Headshots of the BBLT Showcase judges

Bristol and Bath LegalTech Showcase: The judges

The first-ever Bristol and Bath “Meet the LegalTechs” showcase is set to take place on Wednesday 5th May 2021 from 8:30 – 9:30 am.

Eight legaltech providers from the South West will showcase their innovative technologies in a 90-second elevator pitch. To add an extra dimension to the proceedings, winners in three categories (Define categories) will be crowned by a judging panel that brings together a wealth of expertise in innovation and legaltech.

Get your ticket to attend at Eventbrite.

The judging panel comprises representatives from locally-headquartered national firms TLT and VWV as well as the nationally renowned legaltech incubator, Barclays Eagle Lab. Find out more about them and their work below.

Meet The Judges

Antonia James

Director of Client Relations, VWV

Antonia is Director of Client Relations at award-winning law firm VWV where she provides strategic guidance and leadership in BD and marketing. She is also passionate about the creation of legal products and services that transform reach through the use of technology. This led to the launch of VWV Plus, for which she is the founding Director.

VWV

VWV Plus LogoAlready firmly established with the tech start-up and scale-up ecosystem in the South West, VWV is taking big strides in its development of digital solutions: not only is the firm launching new products and services via VWV Plus, it is collaborating with tech businesses and supporting industry research and growth.

Shara Gibbons

LawTech Manager, Barclays Eagle Lab

Shara Gibbons works within Barclays Eagle Labs LawTech Team and is focused on changing the way legal services are provided and accessed. Shara has experience in both strategy and startup business development. For the past 4 years, Shara has been supporting startup businesses scale, and since 2018 has been focused on LawTech and supporting the much-required change for the legal sector. Delivering several talks on the need and demand for change within Legal and is an advocate for technology-enabled evolution.

Barclays Eagle Lab

Barclays Eagle Labs logoBarclays Eagle Lab bridges the gap between emerging LawTech innovation and major law firms to help to transform the legal industry. Working with partners like the Law Society and Legal Geek, Barclays Eagle Lab brings the legal industry closer to tech entrepreneurs so that they can collaborate and find solutions that will drive efficiencies and progression for the whole industry.

Siân Ashton

Client Service Transformation Partner, TLT LLP

Siân’s focus is on client service and transforming the way TLT delivers its services. Siân has a particular interest in innovation and LegalTech and is part of TLT’s FutureLaw team, leading the firm in the way TLT delivers legal services and products to ensure that clients receive the most efficient and cost-effective solutions.

TLT

TLT Changing the future of lawTLT FutureLaw is an aligned, integrated and indispensable approach to meeting the changing needs of our clients. Delivering new products and services built on insight, process and technology to achieve better outcomes for clients, partnering with best in class legaltech providers to solve clients’ needs such as TLT LegalSifter and Clarilis.

About the LegalTech Showcase

We hope that the event will increase visibility, create a collaborative space and facilitate a sense of community, whilst simultaneously giving the South West legaltech organisations a chance to pitch their business to potential customers or partners. The event is open to anyone who would like to join to watch and we encourage you to share the event on your socials and with anyone with an interest in the South West legal sector. Best of luck to all the startups who will be pitching their businesses. We look forward to seeing you at the event.

Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.

For more information, on the format of the event please follow this link or please contact Tom Bartley, Barbal CEO.

Meet the LegalTechs: A showcase of Bristol and Bath LegalTech providers

Barbal is delighted to announce the first ever Bristol and Bath “Meet the LegalTechs” showcase.

Following the successful launch of the Bristol and Bath Legal Tech Report (BBLTR) in March, we thought that this is the perfect time to bring the LegalTech community in the South West even closer together.

The report identified that the West of England is undergoing an emerging movement of legal innovation. Key findings include:

  • The growing cluster of LegalTech companies in the region is significant in size compared to other regional locations.
  • The region’s LegalTech sector could create powerful differentiation on a national and international level if collaboration in the legal sector was fully joined up with and modelled on the tech sector’s well-established regional collaborative ecosystem.
  • A strong sense of societal purpose is evident within the legal sector in the region and this should drive a future strand of LegalTech development.

