Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Aug 2nd, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- The developing legal technology landscape emphasizes the importance of continuous development and incorporation of AI tools to enhance productivity, exemplified by Everlaw's AI tool for text-based legal work and Trellis Research's AI-powered market insights tool. Legal professionals should be open to AI progression to facilitate work processes.
- Alongside integrating advanced technology, law firms must prioritize strengthening cybersecurity measures. Escalating incidents of data breaches highlights the urgent need for robust cyber defenses. Law firms must adopt proactive strategies to confront the increasing cyber threats.
- There is an essential need for higher-tech proficiency among legal staff. Underutilization of crucial tech tools like Microsoft 365 indicates a gap in understanding and utilizing technology's potential. Legal firms should consider learning initiatives like those offered by LTC4 to boost tech savviness and address digital inefficiencies and cybersecurity risks.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Yesterday saw a slew of developments in the legal technology landscape, ranging from important personnel appointments to significant investments in the burgeoning sector. Everlaw, an e-discovery platform, launched an AI tool to enhance productivity in text-based legal work. RF Investment Partners invested an undisclosed amount in cloud-based e-discovery company Nextpoint to fuel its expansion and product development. Meanwhile, the legal software developer LawCatch Inc. raised $3.5 million in seed funding to boost its legal editing software's capabilities, BriefCatch. Michael Best set precedence by appointing Sarah Alt as its first Chief Process and AI Officer, demonstrating an increasing focus on AI in legal workflows.
Two critical trends that emerged yesterday are the increasing significance of AI and the necessity for heightened cybersecurity measures in legal firms. AI continues to advance in legal settings, with Everlaw launching EverlawAI and Trellis Research introducing an AI-powered tool that provides market insights to law firms. However, alongside technological progression, there is a mounting need for stronger cybersecurity measures. The rise in data breach incidents at law firms signifies this pressing requirement. The debate on the potential of Generative AI replacing traditional legal tasks, as initiated by Goldman Sachs, continues to draw attention. Analyst Ryan McClead criticized this claim, arguing that the data from the report is insufficient and misleading, indicating that the narrative around AI and automation in legal tasks warrants further, more nuanced examination.
Given the digitization and increasing dependency on AI, the lack of tech savviness within the legal sector raises concerns about inefficiencies and cybersecurity risks. Microsoft 365, for instance, despite being an essential tech tool, is under-utilized mainly due to a lack of understanding of its potential. The LTC4's initiative to create learning plans to enhance tech proficiency is a step in the right direction. Law firms could also benefit from incorporating AI models like ChatGPT in their practice. Such models, coupled with the professionals' critical thinking and legal reasoning, can significantly enhance productivity and work quality in the industry. However, since the recent rise in data breaches, law firms need to upgrade their cybersecurity measures. Firms should no longer underestimate or ignore the growing cyber threat landscape. Stay tuned for more industry updates and insights tomorrow.
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This analysis confronts a widely circulated Goldman Sachs report suggesting that Generative AI could automate 44% of legal tasks. However, the author deems the underlying data used by Goldman Sachs as insufficient and the report's lack of specificity concerning whether AI will replace legal tasks, positions, or work, as misleading. The author also critiques the ambiguous definition of the term "legal" and the report's assumption that AI can perform tasks of up to a level 4 difficulty, which is not detailed. Moreover, the author points out that the entire foundation of the report is based on the inputs of just 31 lawyers and 134 legal-related professionals, rendering the report's relevance to the industry as limited. Lastly, the author questions Goldman Sachs's objectivity by suggesting that it might be invested in Generative AI technologies. Thus, according to the author, the widespread panic induced in the legal sector regarding AI replacing jobs is unjustified based on the report's faulty methodology and lack of clarity.
Michael Best has become one of the first Biglaw firms to establish a C-suite role focusing explicitly on AI, demonstrating forward-thinking despite the legal profession's renowned hesitancy in embracing new technologies. Sarah Alt, a well-versed IT, and Ethical AI professional, has been handed the reins as the firm's first Chief Process and AI Officer. Her primary objective is to guide the firm's approach to integrating AI practices into its framework, alongside advising its clients. More than just a statement, the move signals Michael Best's commitment to leading the industry in responsibly utilizing AI capabilities. The question is whether other firms will follow suit, potentially marking a significant shift in the legal field's technology adoption.
The article discusses how understanding the brain's sympathetic ("Warrior") and parasympathetic ("Guru") responses can help lawyers manage stress. The Warrior response is activated by perceived threats, causing stress, while the Guru promotes relaxation in safe situations. The article suggests that lawyers often operate in Warrior mode, leading to burnout, and offers methods to regulate these responses.
Cloud-based e-discovery company Nextpoint has secured an undisclosed investment from RF Investment Partners to facilitate its expansion, product development, and exploration of M&A opportunities. The funds will also support the growth of Nextpoint Law Group, a law firm recently launched in Arizona. This investment is RF's 12th in the software sector, demonstrating its ongoing interest in legal technology.
The article explores the potential of AI language models, such as ChatGPT, in the legal profession. Despite these models' inability to think critically, they can mimic human writing. Lawyers can enhance their interactions with AI by incorporating critical thinking and legal reasoning. The article proposes a chain-of-thought process that includes setting clear goals, connecting AI's ideas, structuring logical follow-up questions, and refining AI interactions, which can improve legal work quality and productivity.
The legal sector is facing inefficiencies and cybersecurity risks due to underutilization and poor understanding of essential tech tools such as Microsoft 365. Experts stress the need for lawyers to adapt to technology changes. The Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition (LTC4) has created learning plans to enhance tech proficiency and offers certification to ensure lawyers and support staff can effectively use tech tools.
Trellis Research has introduced Law Firm Intelligence, an AI-powered tool providing insights into the competitive dynamics of major US law firms. The tool enables firms to evaluate their growth and performance in specific practice areas and analyze their competitors. It also helps identify potential market and revenue opportunities. Moreover, it assists corporate legal teams in making data-driven decisions about their outside counsel.
Everlaw has launched EverlawAI, a portfolio of generative AI features aimed at improving productivity in text-based legal work. The AI capabilities, integrated into Everlaw's workflows, can summarise complex documents, draft motions, and thread facts from multiple sources to enhance the e-discovery process. The platform could transform the $950 billion global legal services market by significantly reducing the time and effort required in litigation.
Legal technology implementations require input from all stakeholders, not just the legal team, for successful deployment, says Ross Dubinsky, a specialist at Stout. The chosen solution should align with the organization's strategic goals and have executive-level support. Training and change management are crucial for user adoption, and third-party implementers can help manage priorities and implementation fatigue. Demonstrating return on investment can secure initial project support.
LawCatch, Inc., a legal software developer, has secured $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by TIA Ventures for its BriefCatch legal editing software. The funds will be used to launch new products, expand training and development, double the team size, and establish a Legal Writing Advisory Board. BriefCatch, which operates on Microsoft Word, provides legal-specific writing suggestions and is used by many, including Supreme Court justices and various law firms.
The article discusses a rise in data breaches at law firms, citing cybercriminals targeting both large and small firms. It underscores the need for better cybersecurity measures amidst increasing class action lawsuits and regulatory actions. However, many firms are hesitant to upgrade their security due to cost, operational disruption, and a false belief of not being at risk of cyberattacks.
In the competitive legal industry, law firms must stay abreast of regulatory changes and maintain high performance. Crucial metrics include billing, cases per lawyer, case cost per lawyer, and open cases. To boost productivity, firms should streamline processes, optimize resource allocation, invest in technology, and consider outsourcing non-core processes and paralegal activities. This can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, improve client service, and strengthen reputation.