The legal industry in Africa is currently undergoing a transformation with the advent of LegalTech, a term that refers to technology-driven solutions aimed at improving and simplifying legal services. LegalTech is changing the way justice is delivered across Africa by providing innovative solutions to some of the ingrained problems facing the industry. These solutions range from improving access to legal services, enhancing legal research capabilities, automating legal processes, and even facilitating dispute resolution. The impact of LegalTech on the legal industry in Africa cannot be overstated, as it is helping to overcome some of the traditional challenges faced by the industry, such as high costs, inefficiencies, and a lack of access to justice.
Traditionally, the legal industry is seen as one of the most conservative and slow-moving industries. That notwithstanding, there has been efforts by some startups to make sure that this industry is not left out in the tech wave that is currently sweeping across the continent. LegalTech come in varied forms such as contract lifecycle management tools, research and centralized database tools, practice management tools, compliance and regulatory tools. conferencing tools etc. Below are 5 LegalTech products transforming justice delivery in Africa.
- Law Pavillion : Founded in 2007 in Nigeria, LawPavillion prides itself as Africa’s leading legal technology company leading conversations on digital transformation within the legal sector in Africa. LawPavilion makes conducting legal research easier than ever before. Their flagship product is LawPavilion Electronic Law Reports (LPELR), the most widely accepted and citable Electronic Law Report in Africa. It helps legal practitioners search for authorities on any subject and get result in seconds, rather than the traditional manual search which could take days or even weeks of search. Other solutions created by the company include LawPavilion Case Manager for sole practitioners, law firms and corporations, LawPavilion Court Manager, LawPavilion Solicitors’ ToolKit, LawPavilion Students’ Pack and LawPavilion PRIME.
- Judy Legal : JUDY is a legal research and discovery platform for finding caselaw and legislation from the African commonwealth. In 2018, judy.legal was started as a capstone project by Sadiq Okocha, Bright Oleka and Charles Thompson at MEST in Accra, Ghana. Since then, they have built a strong search engine for legal research with a comprehensive database of cases and laws. Some of the features include subject matter search, editorial summaries as well as general summaries from other cases. The JUDY database currently comprises of cases and statutes from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
- Afriwise: Afriwise is a platform connecting businesses especially those seeking to expand into Africa with high quality legal and business intelligence, making it easier to make informed legal decision before the expansion or launch. Apart from inhouse content they generate on regulatory happenings and updates in Africa, they have collaborated with 100+ African law firms to give easy and instant access to the expertise and know-how you need about local markets in Africa.
- Norebase: Norebase is a digital platform for entrepreneurs and founders to register, manage and expand their business into any African country as well as the USA. With a single infrastructure for Africa-wide expansion, startups can start, scale and operate in every African country. With the platform, users can seamlessly register their businesses, incorporate in the USA and even register trademarks.
- Legafrik: Legafrik is the first digital platform that allows you to manage all your legal needs online in the 17 OHADA countries in Africa. Founded in 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, users can create articles of association and legal documents that are OHADA Law compliant and have them reviewed by lawyers at affordable rates. Users can also recover debts, manage accounts and employees etc. Generally, Legafrik aims to simplify administrative procedures for entrepreneurs and individuals on the African continent.
The impact of technology on the legal industry has been transformative, enabling legal professionals to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve access to justice. LegalTech has brought innovative solutions to traditional problems that the industry has faced, such as automating document drafting and management, providing access to legal services for underserved communities, and enabling online dispute resolution.
While there are still some challenges to overcome, such as regulatory barriers and concerns about the impact of technology on the legal profession, the potential benefits of LegalTech are significant. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, we can expect to see further advancements in the field, leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness in the access to and delivery of legal services