Core to the report is the huge opportunity for the South West LegalTech sector ecosystem to grow into a centre with international impact.

Bristol and Bath LegalTech Ecosystem Infographic

The showcase will build on this momentum by uniting and giving exposure to Bristol and Bath’s Legaltech companies. The audience will include members of large law firms, regional law firms, alternative legal service providers and in-house counsel from across the region.

“With the LegalTech space moving so quickly, it’s difficult for buyers to keep pace and understand what’s going on in the market. The 15 providers identified in the BBLT report aren’t competing in terms of their tech, but they are competing for the eyes and ears of potential customers. This is a great opportunity for legal service providers to meet us in one hit and create more collaboration within the Bristol and Bath legal innovation ecosystem.” Tom Bartley, CEO, Barbal

The format

The showcase will take place from 8:30 – 9:30am on Wednesday 5th May 2021 and is supported BBLT.

Ten LegalTech providers from the South West will have the opportunity to pitch and showcase their innovative technologies in a 90-second elevator pitch. To add an extra dimension to the proceedings, winners in three categories will be crowned by representatives from locally-headquartered national firms VWV and TLT.

Pitching companies include Barbal, Iken, Klyant, OpenTenancy, Panache Software, PracticeEvolve, Sensecheck and Shout4.

We hope that the event will increase visibility, create a collaborative space and facilitate a sense of community, whilst simultaneously giving the providers the chance to pitch their business to potential customers or partners. And the competition element is just a bit of fun to raise the stakes. The prize? Bragging rights.

The showcase is a must-attend event for anyone interested in the development of the legaltech ecosystem in the South West.

The event, which will be hosted on Zoom, will provide a virtual stage for the 90-second live-streamed pitches by each company. The competition will be judged by representatives of TLT, VWV and another TBA. The event has been created for the South West legal sector but is free to anyone who would like to join to watch the elevator pitches with speed networking at the end.

Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.

For more information, please contact Tom Bartley, Barbal CEO or Karl Loudon, Barbal Head of Legaltech.

British African Business Alliance and Barbal announce innovation partnership to streamline negotiations in Africa

The British African Business Alliance (BABA), the network helping Africa-facing businesses to set up and thrive on the continent, is excited to announce an innovation partnership with British technology startup, Barbal.

British African Business Alliance Logo

BABA’s members deliver projects running to hundreds of millions of pounds each year across Africa, often with complicated multi-party contracting arrangements. A key challenge for businesses investing or delivering projects in Africa is the timeliness in getting contracts signed, meaning that opportunities often fall through whilst legal fees escalate.

Barbal’s collaborative document editor allows different organisations to work together efficiently on drafting contracts without sacrificing the control or privacy of collaborators. Barbal’s innovative software will allow BABA’s members to reach agreement faster, streamlining negotiations so that projects can get started quicker and with lower legal fees.

Through the innovation partnership, BABA will encourage its members to pilot Barbal’s software on upcoming projects, Barbal in-turn will monitor the benefits and adjust the software to further streamline negotiations.

Barbal offers a collaborative document editor that, unlike the prevalent tools, allows people to draft in private or in teams and merge changes with a shared master copy only when edits have been reviewed and are ready. It reduced the risk that someone accidentally discloses private information and removes the admin that can stall deals.

“This innovation partnership with Barbal will help us to deliver even more value to our members. Businesses entering Africa rely on good relationships with other organisations, including investors, delivery partners and regulators. Barbal will help strengthen relationships and get more projects initiated by streamlining one of the most painful aspects of getting started; the paperwork!”

Andrew Jason, Managing Director, British African Business Alliance

“We are delighted to be partnering with BABA and its members. Africa is among the world’s fastest growing economies with huge development projects across infrastructure, housing, industry and health. Africa is also one of the most innovative regions, leapfrogging to a digital-first economy. So it makes sense that people working on the continent want to streamline contract negotiations and are open to new approaches to collaboration, whilst balancing commercial risk and opportunity. I look forward to reporting on the many successes Barbal will help facilitate.”

