The app was developed in collaboration with three law firms. It's currently only available to Pekama's existing clients, but will be made generally available in a couple of months.
How will it be priced, and will it be made available for lawyers in the EU?
- We have decided to go for a per-case, one-off payment, pricing. We will probably make Pekama free for internal communications on general matters that a law firm faces (not case-specific). Packages for multiple cases can be negotiated. We will happily take clients from the EU tomorrow if someone would be interested.
Can you tell me about the features and how the app differs from communication apps that aren’t specifically designed for the legal vertical?
- It is unique to the legal vertical in a number of ways:
1) It is a chat that supports email. Conversations can happen within the system but also send an email copy and pick up the response. This is not a feature that is legal-specific but it would make no sense in non-service verticals. It is made such that lawyers can work with all of their clients and to support gradual adoption of the software.
2) It is matter-centric – Pekama can have multiple conversations that relate to one matter. This supports a legal matter that would normally have a conversation with a client, a conversation within the legal team and also a conversation between the clients and themselves. The permission structure was set up to be peer-to-peer and support two different teams with public and private areas of collaboration.
3) Data integrations – our system pulls out data from the patent office, trademark office and UK companies house. The plan is to add data integrations. That’s very legal-specific.
4) Other integrations – we started building an integration to the most important legacy document management system used by lawyers (and pretty much only lawyers) and on our roadmap is building integrations to the popular time tracking, invoicing etc. apps. We will build it all such that lawyers can have the same experience that other industries have with integrations to other tools that they use.
Do you provide integration with other solutions, such as e-discovery, document automation and management software?
- Not yet, but we will.
Pekama describes itself as "The Online Ecosystem for Lawyers". The company, which offers collaboration portals, process automation and e-mail organization, among other services, recently received backing from law firm Taylor Vinters. Pekama was founded by Zeev and Eyal Fisher in 2014. Zeev, a former lawyer in the UK and in Israel, also runs his own Cambridge-based IP consultancy.
How did you make the transition from IP lawyer to legal tech entrepreneur?
- I decided to try and solve my own firm’s issues. With this succeeding, I decided to make this the single thing I do.
Are lawyers really as slow to adapt new technologies as rumor would have it?
- Yes – they are. Whilst we generated a lot of excitement, I am yet to see a law firm describing itself as “moving fast, breaking things, disruptive”, etc. Lawyers are trained to avoid risk and think twice on everything and are not trained to change how they operate quickly to disrupt markets. That said, lawyers are looking for good technology to help them do their tasks.
How will the business of law change the coming 5-10 years, where will we see the biggest changes?
- In my opinion, lawyers will close the gap with the cloud. This will be the biggest change. I don’t see robot lawyers meeting us in the 5 year mark. However, in the 10 year mark, I think that we will start seeing bots giving lawyers answers on questions that they would previously instruct a legal assistant to research.
What's it like collaborating with Taylor Vinters? Will we see more partnerships like this?
- Wonderful. We are getting great support from Taylor Vinters. We completed deploying Pekama in their IP department and are now looking to extend it to other departments. There will be more partnerships like it. We will release a notice on another one with a much larger firm soon.
How do you envision the future for Pekama?
- I believe that we can be the tool that meets lawyers when they come to the office and say goodbye when they leave. We look better than Outlook and we provide a lot more functionality and ease of use.