The “Innovation Competition” of Avocats Lab 92

Can you tell us about the innovation projects of the Barreau du 92?

Yann Leclerc : This year, the bar incubator celebrates its one year anniversary with three types of activities: incubation, competitions and morning conferences, at an almost monthly rate.

We are thus launching the “Innovation Competition” for lawyers from the incubator. This competition is split into two parts. First of all, the Gastineau innovation prize, a competition that rewards start-ups in the field of legaltechs that develop tools and services for law firms to help them improve their business.

The call for applications was launched in July and the deadline for receipt of applications expires on October 8, at midnight. The idea is to preselect candidates via telephone exchanges, then to bring together a jury made up of around ten members of the Avocats Lab 92 incubator and innovation professionals. The selected candidates will then be able to pitch their project during an event which will take place on November 5 and which will reveal the names of the winners. The prize will be officially awarded by the chairman of 92, Michel Guichard, when the conference starts on November 19 in Courbevoie. This prize is endowed with a sum of 15,000 euros which will be paid to the winners, because we believe that it is indeed necessary to provide financial assistance to these young shoots to help them develop their solutions, knowing that they will also have the possibility of being received by the jury in order to receive advice and technical support. All this must, of course, take place in strict compliance with the ethics of law firms.

Then, there is a second prize, the “coup de coeur” prize which simply aims to reward one of the five start-ups currently incubated by our incubator. The jury will receive the five projects, which we know well since we are incubating them, and will reward the best with a prize of 5,000 euros.

Is the “Innovation Competition” open to legaltechs that are not run by lawyers?

Absolutely, it has to be said. This competition rewards start-ups that are either led by lawyers or supported by non-lawyers developing a project for law firms. There is no geographical limitation, we address the entire French territory, and it is not reserved for lawyers who are developing a solution either. The only limit is that, of course, the candidate legaltech solution must improve the daily life of the firm and must be dedicated to the function of lawyer.

However, projects led by colleagues are welcome and we encourage lawyers, whatever their age, training, field of activity and skills, to apply for this competition when their project is innovative and they respect the rules of our profession.

The jury will look closely at the composition of the teams carrying out the project and will favor those that integrate several skills – technological, entrepreneurial and legal – and will take into consideration the challenges of the project for the legal profession.

Do you have examples of areas or solution projects proposed by the candidates?

The fields are ultimately quite varied, it can affect contracts or several types of sectors such as the collaborative economy, communication and social networks, or even the management and fluidity of files, the sharing of files between lawyers, the open source, open data… Of course, this obviously targets the entrepreneurial sector, so there are also innovations in the social field and in the tax field, with for example a technological solution providing assistance with tax optimization. This can also be in the market/client sector, ie everything related to the pooling of services, the co-construction of new services between lawyers and inter-professionalism. And of course, other sectors such as access to law, environmental law, mediation or even legal aid.

What is the prize money for the competition intended for and why did you call it the Prix de l’innovation-Gastineau?

Because it is the name of a colleague from the Bar of Hauts-de-Seine who made an important legacy to develop innovation within the bar of 92. We therefore decided to use part of it, with a financial envelope of 15,000 euros, to help develop a project which is already mature, which has already proven itself on the market, which is economically viable but which still needs to raise funds and which may have needs in terms of recruitment, marketing and development of its solution. It is therefore a boost that the incubator wishes to give to legaltech which will have seduced the jury. Added to the allocation of 5,000 euros for the best incubated project, our budget envelope is 20,000 euros.

Can you tell us a few words about the personality of Maître Philippe Gastineau?

Philippe Gastineau came from a large structure, the Fidal firm it seems to me, and left us more than ten years ago. He was someone who loved youth, innovation and who was very well integrated into the Bar of Hauts-de-Seine. He therefore decided to bequeath to the Order a building carried by a real estate company under the condition of helping to innovate and promote the Bar. This is completely in line with what Lab Avocat 92 leads and this is why the Gastineau association which is called “Association pour la promotion du barre” immediately responded when the incubator asked for it. to endow the competition with innovation.

Is this the first time that you award these prizes?

Yes, since the incubator is only a year old. And during this short period, we have done a lot since we have developed three types of activities – mornings, incubation and the competition with two prizes.

Furthermore, as General Secretary of Avocat Lab 92, I actively participate in the jury of the competition organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of 92, which is called Made in 92 and which rewards the various startuppers operating in the departement. I therefore acquired experience in terms of jury to listen to the pitches, select them and then designate the best for the awarding of prizes, and it is this know-how acquired with the CCI 92 that gave us the idea to develop our own competition restricted to the field of legaltechs.

With this incubator, your Bar is showing its desire to modernize the profession and open up to the start-up environment. Should other bars follow your example?

Absoutely. The purpose of the incubator is to participate in the influence of the Hauts-de-Seine bar and to improve the profession. It is a young and dynamic bar, and it is really as an extension of its activities that we have decided to embark on innovation and in helping to develop innovative projects in the field of solutions dedicated to lawyers, or all the solutions that have lawyers as project leaders.

Before the creation of the incubator, did you already have an activity focused on legaltechs?

Yes quite. I have been leading the Innovation Commission of the Hauts-de-Seine Bar Association for several years. And as part of this animation, we had decided to provide a kind of toolbox available to our colleagues to help them precisely to look at what legaltechs were doing, to no longer be afraid of them but, on the contrary, to apprehend them. as an aid to the activity and development of the clientele, as well as to the improvement of the management of the practice. This was done in the form of workshops, and morning meetings in the premises of the Order, at the library, or by videoconference, to present them with legaltechs, new solutions and discuss these issues.

These meetings offer the opportunity to present to colleagues solutions allowing them to improve their daily lives, to open up to new areas and to increase their turnover, quite simply.

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