The biggest story of the week is the launch of Lupl, which describes itself as the world’s first open industry platform for legal matters – leaving many in the industry (including us if we’re completely honest) somewhat confused and wondering if it’s a new Reynen Court, or Microsoft Teams or Thomson Reuters HighQ (because clearly we need a box to put stuff in). Turns out, it’s none of them.

The result of collaboration amongst a group of leading law firms and corporations, the platform pulls together all modes of communication in one place, be it Slack or Zoom or email, or Google docs, or document management, the proliferation of which is a growing headache in terms of efficiency and governance.

We’re still waiting for further clarification on some things but what’s interesting are the industry comments including Neil Araujo, Chief Executive Officer, iManage Inc, one of several technology partners working with Lupl’s open industry platform, said: We’re thrilled to be partnering with Lupl to enable a seamless integration of iManage Work into Lupl’s open industry platform. We’re excited about the opportunities that this will create for our users. This integration showcases how iManage can be leveraged with other applications in a seamless fashion to meet end user needs and enhance the experience of managing and collaborating on documents.”

Alvin Tedjamulia, co-founder and CTO of NetDocuments, added: “NetDocuments supports Lupl’s open industry platform vision. We look forward to integrating our open, cloud-based document management system to Lupl while enabling users of ndThread, our collaboration solution, to seamlessly connect and communicate with colleagues and clients.”

Lupl is being incubated through its development by a trio of international law firms, CMS, Cooley and Rajah & Tann Asia,working with input from an advisory board of 16 leading in-house lawyers from blue chip multinationals through to the world’s fastest growing tech companies. The wider law firm testing group includes Slaughter and May, Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Australia, Khaitan & Co in India and One Essex Court, a leading barristers’ chambers in London.

Michelle Fang, vice president and chief legal officer at Turo, said: “Lawyers today have a critical role to play at the front lines of business. But technology tools for lawyers often seem to hold them back rather than empower them. Lupl’s open industry platform has the potential to enhance transparency and collaboration and deliver better, more modern ways of working within our department, with other business functions, and with law firms.”

An open approach means any legal department and law firm will be able to use Lupl, and any technology provider will be able to integrate with it via open APIs.

Matt Pollins, chief commercial officer of Lupl, added:“When we began work on Lupl, our goal was to give lawyers real-time, 360 visibility across their matters, whether they’re at their desk, at home, or on the go. We knew the demand for a tool like this was coming because of the shift towards distributed teams and mobile working but the crisis has accelerated that shift far quicker than we could ever have imagined.”

Lupl calls it matter synchronisation software. We’re looking forward to digging deeper into what that actually means but what is for sure is that it has garnered immediate attention from CIOs of the biggest law firms in the globe.

Lupl has been developed with further support and guidance from Heidi Gardner PhD, Faculty Chair and Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School, the author of “Smart Collaboration” and the upcoming “Smart Collaboration for In-House Legal Teams”, who is a world-leading expert on workplace collaboration trends.

Designed for usage by both law firms and legal departments alike, the platform will continue to operate in private beta for several months ahead of a wider public release later in the year or early 2021. In support of the beta version going live, the company has also launched a website to set out its long-term vision and objectives.

Get in touch with your updates.

You can read the comments from the market in full below.

Law firm comments

Adam Ruttenberg, Cooley Partner, Chairman of the firm’s Technology Committee and a leading technology transactions lawyer, added: “As a firm committed to superior quality, service and innovation, we believe that a platform like Lupl is what our lawyers need. The impact of changing demographics and technologies, along with the pressures of instant communication across a variety of modes, makes it increasingly difficult to manage workflow effectively and meet clients’ needs. Especially in light of our recent experience with remote working in a COVID world, we think Lupl is the right answer at the right time.”

Duncan Weston, Executive Partner of CMS, commented:At CMS, we’ve always felt that true change in the industry requires a collective shift in mindset to eliminate proprietary closed systems and a reluctance to work together. By supporting the development of Lupl, we hope to set an example for how to bring together a diverse ecosystem of innovators, in-house and private practice lawyers as well as other professionals to create transformational change in our industry for the decades to come.”

Lee Eng Beng, Senior Counsel, Chairperson of Rajah & Tann Asia, said:We look forward to that day in the near future when the global legal community will talk and think in terms of pre- and post-Lupl.

Legal department comments

Alex Peeke, Head of Legal, Landsec: “I’m excited by the potential of this open industry platform to improve ways of working at the intersection of legal departments, law firms and business teams.”

Lizette Pérez-Deisboek, General Counsel, Battery Ventures: “One of the issues we have to navigate on large transactions is the sheer volume of unstructured communications. The idea of having a tool to bring all of that together is very exciting.”

Industry partner comments

Andy Sparkes, Director of Legal Markets, LexisNexis UK, a leading provider of legal products and solutions, said: “We’re excited to be working with the community of firms and legal departments behind Lupl to explore how we can embed LexisNexis’ legal knowledge solutions into the workflow on this new open industry platform, as part of our mission to help lawyers save time, increase productivity and minimise risk, wherever they are.”