Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Aug 21, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Legal firms should continue exploring the use of AI and LLMs for tasks such as document creation and advice, but must maintain human intervention to ensure accuracy and manage concerns around potential bias and privacy. It is important to maintain a balance between automation and human expertise to ensure the best outcomes.
- Legal businesses can significantly benefit from strengthening their digital marketing strategies, as demonstrated by Best Lawyers' acquisition of digital marketing agency Good2bSocial. This trend implies an increased need to create a robust online presence to grow their business and stay competitive in the industry.
- Lastly, the potential sanctions faced by Google serve as a reminder of the need for robust data retention measures for legal compliance. This presents opportunities for legal tech providers to further innovate and deliver solutions that address these critical compliance challenges.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Discussions around the use of large language models (LLMs) and generative AI in legal tasks such as document creation and advice continued, despite persisting concerns over accuracy and privacy. A variety of significant developments unfolded, such as the merger of HBR Consulting, LAC Group, and Wilson Allen, leading to the launch of Harbor, a global legal services provider. Best Lawyers also acquired a digital legal marketing agency, Good2bSocial, expanding the range of services they can offer to their clients. Artificial intelligence continued to be a major investment focus, with AI-powered platform The Contract Network securing $8 million in seed funding and Genie AI receiving a £200,000 grant from Innovate UK. Compliance issues surfaced, with Google potentially facing multi-million dollar sanctions for violating the Federal Rules of Procedure.
Legal firms are increasingly embracing generative AI for tasks such as document generation and research, signaling a gradual shift towards automation for more efficiency. However, human intervention remains crucial to ensure the accuracy of outcomes. The Contract Network's investment illustrates the rising interest in AI-powered contract collaboration aimed at expediting contract negotiations. Meanwhile, the acquisition of Good2bSocial by Best Lawyers attests to the value of digital marketing strategies in the legal industry.
The increasing adoption and integration of AI, particularly in contract collaboration processes, reveal an industry striving for increased productivity and efficiency. This trend is caught in a delicate balancing act with concerns around accuracy, reliability, potential bias, and privacy issues. This underscores the need for robust governance frameworks to mitigate these risks. By combining AI capabilities with traditional methods, firms can augment human expertise, a hybrid model that appears to be the future of legal services. Digital marketing is also proving to be a triumphant trend in the legal sector, with firms seeking to strengthen their online presence to grow their business. The approach taken by Best Lawyers to acquire a digital marketing agency demonstrates the growing significance of creative digital strategies in industry competition. On another note, Google's potential sanctions underline a key challenge for tech companies—a strong need for robust data retention for legal compliance. Sober lessons such as these present opportunities for legal tech to provide effective solutions, reflecting that the legal tech ecosystem is as driven by advancements as it is by the pressing challenges in the industry.
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The merger of HBR Consulting, LAC Group, and Wilson Allen has resulted in the birth of Harbor, a robust service provider in the legal tech and operations field. With a combined force of over 650 international experts in strategy and legal technology, Harbor promises an "end-to-end" solution for its clients. The company's capabilities were significantly bolstered with the acquisition of Aurora North and Younts Consulting, firms specializing in legal tech applications and cloud migration, and the addition of KP Labs, a specialist in business process automation and contracts intelligence. Harbor's primary focus is to provide clients with comprehensive and personalized legal tech services, emphasizing building long-term relationships. Now, Harbor serves over 80% of global 200 law firms, and 50% of Fortune 500 companies, marking an impressive client outreach.
London-based legal AI firm, Genie AI, is set to launch its advanced AI legal assistant after receiving a £200,000 grant from Innovate UK. Reflecting a ground-breaking intersection of technology and legal services, Genie AI's conversational assistant deconstructs complex contracts and provides instant legal advice to SMEs. This innovation, built on open-sourced contracts, is poised to revolutionize accessibility and comprehension of legal services. The grant has significantly impacted Genie AI's progress, with about 13,000 firms using their platform, amounting to over 10,000 legal documents. User trust is evident in their sign-up rates, which have reached 200 daily. As AI levels rise to match human experts, combining this tech with Genie AI's UI design and the legal document editor SuperDrafter, businesses can efficiently navigate legal agreements.
