Progressive law firm Stephenson Law has partnered with Bristol-based software developer and digital transformation specialist Amdaris to create an innovative platform that gives straightforward legal advice to educate technology startups in a modern, digitalised way.

The ongoing project, known as Puffin, uses expert data insights to provide automated legal guidance to questions posed by early-stage startups and other businesses via reviewing and considering legal insights stored in an ever-growing knowledge bank. Sitting within Stephenson Law’s sister company, flamenco, the overall goal is to create a platform that provides specific, low cost, and accessible legal advice using smart technology, instead of giving standard predetermined answers to questions, or needing to seek the expensive guidance of a solicitor for relatively straightforward legal queries.

The platform is a cognitive system that provides personalised answers as opposed to just a standard Google search and response. Despite its automated nature, the advice provided will initially be overseen and signed off by the Stephenson Law team before being issued. The human-centred, semi-automatic chatbot offers legal advice gained from the information provided by a machine-learning setup.

The Puffin project was successfully selected as one of the winners at last year’s Innovate UK competition, in order to win the funding needed to bring the project to life. Flamenco combined with the Puffin project also won the award for Disruptive Technology of the Year at The Legal Innovation Awards 2021.

Founded in 2017 by Alice Stephenson, Stephenson Law was created after spotting a gap in the market for an all-inclusive, progressive, human-centric law firm, with a focus on tech clients. After serving high-growth scaleup tech clients for several years, the

Bristol-headquartered company noticed that the startup community was being underserved, so in 2021 they launched their sister company flamenco, before diving into project Puffin.

Amdaris, which is working with Stephenson Law to provide industry expertise to create Puffin, alongside building out the datasets for the platform, offers software development, digital transformation, and managed services to companies large and small around the world. Founded in 2009, Amdaris now has offices in five countries including the UK, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and the UAE.

Andy Rogers, Co-CEO at Amdaris, commented: “Giving technology companies the legal insight they need is an important task, and working with the flamenco team in order to create Puffin, has been an exciting challenge for the Amdaris team. Our company’s goal is to provide digital transformation across all sectors, and this is a groundbreaking project which will transform the legal advice industry through data-driven insights, making the process not only more efficient but personalised as well.”

Ed Boal, Managing Director at Stephenson Law, added: “As a law firm working with tech companies, it only seemed right to build our own technology platform to help with our company’s mission of providing legal advice in a progressive and modern way. By breaking down barriers between clients and lawyers, Puffin helps shift the legal landscape towards diversity and inclusion, by increasing accessibility of legal advice for startups. We are thrilled to be working with Amdaris on our Puffin project, and believe through our collaboration, we can work together to create a tool to truly make legal processes as smooth and simple as possible for tech startups, so they don’t have to rely on their own judgement when it comes to searching for legal questions online .”