Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Aug 11th, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Law firms and legal professionals should closely monitor the increasing adoption of AI in the legal sector as it's automating routine tasks, enhancing efficiency, and reducing human error. Platforms like Gunderson Dettmer's AI chat app, ChatGD, and ProSearch's AI-based model for review services are worth exploring for their productivity-enhancing capabilities.
- Legal discovery is becoming more streamlined due to AI's ability to handle large volumes of data effectively. Adopting AI-based discovery solutions like those offered by ProSearch can save time, reduce costs, and improve accuracy in the discovery process.
- Data management and privacy are becoming increasingly critical in the legal sector. The growth and investment in legal data management platforms like Syncly, and recent actions by companies like Zoom, underscore the need for law firms to ensure secure and efficient data handling while safeguarding user privacy, particularly when utilizing AI technologies. Therefore, it's crucial for firms to establish robust guidelines and protocols related to data compliance.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Notable headlines included Clyde & Co under accusations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for repeated breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Elsewhere, Australian legal tech company Syncly secured seed funding for their legal data management platform, and ProSearch revealed an AI and data science-based approach to legal discovery simplification.
AI continues to lead legal tech trends, with numerous examples of the technology enhancing efficiency and productivity across the sector. The American Association of Law Libraries' recent conference in Boston highlighted the increasing role of AI in the profession. Gunderson Dettmer, a Silicon Valley law firm, launched its own AI chat app, ChatGD, that enables attorneys to interact with and modify documents efficiently. LexisNexis also utilize AI as they acquired French company Case Law Analytics, which models legal risk, and ProSearch, a legal discovery solutions provider, introduced an AI-based model for review services.
The increasing adoption of AI in the legal tech space is an expected progression, given the significant benefits that the technology offers in automating routine tasks, reducing human error, cutting down costs, and enhancing overall efficiency. However, it's not without controversy, as Zoom’s recent change in its terms and conditions to allow the use of user data for AI projects underlines the ongoing conflict between AI development needs and user privacy. Legal discovery is also transforming due to AI's capability to process large volumes of data effectively and precisely. Companies like ProSearch are leading the charge here, implementing AI and large language models to streamline the discovery process. On another note, the investment in the legal data management platform, Syncly highlights the growing emphasis on secure and efficient data handling. As law firms handle enormous amounts of sensitive data, the development and funding of such platforms are crucial.
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Gunderson Dettmer, a notable Silicon Valley law firm, has developed an AI chat app, ChatGD. This launch makes the firm the first in the US to create its proprietary internal tool with generative AI technology. The ChatGD app offers a platform for attorneys to manipulate and query documents through a secure instance of OpenAI's models via Microsoft Azure, ensuring no potential leakage or misuse of confidential data. The chat app also caters for other large language models besides Azure, making it a flexible tool for the firm's attorneys. The firm maintains that while AI technologies such as ChatGD greatly enhance legal work, they should not be viewed as a replacement for professional expertise and judgment.
LexisNexis' acquisition of French legal-tech firm Case Law Analytics is set to massively bolster their capacity for AI-powered legal risk assessment. Case Law Analytics brings to the table a revolutionary solution, leveraging AI and detailed analysis of legal texts to simulate potential outcomes across over 20 legal areas. This tool helps in strategy building and information sourcing, making it an essential resource for insurers, law firms, and HR departments. This acquisition complements LexisNexis' objective of advancing productivity and decision-making tools for legal professionals by leveraging modern technology, while for Case Law Analytics, the alliance jumpstarts its expansion and internationalization ambitions.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has accused Clyde & Co and ex-partner Ed Mills-Webb of breaching anti-money laundering (AML) rules over four years. The allegations were initially raised in 2019 by Clyde & Co, who accused Mills-Webb and an associate of violating accounting regulations. This is not the first time Clyde & Co has faced such allegations; the firm was previously fined for AML rule breaches in 2017.
Legal data management platform, Syncly, has secured seed funding in the hundreds of thousands of pounds from Stuart Barr, ex-chief product & strategy officer of HighQ. The Sydney-based firm, established in 2021, will use the funds to expand its development team and advance product development. Syncly offers real-time, two-way data synchronisation between legal platforms to ensure compliance with information governance requirements. This marks the company's first investment.
A free webinar discussing the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the legal industry is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10 at 2 p.m. ET. The webinar, eligible for CLE credit in multiple jurisdictions, will include Jordan Turk, an attorney and legal tech advisor at Smokeball, as a co-panelist. The event is sponsored by Smokeball, a legal technology company.
The American Association of Law Libraries' annual conference in Boston was marked by uncertainty due to the rise of AI in the legal profession. The event lacked a clear theme and purpose, reflecting the insecurity felt by law librarians about the impact of AI on their roles. The article encourages law librarians to take the initiative in defining their crucial role in AI's development within the legal field.
The article highlights the significant impact of a robust, positive company culture on law firms' revenue generation, potentially outperforming competitors by 202% and quadrupling revenue. It advocates for hiring aligned with company values, consistent reinforcement of these values, and fostering trust within teams. The piece underscores that genuine employee care and consistent actions build real trust, which enhances engagement, innovation, morale, and customer service, thereby boosting revenue growth.
ProSearch, a legal discovery and compliance solutions provider, has introduced an AI and data science-based review services model to simplify legal discovery. The model uses large language models and AI to minimize review volumes. Joe Pirrotta, a legal services expert, has been appointed as the director of review services to head the new initiative. ProSearch will showcase its new offerings at ILTACON 2023 in Orlando.
Legal technology consultancy Engineer.Legal and workflow automation tools provider Autologyx are partnering to offer workspace collaboration, data-first workflows, and consulting services to the global legal industry. The partnership will address complex customer challenges like law firm knowledge products and enhanced intake and matter management. The combination of Autologyx's Catalyst with Engineer.Legal's services will benefit customers, especially as law firms and corporations seek automation and workflow technology solutions.
AI technology can increase efficiency in managing outside counsel spending, says Jessica Williams, Director of Legal Team Strategy and Operations at FanDuel. AI can determine reasonable hours for tasks, assist in choosing the right law firm timekeeper, and enhance invoice updates. The fast-paced advancement in AI may encourage law firms to adopt technology that focuses on legal spend, thereby improving their relationship with legal departments.
The July/August Orange Rag reports on Australian legal tech platform Syncly's successful seed funding round led by Stuart Barr. It covers Microsoft Copilot's pricing announcement, 17 global legal tech deals including Consilio's acquisition of Lawyers On Demand, and Dentons' launch of ChatGPT tool, fleetai. The newsletter also highlights significant personnel changes in the knowledge sector.
Legal tech firm Lawrina has honored various legal tech blogs, podcasts, and influencers in a recent list compiled from industry professionals' views. The LawSites blog, LawNext podcast, and their creator received the top blog, podcast, and influencer awards respectively. Legaltech News and Legal IT Insider were also included in the list, with editors Stephanie Wilkins and Caroline Hill acknowledged as opinion leaders in legal tech.
The increasing use of text communication by lawyers has sparked security concerns as researchers have developed an AI that can use an iPhone microphone to detect and translate keystrokes with 95% accuracy. This highlights the potential for side-channel attacks where confidential information can be intercepted. The findings underline the need for more secure communication methods in the legal sector.
Zoom is under fire for modifying its terms and conditions to permit the use of user data in AI projects. While Zoom asserts it will not use customer data to train AI models without consent, critics view this as a privacy infringement. Zoom defends its policy, citing the necessity to establish ownership over service-generated data for delivering value-added services. This controversy underscores the constant conflict between user privacy and corporate AI development needs.