Tom Bartley, CEO, Barbal

For more information about how you can maximise efficiency and close deals faster, please book a demo or email us.

Note to Editors:

The British African Business Alliance provides space for networks to stimulate alliances and links between members, partners and contacts so that we can accelerate the development of members’ projects in Africa. BABA has regional networks across the UK. www.britishafrican.org

Barbal is a technology startup based in Bristol, UK. Founded in 2018, Barbal’s software is used by lawyers, regulators and knowledge bodies across a wide range of sectors to help experts to work together on important documents, negotiate and reach agreement faster. www.barbal.co

Barbal named in ground-breaking LegalTech Report

Barbal has been named as one of fifteen LegalTech companies making a splash in the Bristol and Bath region in a new report by Whitecap Consulting. 

Bristol and Bath LegalTech Ecosystem Infographic

The report makes five findings for LegalTech in the region which identifies the West of England as an emerging cluster of legal innovation. The report identifies a significant level of LegalTech activity across an established legal sector, including more than 750 tech and innovation roles within a growing cluster of over 30 LegalTechs, tech companies working in the legal sector, and LegalTech arms operating within the region’s law firms.

The five findings are: 

  1.  High levels of LegalTech activity and service innovation across law firms of all sizes reflect the region’s underlying strengths in technology and law – including the presence of 17 Top 200 firm head office functions. 
  2. Bristol and Bath has built an extensive LegalTech talent pool, with more than 750 legal technology and innovation roles identified by our research.
  3. The growing cluster of LegalTech companies in the region is significant in size compared to other regional locations (as is the case in FinTech).
  4. The region’s LegalTech sector could create powerful differentiation on a national and international level if embryonic collaboration in the legal sector was fully joined up with and modelled on the tech sector’s well-established regional collaborative ecosystem.
  5. A strong sense of societal purpose is evident within the legal sector in the region and this should drive a future strand of LegalTech development.

Bristol & Bath is an established legal centre where the sector has a significant and long-standing presence. 26 of the top 100 firms in the UK have an office in the region, 13 of which have a head office here, making it stand out against other regions outside London.  The primary application of technology within the legal sector to date has been law firms using tech to serve their clients. 

There is an opportunity for tech firms to design highly efficient self service functions used directly by the buyers of legal services, which could make access to legal solutions cheaper, faster and more accessible. The combination of a strong legal sector and the core strength in technology overlaid by the presence of an unusually high number of head office functions for a regional city explain the high number of LegalTech roles in the region. “

Richard Coates, Managing Director, Whitecap Consulting 

Bristol Law Society was essentially founded by a group of lawyers wanting to share the cost of legal text books. That spirit of collaboration continues to thrive to this day and is absolutely central to the Bristol + Bath LegalTech project. Change in technology and innovation is inevitable and we will only be stronger in working together to ensure Bristol & Bath’s place at the forefront of the legal tech market. The opportunities are extensive. Not only will lawyers be able to develop new profitable approaches, we can also assist with access to justice.

Legal tech is a key plank for the legal future and this report is a key stone for taking us to the next step. We now need to move to that next phase and to make innovation and legal tech a long term success story for the region.

Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society & Partner, VWV

Bristol has provided a fantastic place to incubate Barbal through our early stages. The region has an excellent startup ecosystem with globally recognised accelerators, great access to funding and a growing talent pool. It’s a better place to live and work that continues to attract people away from London, whilst in easy reach of all other major UK cities. With so many top flight law firms with HQ functions on our doorstep, we’ve had fantastic access to feedback and validation on our product and value proposition. This report will galvanise the sector, encourage even more collaboration and support the “Silicon Gorge” region to grow into a cluster with international impact.

Tom Bartley, co-founder and CEO, Barbal

To find out more about Barbal and explore how concurrent document collaboration and Knowledge as a Service can help your firm to access new revenue streams and grow profits, book a meeting with Tom.