The legal sector is considering the use of large language models (LLMs) and generative AI for tasks like document creation and legal advice, despite concerns over accuracy, reliability, and privacy. A solution proposed by Yannic Kilcher and Aashna Majmudar from DeepJudge involves combining generative models with semantic search engines, to ground generated data in factual information and enhance auditability. This could potentially improve efficiency and client service in the legal industry.
Best Lawyers, a lawyer ranking and review firm, has acquired Good2bSocial, a digital marketing agency for the legal industry. The acquisition will enable Best Lawyers to offer digital marketing strategy, content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, and website development. Good2bSocial's leadership will stay on to manage strategy, management, and growth. Financial details of the deal were not revealed.
AI-powered contract collaboration platform, The Contract Network, has secured $8 million in seed funding led by Tusk Venture Partners, with contributions from Andrew Sieja, Mayo Clinic, Toba Capital, among others. The platform aims to expedite contract negotiations through enhanced collaboration. The funds will be primarily used for product development, with commercial availability anticipated next month.
The ILTACON conference offers learning, networking, and business opportunities for legal professionals, backed by insights from the ILTA Tech Survey. The survey, completed by over 500 law firms worldwide, helps set technology benchmarks and future strategies. TJ Johnson, a survey committee member, stressed the need to update survey questions to address current issues and emerging technologies. The 2023 survey will introduce topics such as emerging desktop applications, generative AI tools, and hybrid strategies.
Law firms are increasingly using generative AI in various ways, such as document generation, summarization, and research. While generative AI provides a starting point, human intervention is crucial to ensure accuracy. The technology has the potential to enhance productivity and efficiency in the legal industry, but firms must be mindful of the risks and challenges associated with its use, such as biased or inaccurate results and the need for robust governance frameworks.
Google may face multi-million dollar sanctions for violating the Federal Rule of Procedure 37(e) by failing to preserve internal chat messages related to ongoing lawsuits. The company's auto-delete function resulted in the loss of thousands of relevant messages, highlighting the importance of data retention for legal compliance, public trust, and company integrity. The case underscores the need for companies to review their data management policies.
Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, has filed a misconduct complaint against US Judge Brantley Starr, accusing him of setting a dangerous precedent by ordering Southwest Airlines lawyers to undertake religious liberty training. The order was part of a case where Starr found Southwest guilty of not informing flight attendants about their Title VII rights. Roth is calling for sanctions against the judge. Starr has temporarily halted his order in response to a court filing from Southwest.
An Interview with Professor David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School (LawTech.Asia)
The Singapore Academy of Law and Singapore Management University organized a conference titled "The Next Frontier in Lawyering: From ESG to GPT," which explored the latest trends in the legal industry and their impact on lawyers and legal professionals. Professor David B. Wilkins, a thought leader on the future of the legal profession, emphasized the need for lawyers to collaborate with technology and adapt to new skills in order to navigate the changing landscape. He also discussed the importance of legal technology being accessible to under-served and under-represented populations and the role of government and private industry in achieving this.
The Contract Network, an AI-powered platform for contract collaboration, raised $8M in seed funding led by Tusk Venture Partners. The platform enhances contract negotiation speed, breaks contracts into separate clauses, and translates legal terminology into plain language. It is compatible with existing Contract Lifecycle Management platforms and aims to minimize delays in processes such as clinical trial approvals. The Contract Network has garnered significant interest from customers and partners, including legal and business outsourced services provider, Integreon.
The Law Society of Scotland has announced that it is working with the Scottish government to progress the implementation of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) in Scotland. ABSs, which allow non-lawyers to have ownership interests in law firms, have been delayed in Scotland for over a decade. The Law Society's recent press release suggests that there may be progress in sight, although the exact timeline for implementation is still uncertain.