Allen & Overy invests seed corn funding into “experimental” technology group i2

Allen & Overy (A&O) is launching an experimental “ideas and investment” group aimed at developing new technology-related opportunities, including in the area of artificial intelligence (AI).

The firm said the group, known as “i2”, consists primarily of several of its younger lawyers as well as technology specialists.

It will be mentored by A&O banking partner and training principal David Campbell along with CTO Ian Storer.

The firm said the move was being made in response to some of rapidly changing, technology-driven changes currently taking place in the legal market.

“Today’s 17-year-olds will be joining A&O and our clients around the end of this decade with very different expectations about how work and collaboration should occur; how technology can boost productivity and performance; and how man and machine can add up to more than the sum of the parts,” said the firm’s head of central knowledge management, Ruth Ward. 

“We’re just now formalising a small experimental ‘ideas and investment’ (or i2) group of mainly young lawyers and technologists to pursue these opportunities.”

Ward confirmed that the i2 group would have some seed corn funding at its disposal from A&O along with a mandate to experiment with new technologies. 

“It is setting out to be agile and shed the more deliberate processes that have to accompany our normal enterprise-wide technology development,” Ward added. 

A&O already has a track record in experimenting early with emerging technologies where the firm believes there is strong potential in improving or delivering new client services.

Examples in which it has invested or is involved include the US based Legal OnRamp (27 March 2015); highQ; and A&O’s aosphere and docGenix. 

More detail on A&O’s approach to knowledge management (KM) and AI-related trends specifically can be found in today’s in-depth KM special report.

The KM report also features contributions from David Halliwell, director of knowledge, risk and legal services at Pinsent Masons; Kathy Jacob, head of knowledge management at Baker & McKenzie; and Cathy Mattis, head of process improvement at Berwin Leighton Paisner.