How intent affects collaboration

Collaboration is becoming ever more important in business especially as we overcome the challenges of the past twelve months. But have you ever stopped to consider what it actually means to collaborate?

Since founding Barbal I find myself mulling this more and more. Why is collaboration so important? How does collaboration interface with related concepts like consensus or negotiation? How do we ensure that we build a document editor that is truly collaborative, rather than just allowing people to work together more efficiently?

When I used to run collaboration training in a professional services firm I would ask the attendees to give a definition. It would invariably be something along the lines of “working together to achieve a shared goal”.

They always identified both parts; implying that working together isn’t collaborative unless it’s toward a shared objective.

Including the “shared goal” aspect is critical, it differentiates collaboration from simply resolving resource capacity issues by putting more bums on seats. By collaborating the participants are working towards something they could not have accomplished on their own if they had more time, or without recognising there is a higher order objective than just doing their own job. It distinguishes collaboration from quality assurance processes or procedural pass off of work between people with different skills.

Having reflected on my own work in standardisation, engineering and business ownership and observing how others have sought to use Barbal’s collaborative document editor, I have distilled collaboration down to three different attitudes. I call them intents. They cause the behaviours people display at different times during a collaboration.

The three intents of collaboration are:

  • Creative
  • Consensus
  • Adversarial

These are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they do result in very different outcomes for participants and their stakeholders.

Creative collaboration

Two people working together at a whiteboard

The old adage goes “two heads are better than one”. That’s because it’s often true. There are many types of work where working closely with someone else with similar or completely different views will turn up something that’s better than either could achieve by working in isolation. Creative collaboration isn’t limited to traditional “creative” industries, but can be applied in any discipline where problems need solving.

The purpose of creative collaboration is to seek synergy.

Consensus collaboration

Two professionals at a desk smiling and high-fiving

Often we have to work with others who have different core objectives, that might be a business that has to make money for its shareholders, or a delivery organisation that provides outcomes for its stakeholders. Consensus is a useful mechanism, it allows different parties to agree a bounded set of shared goals where there’s recognition that helping another party to achieve their goals has a multiplier effect on achieving one’s own goals too.

The purpose of consensus collaboration is seeking the highest order of agreement.

Adversarial collaboration

Shaking hands

Also in life, we have to work with others because we have to; usually because they have something we want. And more often than not it involves money and risk exchange. Sometimes it’s because we’ve been told to by a client or important stakeholder.

In this case the shared objective is simply to get the job done (and as quickly as possible). This collaboration is self-serving, but recognises the need for input or negotiation with others.

The purpose of adversarial collaboration seeking the lowest order of agreement.

In identifying the three intents of collaboration, I hope it helps you to recognise your own behaviours and perhaps is a quick reference framework to check the intent behind your work with others.

Where creative collaboration is laser-focused on a single shared goal, consensus collaboration allows space for each participant to bring their personal objectives to the table too. And whilst I would always advocate for consensus over adversarial collaboration, it can be useful to be aware in particular the distinction between these two intents and recognise the behaviours in the other people involved. Sometimes adversarial collaboration is necessary and collaborating at all is better than aggression.

Tom Bartley is co-founder of Barbal, a collaborative document editor that allows professionals to draft and review documents without the chaos.

This blog complements an upcoming blog in which we discuss the modes of collaboration; linear, real-time and concurrent It was originally published on Medium.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week! Meet Theo, Barbal’s Digital Marketing Apprentice

A headshot of Theo standing in front of a brick wall
This week is #NationalApprenticeshipWeek and to celebrate we are speaking to our very own digital marketing apprentice Theo Tay-Lodge. Theo started as Barbal’s first full-time employee in January 2020 in a business administration role, in December 2020 he joined Working Knowledge’s digital marketing apprenticeship scheme and became Barbal’s Marketing Assistant. We are going to find out about his story.

What made you decide to take up the apprenticeship?

