal knowledge and application. It would be interesting to see how AI could deal with the written skills in SQE2 of legal writing, case and matter analysis, research and drafting, as it appears that this has not been tested.

John McKee

Wholeheartedly agree the sample questions are in no way representative of the full exam. Google should get their money back.

Secondly Kegsl cheek need to stop referring to the SQE as MCQ questions, they are not.

They are SBAQ and are significantly more difficult to get right. Continuing to call them MCQs seems like a targeted insult to anyone who has successfully passed the four SQE1 exams


Yes, but the mock questions are primary school level compared to the real thing – they are very straightforward, only involving one legal issue per question and most people I know scored almost 100%… most of the real questions are hugely more complex (very fact-heavy and require evaluation of multiple legal issues to get to the answer).

I would be astonished if AI could pass the actual SQE1, but until it does IMO I am not impressed by this

AI > Human Lawyers

When it does you will be begging on the street in awe


As someone that passed one part of SQE1 and failed another (FLK2), the sample test om the SRA website is an absolute joke compared to the difficulty of the real thing. I scored 90% on the sample test but unfortunately failed FLK2… No one should be thinking they’re solid on the facts by just doing the sample test.. Maybe the AI paralegal should be tested on the QLTS questions which are meant to be more difficult and more in line with the SQE1 exam


The answer is to tax all the machines replacing humans

Join the conversation

Related Stories

AI ‘can be a force for good’, says top judge

Help those who can't afford lawyers

Apr 3 2024 1:37pm

EU parliament approves groundbreaking regulations on AI

Potential framework for UK to follow

Mar 15 2024 6:16am