Why Are Legal Technology Associations Important?
In this article, we provide an overview of the most important legaltech associations around the globe as of the time of writing (last updated – 21 February 2021).
Disclaimer: Enloya has no affiliation with any of these legal technology associations.
As legal technology becomes more widespread within the legal sector, the need for communities where industry players can interact and synergize with each other grows more and more.
Keeping up with innovation, industry news, regulations, professional policies, and upcoming events is challenging for essentially any sector, let alone for an industry that is undergoing such a deep, rapid transformation like legal.
What is more, there is also the need for legal industry players to move in tandem with evolving business models—including, of course, Enloya’s platform economy model—and to adapt to technological changes as swiftly as possible.
Juggling with all of this is no joke.
That is why legal technology associations play a crucial role in this process, as they provide order to the evolution that is underway in the legal sector.
During recent years, both “international” and “regional” legaltech associations have emerged. Without endorsing any one in particular, Enloya recognizes the collective role that these associations can play in building the narrative and ecosystem that will drive the future of the legal profession during the nascent fourth industrial revolution.
Infographic: Main LegalTech Associations in 2021
1. International Legaltech Association (ILTA)
Founded in 1980, ILTA is a staff-managed association that brings support to the legal community by connecting peers and keeping its members up to date with the must-knows of the current legal sector. Although technology is the association’s main target, there are plenty of useful resources for every type of professional working in law firms and government legal operations.
The association is mostly made up of law firms, whereas corporate law departments and government or judicial entities represent 10% of the association’s members. A large proportion of them is based in the US, followed by Canada, the UK and Australia.
2. International Law and Technology Interoperability Association (ILTIA)
ILTIA is an international association that aims to promote the standardization of legal services through the development of technology in both regional and global contexts. The association looks forward to contributing to the collaboration of public and private sectors, as well as supporting the information exchange among ILTIA’s members, and promoting the professional activities of each member.
ILTIA’s headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and was founded by a group of legal professionals. The founding members’ contrasting backgrounds, from areas of expertise to the regions they work in, have shaped the goals and values of the association.
African Legal Technology Associations
3. Africa Law Tech Association
The Africa Law Tech Association provides a platform of continental reach in which members of the legal sector can interact with each other. Legal professionals, law firms, institutions, tech firms and any other entity related to the legaltech world can become a member.
The association was envisioned by the Lawyers Hub, an organization incorporated based in the Republic of Kenya, and launched in March 2020 during the Africa Law Tech Festival 2020, hosted by the association as their inaugural event. The association will be continuously holding a series of events, which aim to create a stronger network in the legaltech sphere within the African continent.
4. African Law & Tech Network (ALT)
ALT Network’s mission is to connect the African legaltech environment, which in turn will facilitate the development of legislative and regulatory setting for tech innovation across the continent. After following the great success of the incorporation of technology in the American and European legal sectors, the network seeks to mirror the same effect in Africa. Members can attend the various events hosted by ALT Network.
African Law & Tech Network is managed by a women-led team and was established in 2017.
Latin American Legaltech Associations
5. Latin American Alliance for Legal Innovation (Alianza Latinoamericana para la Innovación Legal/ ALIL-LATAM)
ALIL-LATAM is an independent organization, created by a team of interdisciplinary professionals in 2020, that focuses on one major objective: boosting legal innovation in public, private, and legal education sectors. In order to do so, the alliance is building a platform where the legal ecosystem in Latin America will become connected, boosting the transformation process within the legaltech sector and bringing its members closer to each other.
ALIL’s website is currently under construction. However, the alliance is fairly active on LinkedIn.
Asia-Pacific Legaltech Associations
6. Asean Legaltech Association (ALT)
The Asean Legaltech Association offers a space where legaltech firms, lawyers, legal departments, regulators and individuals in South East Asia can create a community that revolves around legal technology. Not only that, but the association also seeks to connect Legaltech innovators in the region and promote their developments through monthly events, from hackathons to industry presentations.
According to its website, ALT states that in the ASEAN region there are over 650 million SMEs and only 248K lawyers. As a result, such region is ranked among the most active and fastest growing emerging economies. This translates into abundant market opportunities for lawyers and professionals involved in the legal sector.
7. Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA)
First launched in September 2019, ALITA’s mission is to enable legal technology in the Asia-Pacific region through collaboration, while following policies and initiatives on legal innovation.
The association has gathered the main players of the legal sector in the platform and intends to increase its influence with events and projects. So far, the association has published a State of Legal Innovation Report, a Legal Innovation Toolkit and a directory of legaltech players that works as a regulatory observatory of the region, namely the Legal Tech Observatory. By doing so, ALITA looks forward to promoting the widespread use of legal technologies.
8. Australian Legal Technology Association (ALTA)
ALTA’s mission is to create a community for legal technology providers in Australia, where they can share and collaborate at will in an organic environment, thus building presence of Australian legaltech on a global scale.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the association has been hosting online events for everyone interested in legal technology. Not only that, but ALTA held ALTACON 2020, a virtual conference that gained many spectators in the sector. The next ALTACON could be held in May 2021.
