Dera Nevin, a former e-Discovery counsel at Proskauer Rose in New York City, is currently on the European leg of a legal technology world tour that takes her to 18 cities in five weeks. She's documenting her encounters with legal tech profiles across the globe for a film that will screen at the Global Legal Hackathon finals gala later in April. There's also a book in the works, she tells me over breakfast in Stockholm.
- I'm tired, no question. I'm good at logistics, but this has been complex and challenging. I had 14 days to investigate visas, start communicating with people on the ground and to set up everything in my life to be able to be away for five weeks. Lots of people said it was impossible, says Nevin.
So far she's covered the U.S. west coast, Australia, Shanghai and Singapore, Dubai, Eastern Europe and Berlin. Next up is London, after that Africa and South America. Berlin seems to be a center of excellence, she notes.
- Berlin has a thriving legal tech ecosystem. It's developed, funded, all the things you hope for. But it is very focused on the German market. Maybe that's why a lot of people haven't heard the great companies there, but there are companies and there have even been a number of exits.
What's your impression of the Swedish legal tech community?
- You're high tech, you have the infrastructure. You're also well organized, well educated and reasonably affluent. It seems the legal vertical hasn't attracted the same attention as others. But when that happens will be a lot of opportunities. It also seems there is no clear catalyst.
- You need to think about what problems must be solved in Sweden to get people interested and excited to participate. Legal technology is important, because it supports the overall legal infrastructure of a country, and a strong legal infrastructure is an important factor in continued robust economic participation.
The tour is partly sponsored by the organizers of the Global Legal Hackathon. The documentary is the tangible, but not the only, goal.
- We're extending communities. Hopefully we can raise awareness that there is a global community emerging in legal tech. We saw some overlap in ideas and thought it would be good to help people accelerate them. Many ideas will fail, but if we have more of them it increeases the overall success. It is only through mass action the needle is going to shift.
- Can hackathons change the world? No, but they can change the conversation and draw in the people that need to be involved. Today it's largely a conversation between a few stakeholders.
Follow Dera Nevin on Twitter and on LinkedIn, where she posts her impressions from her travels - here are her impressions from Stockholm.
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