I joined Barbal about 6 months after I had finished my psychology degree, and although I the subject I didn’t know how I wanted to apply it in a career. I started at Barbal in an admin role; I enjoyed the role and getting to know the business, but I felt that I could contribute more. So I spoke to my line manager Tom (Barbal co-founder and CEO), and we discussed my options. Tom suggested the opportunity to join Working Knowledge’s digital marketing course and I jumped at the chance. I think one of the main misconceptions about an apprenticeship is that they are only for those who have just finished school or who are not academic, or they are wrongly seen as not being as valuable as a degree. I have found the skills I have learnt throughout the apprenticeship to be just as important as the skills I picked up during my degree.

How has the apprenticeship impacted your work?

Although I’m only three months in, the apprenticeship has already had a massive positive impact on my work. The work I do now, not only allows me to personally develop my skill set but it also adds creativity to the company. It has given me the opportunity to reap the benefits of career progression whilst providing a real-time impact on Barbal’s business, by bridging the marketing skill gap needed by the business. During the COVID pandemic when many have gone through a period of uncertainty, Working Knowledge’s digital marketing apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to retrain and boost my career.

I have been lucky enough to have great support from both the team at Barbal and Working Knowledge. This support has given me greater self-confidence and responsibility in my role at Barbal allowing for a reciprocal benefit from the skills that I am learning. As Barbal is a young start-up there was a natural skill-gap in marketing for the company. The marketing apprenticeship is providing me with applied knowledge, and I like to think that the organisation is learning about digital marketing in-parallel with me. Learning digital marketing parallel with Barbal as a business has given me a strong sense of responsibility and purpose with the business.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt from your apprenticeship?

For me, the most valuable skills or skills I have picked up during this course are gaining an understanding of the customer buyer’s journey, understanding the value and learning how to provide the answers to customers’ needs at every stage, and learning how to guide customers toward making a buying decision. Understanding the process of customers thinking and tailoring their experience through the information we provide them is an invaluable skill to have in a business. Gaining this knowledge and skills from the apprenticeship not only providing Barbal with a new approach to marketing but also is giving me a sense of accomplishment. Applying this learning to the business has been really fluid as the team at Barbal have been ever willing to learn with me.

Anything else to add?

I would add that joining this apprenticeship has given me a new constructive outlook on my personal career progression and future at Barbal. I’m looking forward to enhancing my learning in digital marketing and applying this knowledge in the organisation. I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship, it’s a fantastic way to gain transferable skills to gain more confidence in a working environment, especially if you’re thinking of career change like I was. #buildthefuture

Making barbal.co GDPR compliant with Hubspot and Google Analytics tracking codes

As a company we always try to do things “the right way”. One of the perennial challenges is how to square digital marketing with the privacy of our stakeholders. We need to use the latest tools to support sales and marketing and we also want to act ethically. As a platform that handles sensitive or confidential information for our users, we always take security and privacy seriously.

The barbal.co website uses a WordPress installation. We use various plugins for different elements like forms. We use Hubspot and Google Analytics to support digital marketing. Both platforms offer WordPress plugins to more tightly couple the services. We use them to make sure our website is relevant to visitors and know that we are following up on leads appropriately. However, neither platform’s plugin has a facility to seek permission from users before it starts tracking them with cookies. Nor does either platform’s documentation provide much help for those seeking GDPR compliance.

Google Tag Manager was suggested as a way to keep track of all tracking codes in one place, but again requires a heavily convoluted way to implement cookie permissions requiring developers and custom code.

In the end we struck upon the GA Germanized plugin, which has a no-code interface for installing a cookie banner and linking to Google Analytics. It also has a feature for implementing other tracking codes, so we put the Hubspot code in there. I also had to uninstall the Hubspot plugin and disable Google Site Kit from placing the Google Analytics code.

Now the Barbal website doesn’t use any cookies until the user gives permission, and even then we make sure we only use the bare minimum to meet their and our needs. You can find out more about privacy and security at Barbal in our Privacy Policy.