“While the dawn of digital services is imminent, few firms are currently able to invest the time and resources required to offer next generation services. Engine B will leverage the audit firms to install its data access platform and will establish a key market to accelerate the development and adoption of new digital services.” 

Government and regulation
AS fintech expands on these shores, we should remain cognisant of the fact that this hotbed of tech innovation couldn’t be as fertile without the support of Government and regulators.  

As outlined in the UK Government’s Fintech Sector Strategy, public sector developments include the creation of the Innovation Hub and Regulatory Sandbox by the Financial Conduct Authority to support fintech firms to test and grow their products.  Open Banking, driven forward in 2016, allows consumers and SMEs to access a range of new and innovative products that better meet their needs, by providing third party providers with secure access to their current accounts.  

Equally, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a reminder of the prevalence of digitisation and the need for Government and companies to protect consumer data from misuse, fraud or hacking if they are to build consumer trust in technology driven businesses. 
Law and tech 
Arguably regarded by some as outdated, it’s unsurprising that tech savvy entrepreneurs are also looking to shake up Scotland’s legal sector. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics seen in many fintech products, stand-out lawtech products are steadily finding traction in the legal market. Innovations include legal document reviewing software that at the press of a button can cut by 80% the time spent on important but previously laborious tasks such as due diligence and compliance. 

I believe UK-wide law firm Shoosmiths is among firms to have positively harnessed some of the significant new law tech systems that drive efficiencies and improvement. Shoosmiths has embraced new technologies like DocuSign, Contract Express and HighQ to streamline the documentation process, using automation to fast-track time-consuming, albeit necessary, legal procedures. 

Moreover, Shoosmiths is increasingly receptive to utilising productivity enhancing software.  As experts in our respective legal fields and with a thorough understanding of the best ways to work across the business, the firm is well-placed to develop its own time-saving software for the benefit of clients. 

It’s an example of how lawyers are applying a deep understanding of legal processes to devise powerful tech driven solutions for the benefit of clients.
Indeed, with blockchain having the potential to change the way lawyers manage transactions, funds and complete contracts more securely, it’s only a matter of time before these technologies are considered essential. 

Whilst I suspect there are many still resistant to change, at Shoosmiths we consider it imperative to be agile and open to change. Adopting technology-based solutions will both help our clients to save time and money and free up valuable time for colleagues to focus on more challenging tasks.  

We operate in an ever-changing financial and legal landscape and in my opinion legal firms and financial services firms alike must firmly embrace the technologies available. 

However, though law firms may need to steadily adapt to work more closely with those utilising fintech products such as crowdfunding or fundraising apps, let’s not simply conclude that lawyers in the corporate and commercial space will be replaced entirely by robots.   

For I believe there will remain a need for skilled corporate lawyers to lead more complex and larger transactions, where the intrinsic value of having a trusted advisor at the helm of a deal beats the efficiency of a coded equivalent.