European Legal Technology Associations
9. European Legal Tech Association (ELTA)
ELTA is a peer-powered, volunteer-led association founded in September 2016. The association is constantly involved in political debate, encouraging the use of legal technology in the European legal market. To fortify the networking between individuals who are interested in legaltech, the association regularly hosts various events.
ELTA provides its members with two powerful programs: ELTA Connect and ELTA Collaborate. With the former, people, institutions and companies can connect with each other through a platform. Users can also find legal solutions across the continent with the help of a map, which displays every member sorted by category. The latter is a platform in which members can find management and collaboration tools, thus enhancing knowledge sharing among them.
10. Nordic Legal Tech Hub
The Nordic Legal Tech Hub was developed as a space where individuals from the Nordic region interested in legaltech can connect and share, as well as a meeting point for legaltech creators to participate and collaborate.
There is currently a copious amount of legaltech companies in this geographic area. Scattered at the beginning, the Nordic Legal Tech Hub has brought these companies together and strengthened the Nordic legaltech ecosystem. At present, this hub has scheduled several online events.
11. The LegalTech Association for the UK (UKLTA)
Founded in 2018, the UK Legal Tech Association aims to create a space for individuals, legal associates and legal companies, where every member can synergize with each other to boost their legal practice using newly developed legal technologies. The association also seeks to promote engagement within the community to establish the UK as the main player of the legaltech sector. UKLTA constantly hosts events, posts news and encourages its members to create content for the community.
12. Swiss LegalTech Association (SLTA)
The SLTA, founded in 2016, was established with the main goal of providing an ever-evolving environment for the Swiss legal technology, which in turn will potentially fortify the status of Switzerland as a legaltech hub.
The association not only offers a platform where members interested in legal technology can participate. The association also offers a vast amount of resources, some of which are publicly available, such as the legaltech mapping tool – a directory of legaltech players in both Switzerland and foreign countries. The SLTA actively seeks cooperation with student associations via their Chapter NextGen program, besides offering coaching to legaltech startups.
Other notable legal technology groups or organizations (not included in our ranking or infographic)
The Dutch Legal Tech Foundation (The Netherlands)
AIFC LegalTech Advisory Council (not an association, but a relevant comminity in Central Asia)
Columbia LegalTech Association (student-led organization)
falvkeji.com (not an association, but a LegalTech community in China)
The Legaltech Product Channel – not an association, but certainly an important LinkedIn community with over 1600 members.
The Bigger Picture: Trade Associations in General
In an industry where innovation is desperately needed, such as in the legal sector, associations are indispensable to expedite and facilitate its orderly evolution. Thereupon, as an industry becomes economically (and technologically) relevant, an incentive to unite efforts and resources for the common interest emerges.
The importance of trade associations—for its stakeholders and, indeed, for the economy as a whole—is well documented. For example, trade associations can unlock benefits such as:
- help stakeholders expand their professional and business networks;
- help members promote common interests of industry-wide scale before private or public institutions; or,
- help reduce certain industry-wide costs (e.g. marketing and litigation costs).
Trade associations may also have positive spillover effects on the rest of the economy: as an industry becomes stronger (assuming, of course, that an industry operates under competitive market conditions), customers may benefit from a reduction in prices and an increase on quality of the goods and services represented by an association.
Ultimately, in the long-run trade and business associations generate meaning and influence within and around an industry.
Whether you’re a legaltech company, a legaltech investor, a traditional player of the legal sector (e.g. a lawyer, jurist, or in-house counsel), or just someone who is interested in following the development of the legal industry at the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, joining (or, at a minimum, following) a legal technology association is something that is worth considering. A great way to get started is by joining your local association. This alternative would be particularly suitable for individuals and companies whose interest in legal technology is country-specific (and we can think of many reasons why this could be the case). However, if you’re like us, Enloyans, and your interest in legal technology knows no borders, then joining or following regional and international associations may probably be a better choice. Either way, we hope that this article has been useful to you in getting acquainted with the main legaltech associations in the world and why you may (or not) want to consider joining one. Do you know of other legaltech associations or groups? Let us know your views in the comments section.
 Maria Larrain, Jens Prüfer, Trade Associations, Lobbying, and Endogenous Institutions, Journal of Legal Analysis, Volume 7, Issue 2, Winter 2015, Pages 467–516, available at https://doi.org/10.1093/jla/lav009 (last accessed 5 February 2021). See also David B. Yoffie, Harvard Business Review, May 1998, at https://hbr.org/1988/05/how-an-industry-builds-political-advantage (last accessed 5 February 2021).
 Thomas C. Lawton, Tazeeb Rajwani, and Amy Minto. Why Trade Associations Matter: Exploring Function, Meaning, and Influence, Journal of Management Inquiry 27, no. 1 (January 2018): 5–9, available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1056492616688853 (last accessed 5 February 2021).
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