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At the Forefront of Legal Tech and Innovation: A Summer at Nextlaw Labs

At the Forefront of Legal Tech and Innovation: A Summer at Nextlaw Labs

I first heard about Nextlaw while working as a summer law student at the Dentons Toronto office in 2018.   

I was responsible for using new legal technology tools being implemented at Dentons to increase legal practice efficiency.  With an academic and employment background in engineering and automated systems, exposure to these emerging legal technology tools immediately motivated me to seek out other potential opportunities to drive legal practice efficiency through technology.  I began to draw parallels between the practice of law and the operation of a production line, with similar bottlenecks and repetitive tasks. 

I was impressed that Dentons is not only aware of technology’s potential in law, but actively leading the way by launching the industry’s first catalyst for tech-based innovation and investing in promising early-stage legal tech through Nextlaw Ventures.  I reached out to the Nextlaw team to express my keen interest in the intersection of technology and legal practice.  This outreach was rewarded by a unique secondment placement with Nextlaw the following summer.  

Dentons and Nextlaw provided me with an amazing opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley to work face-to-face with the Nextlaw team for a portion of my tenure. I worked hand in hand with the experienced team members, who shared with me the internal mechanics of Nextlaw operations, including deal pipeline management, product vetting, relationship building, project management, and creative approaches to solving business problems both internally at Dentons and for its clients. I was fully immersed in the world of legal technology, and had a lot of fun too (suffice to say, many tacos were eaten). I can’t say enough about how terrific the Nextlaw team was to me! 

I continued to work remotely for Nextlaw once I returned to Toronto, vetting applicant company products as well as working with our current portfolio companies on acceleration opportunities and staying abreast of the rapidly expanding global legal tech landscape.  I also dove deep into Nextlaw’s internal data and broader legal tech industry information to derive key insights, such as emerging “use cases” and global trends. The data analytics insights and resulting report, when combined with other business considerations, will contribute to Nextlaw’s future investment considerations and inform technology adoption strategies considered by the firm.  At the conclusion of my Nextlaw summer work experience, I presented my data analytics conclusions and market research to the Dentons Toronto partners and received enthusiastic feedback. 

The opportunity to work with Nextlaw Labs and Nextlaw Ventures was a career highlight and a true testament of Dentons’ dedication to advance efficient legal technology solutions for its clients. I hope to continue to use my legal tech experience to drive innovation at the firm. 

 

Michael is fascinated by the intersection of legal practice and technology. He graduated in 2017 as the gold medalist from Queens University in Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He recently completed his JD at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, focusing on corporate, securities and intellectual property law. Michael plans to pursue a career in venture tech and emerging growth companies. He will be returning to Dentons Toronto in September to begin articling. Feel free to connect with Michael on LinkedIn.