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Osborne Clarke and the University of Bristol's legal tech scheme challenges Law and STEM students to find business solutions using new legal technology


Written on 24 September 2020

The firm has tapped into the University’s strong reputation in the fields of STEM and law to create a pipeline of new talent.

Osborne Clarke has partnered with the University of Bristol for its Legal and Emerging Tech Vacation Scheme. As part of the scheme, six students are taking part in a virtual two-week work placement at the firm.

The students – half of who are studying law while the other half are studying STEM subjects – have been paired up and challenged to work together using their different skill sets on a project to resolve a real business problem using new technologies.

By pairing the two disciplines together, the scheme aims to stimulate thinking around the use of emerging technologies and how digitalisation can offer more efficient client service.  As part of their projects the students will consider some of the latest legal technology which is set to streamline and enhance legal services. Each pair will be assigned one of the following challenges:

 Smarter drafting: To look for a more efficient way to prepare commercial draft agreements and to standardise Osborne Clarke’s approach.

 Transaction management: To use technology to make the process of transacting a real estate deal more efficient. To enable Partners and clients to easily monitor a deal’s progress.

 Chatbots: To look at how chatbot technologies can enhance data input for legal matters and be used to monitor progress on matters.

The students are receiving additional mentoring from members of the IT and legal teams. They will also attend workshops and meet with different Osborne Clarke specialists to see how new technologies are impacting on the law and how the firm is utilising new technologies in the services it offers to clients.

At the end of the two weeks, each pair will present their ideas to a panel of Osborne Clarke experts. After the work placement, the firm will offer students ongoing mentoring and the opportunity to take their projects further.

Commenting on the programme, Nathan Hayes IT Director at Osborne Clarke who is leading this initiative said: “The University of Bristol has an outstanding reputation in law and in the STEM fields and we are very excited to see the ideas the students present. By pairing the different disciplines we want to generate new ideas and a fresh perspective on how we can better leverage technology to create greater business efficiencies. We also want to encourage the students to think about the different career paths law offers and to explore careers in legal technology.”