Technology, Innovation and the Law in the MENA Region


6 April 2017, Manama, Bahrain, Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel

Recent advances in technology are creating new paths for innovation never imagined before.  The relationship between technology and innovation is not unique to any one discipline or system invented by the human mind.  Law is no exception.  Few would doubt therefore that various advances in modern technologies are exerting sustained pressure on those engaged in the legal field to rethink some of their long held assumptions and practices.  We are witnessing the emergence of new paradigms in legal thought and practice made possible by the insights of modern technology.

This one-day conference, first of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa Region (MENA), will explore the problems posed and opportunities made possible by technological advances and innovations in the field of law.

This conference marks the launch of the MC Academy for International Legal Studies, Bahrain Branch.

The conference aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the latest advances in legal technology that have impacted the way we think about the law and the way law is practiced;
  • Identify concrete opportunities in the field of modern legal technology that will benefit the advancement of legal systems in the MENA region;
  • Explore the potential for innovative technological advances for the advancement of the legal sector in the MENA region;
  • Identify challenges and obstacles in the creation and implementation of new technology in the MENA region;
  • Establish a framework that will provide the basis for developing a follow-up system to the lessons learned by the end of this event.

Conference Programme

Thursday, 06 April 2017
Introductory and Welcoming Remarks
9.00 – 9.30 am
  • E. Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa, Minister of Justice of Bahrain--TBC
  • E. Abdullah Albuainain, Head of the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission, Bahrain
  • Carsten Reimann, Xenion
  • Adnan Amkhan Bayno, Acting Director of MC Academy for International Legal Studies
SESSION I: An Overview of Legal Tech and Innovation
9.30 am – 11.00 am

Moderator: Dr. Carsten Reimann

Panellists: Dr. John Flood, Dr. Zev Eigen, Mr. Cian O'Sullivan

From Zero to One? Evolution or revolution in the digital legal industry?

What is Legal Tech? .What are the latest developments, trends and market players in the UK, US and beyond?  Are there global trends which might be adopted by other regions?  Which legal tech companies to watch out for?  Do we see hype or hope?  Tech-myth & tech-reality.  How shall stakeholders react?  What are the main opportunities and threats?  What can data science offer the law and the legal profession?  What is artificial intelligence and what is not?  Articifical intelligence and human brain.  Where and when to implement it?  Where do we see opportunities from using clever algorithms in legal services?  Will robo-lawyers take over soon and, if yes, can we stop them and should we?

11.00 am – 11.20 am

Coffee Break

SESSION II: NextLaw – What's in for Tomorrow's Lawyers?
11.20 am – 1.00 pm

Moderator: Cian O'Sullivan

Panellists: Mitch Kowalski, Prof. Breidenbach (TBC)

How will tomorrow's lawyers study and work – best case and worst case?

Are we opening Pandora’s box?  Does digital mean better?  How will technology change the way lawyers work?  How can lawyers benefit from “new work”?  How does the ideal law firm of the future look like?  Do we still need law firms at all?  What are latest developments, trends and market players in Canada and the US?  What is innovation in law and legal practice?  Does this always mean technology?  How much technology do we really need?  What to automate?  Why should lawyers work together with other professions – computer scientists, neurolinguists, entrepreneurs, any others?  What is our personal top 10 of innovative legal tech companies?  What opportunities do we see for legal education?What skills must the lawyers of tomorrow possess?

1.00 pm – 2.30 pm


SESSION III: What is Hot and What is Not – How to Invest in Brave New Legal World?
2.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Moderator: (TBC)

Panellists: Jules Miller, Fabian J. G. Westerheide

Machine Learning, Legal Cyborgs, Tech Firms – Who Owns the Future of Law?

Why does the world need NextLaw?  How do we spot the cool stuff?  What are examples of start-ups we believe in?  Are law firms dinosaurs and how might they survive the Ice Age?  Is this the beginning of e-law firms?  Which technology-driven start-ups are changing the way legal services are staffed, procured, offered and delivered?  Who are the main stakeholders and what is in for investors, lawyers and law firms? How to work with start-ups (co-operation, purchase/invest etc)?

4.00 pm – 4.20 pm

Coffee Break

SESSION IV: Legal Tech, Innovation, and Opportunities for the MENA Region
4.20 pm – 5.45 pm

Moderator: Dr. Adnan Amkhan Bayno

Panellists: Aliya Janjua, Sami Hourani, (to be joined by Stakeholders from business (regional and international) and government)

The legal world is changing. The Middle East is changing. Businesses are more demanding.  New technologies are emerging. How will technology transform the way law firms operate in the Middle East? How to respond to clients’ needs in more efficient innovative ways? What are the strategies which align with the overall business, innovation and legal sectors? How to create a culture where change and innovation are embraced in legal sector in the region? How can we capitalize relationships between law firms and legal services providers? How will technology enable the practice of law in the future? How can we create future work environments that support the legal profession while adapting to new realities of the profession and market?  How can we foster female participation in the on-going technological innovation??  Who is championing innovation; Is it gender specific? How can we encourage wider engagement with new trends? The role of technology in rewiring the social brain of the masses.

Traditional models of legal services appear to deliver a paradox. The less efficient the service is, the more money it costs. This session brings together industry specialists, tech-developers, investors, business people, entrepreneurs, and members from the government to discuss and share their collective knowledge on how to boost the use of “technology” in the “legal” affairs in the Middle East.

CONCLUDING SESSION: Recommendations and Closing Remarks
5.45 pm – 6.00 pm

The Conference will close with a list of recommendations, including:

  • Building innovation initiatives which are flexible and agile to the changing environment;
  • Embedding data strategies to enable effective decisions in the legal sector;
  • Utilising updated services to add value to your work and your clients;
  • Adapting new structures of in-house legal teams to deliver efficiency and innovation results;
  • Empowering professionals with the skills required for legal profession of the future.
6.00 pm – 7.00 pm

Networking Reception and the announcement of the official launch of the MC Academy for International Legal Studies, Bahrain Branch.

A flyer with detailed information on how to register will be released soon. In the meantime, please contact Ms Sana Afouaiz if you are interested in attending the conference.