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Innovation Roundtable – Legal Innovation, R&D and Tech

LegalTech Talks – live 12th August 2020 at 15:00 (BST).

Discussion summary: 

With innovation at the forefront of legal community to allow closer alignment with clients, this session will discuss the importance of R&D for delivery of legal services and driving innovative client solutions.

This panel will discuss the legal sector innovation hubs, new solution offerings and the challenges of delivery whilst exploring the long-term benefits this offers.

Registration for this event is now closed. Subscribe here to keep up to date with future announcements, and to receive access to the recording.


Rachel Barnes (Chair)
Head of Collaborations, Ashurst Advance

Rachel is Head of Collaborations within the global Ashurst Advance division. Ashurst Advance combines NewLaw expertise with a collaborative approach and long-term perspective to solve our clients’ wider business challenges, with a view to being recognised by Ashurst’s clients as a leader in the efficient and flexible delivery of legal services.

Head of Collaborations is a newly created role, focussed on identifying and embedding a network of strategic collaborations in delivery, data and technology. Not only with vendors, but also with other law firms (coopetition) and with our clients.

Prior to this Rachel spent time in innovation in the legal sector, in investment banking and also in the start-up world. She is experienced in designing and driving an innovation agenda, focussed on culture, clients, data and technology.

Rachel’s enthusiasm is for culture change, creating a creative mindset and environment, in which new ways of working can be embedded and ideas can blossom. She is passion about all things people, diversity, lifelong learning, and technology. Rachel is an evangelist (she loves writing and speaking) and facilitator, to educate and drive change.

Curt Meltzer 
Litera, Evangelist
Former Law Firm CIO & Legal Technology Expert

Curt Meltzer is is an Evangelist at Litera, responsible for pre-sales customer education and aligning their needs to Litera’s products. He works with large US law firms to identify opportunities for Litera to deliver value.

Curt has more than 30 years of experience in applying technology to the practice of law. His career has included work in litigation support, software, training, publishing, and management consulting. He has also been CIO for four law firms, including Orrick and Chadbourne.

He is a frequent speaker and writer on legal technology. Curt is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, and a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia.

April Brousseau, Global Lead and Innovation
Clifford Chance Create

April is an experienced lawyer who has spent the last decade working on transforming global law firms through roles in innovation and business change, technology, risk and knowledge.

April’s keen interest in disruption, technology and legal operations has been instrumental in delivering a range of practical solutions to improve legal processes, drive best practice and deliver client driven products.


Chris Bentley, Managing Director
Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ)

Chris is the Managing Director of the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) and the Law Practice Program (LPP), both housed at Ryerson University, Toronto. Chris led the development of the LPP, a modern approach to lawyer licensing authorized by the Law Society of Ontario. He also co-founded LIZ, Canada’s first incubator dedicated to legal startups, to help deliver better legal solutions to consumers. It supports legal startups, R&D for law firms, businesses, organizations and government, and practical reform initiatives.

Chris was elected as an Ontario MPP for London West from 2003-2013. He was a member of Cabinet for all 10 years, serving as Minister in 5 Cabinet posts: 4 years as Attorney General, as well as Labour, Training Colleges and Universities, Aboriginal Affairs, and Energy. He drove a number of change initiatives, such as Justice on Target (that reduced, for the first time in 18 years, the time to trial and the number of court appearances per criminal case), a health and safety initiative that reduced workplace injuries by 20 % in 3 years, the 4 Pillars of Family Reform, Civil Justice Reform, the largest funding increase in Legal Aid’s history, and was part of a new approach to indigenous relations recognized by the United Nations. He also helped drive the implementation of the Reaching Higher investments in postsecondary education.

For 23 years before politics Chris practiced criminal defence and labour law. He taught part-time for 10 of those years at Western’s Law School, and helped establish and became the first Chairperson of Neighbourhood Legal Services, London and Middlesex, which provides legal services to those who cannot afford them.

Tom Martin, CEO 

Tom Martin is the CEO and Founder of LawDroid, a chatbot development and consulting company to the legal industry. He’s been hired to create bots for lawyers and law firms to automate law practices and improve profitability.

In November 2016, Tom developed LawDroid, an AI driven legal chatbot to assist entrepreneurs in incorporating their business.

In November 2017, Tom developed Larissa, an AI supported voice bot to provide essential legal advice and information about divorce.

Tom is a speaker and author on AI and bots in the legal industry. Tom has been a speaker at Clio Cloud Conference, LegalWeek, CodeX Stanford, Evolve Law and Thomson Reuter’s Emerging Legal Technology Roadshow.

LawDroid has been recognized for innovation by and received support from Facebook’s FbStart program, MaRS Venture Start program, and VentureLabs startup accelerator.

A graduate of Yale University and UCLA School of Law, Tom is a 2017 Fastcase 50 honoree. Tom is also co-founder of Vancouver Legal Hackers, advisor to ATJ Tech Fellow Program, member of ARAG Technology Innovation Committee, and Chair of Education for Group Legal Services Association.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Tom now lives in Vancouver, Canada with his wife and two daughters.


Litera is the leading provider of software for law firms and document-intensive organizations across the globe, helping them satisfy the demands of clients. Our document drafting products empower users to create, proofread, compare, clean, and distribute high-quality content quickly and securely, from any device, while our transaction management platform converts the manual, tedious process of managing transactions by creating a secure, collaborative workspace and automating the entire signature process.

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