A new Ulster University (UU) Legal Innovation Centre in Northern Ireland will be the first of its kind in the UK.
It will undertake research on technological innovations to improve the legal process and promote greater economic efficiency and improved access to justice.
It has been established with support from leading global law firms Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie, which established bases in Belfast in recent years. The Centre received sponsorship from Invest Northern Ireland.
UU vice chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said: “There is a growing recognition of the crucial and ever-expanding role of technology in law.”
He added: “The Centre will also enable those interested in LawTech, whether legal professionals, law students or others, to study the technological transformation of legal practice, and the implications of this change.
“In this way it will foster the emergence of legal technologists, ready for the challenges of legal service provision in the information age.”
He said the initiative was the first of its kind in the UK.
“This new Centre will underpin the strength of our legal sector and further enhance Ulster University’s global reputation for law and computer science research excellence.”
Jane Townsend, partner and head of A&O’s legal services centre in Belfast, said it was a knowledge-led business and technology was pivotal.
“Across our firm, we seek to continually improve and enhance our systems and the way we do things.
“This collaboration gives us the opportunity to work towards these and other goals while deepening our strong relationship with Ulster University.”
Jason Marty, executive director of Baker McKenzie Belfast, said “terrific” education at all levels was a deciding factor in choosing to locate in Belfast.
“This new Centre extends that strength and directly connects to the opportunities and challenges facing the law and the legal industry.
“We expect our partnership with the Centre to provide tangible impacts in how we build our teams, technologies, and business.”