(Jul 1) What happened in legal tech last week?

Last week, the legal industry saw a push in AI integration, with new ethics mandates, AI insurance for property transactions, and innovative solutions to enhance client relationships.

(Jul 1) What happened in legal tech last week?

Welcome to your Law Tech weekly briefing covering what happened in legal tech last week.

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This week, there have been significant developments in legal technology and client relations that have been the focus of reporting. A pivotal development comes from Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, as they issued a new legal ethics opinion requiring lawyers to exhibit proficiency in generative AI. This step underscores the importance of lawyers verifying AI-generated content and obtaining client consent, highlighting a need for responsible AI usage and transparency in legal practices (New Legal Ethics Opinion Cautions Lawyers: You ‘Must Be Proficient’ In the Use of Generative AI - LawSites).

Adding to the wave of confidence in AI, Orbital Witness has introduced the first GenAI accuracy insurance in legal tech. This innovation aims to bolster law firms' trust in AI tools during residential property transactions. It sets a new industry standard for liability coverage in AI applications, likely pushing other firms to follow suit (Orbital Witness to Offer GenAI Accuracy Insurance in Legal Tech World First - Artificial Lawyer).

Interestingly, a recent BigHand report revealed a notable disconnect between law firm pricing practices and client expectations. Clients demand greater transparency and updated costing methods, but many firms lag in these areas. The report suggests that firms might enhance profitability and efficiency by hiring trained pricing and finance experts (BigHand benchmarking report reveals disconnect between law firm pricing plans and client expectation - Legal IT Insider).

A survey highlights another growing discrepancy between in-house counsel and law firms concerning technology adoption. Inhouse legal teams, prioritizing long-term efficiency and cost savings through AI and automation, starkly contrast law firms focused on short-term profitability. This divergence may lead to increased use of Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) for manageable risk tasks. However, law firms remain hesitant to outsource critical operations like M&A due diligence (Inhouse Counsel More Focused on AI + Automation Than US Law Firms – Survey - Artificial Lawyer).

Beyond the headline stories, the legal tech industry has seen a flurry of activity and innovation. iManage ConnectLive in London showcased AI's critical role in transforming knowledge work, emphasizing successful cloud transitions and productivity tools like Copilot and Ask iManage (iManage ConnectLive London: Observations and Revelations - Legal IT Insider).

Meanwhile, issues of accuracy and the balance between human and AI errors remain topical. The debate on acceptable error levels for generative AI tools juxtaposes human fallibility with AI's capabilities, stressing a need for clearly defining "good enough" standards in legal practice (GenAI Hallucinations? Lawyers Aren’t Perfect Either - Artificial Lawyer).

On the product development front, Gavel launched Gavel Blueprint for PDF, which automates PDF form workflows, significantly optimizing document management (New Gavel Feature Uses AI to Convert PDFs into Automated Document-Generation Workflows - LawSites). Similarly, Relativity's global launch of aiR for Review promises to revolutionize eDiscovery through AI-powered document review tools (Relativity Announces General Availability Date for its GenAI-Powered Review Solution at Relativity Fest London - Legal Technology News).

Funding and growth are also at the forefront as Clearbrief raised $4 million for its AI-powered legal writing tool, reflecting a robust trajectory in its adoption among larger law firms (AI Legal Writing Tool Clearbrief Raises $4 Million to Fuel Expansion Among Larger Law Firms - LawSites). Furthermore, DeepJudge’s $10.7 million seed round funding exemplifies the rising investment in legal AI tools designed to streamline internal data access (DeepJudge Raises $10.7M Seed Round Funding and Announces Knowledge Assistant - Law Tech Blog).

The integration of generative AI in legal education is also advancing, with US law schools rapidly updating curricula to include AI-focused courses (GenAI Is Rapidly Making Its Way Into Law Schools - Artifical Lawyer). Additionally, innovations continue with Anaqua's release of AQX 11, an AI-driven IP management platform (Anaqua Launches AI-Powered IP Management Platform AQX 11 - Legal Technology News). LexisNexis follows suit with its introduction of Tolley+ AI, tailored for tax professionals (LexisNexis To Develop Tolley+ AI For Tax Professionals - Artifical Lawyer).

Operational and administrative advancements are evident as well. The Operation Safe Spaces Task Force, addressing conference safety and inclusivity, illustrates a proactive approach to creating safer professional environments (Operation Safe Spaces Task Force announces leadership team - Legal IT Insider).

Overall, the week has been marked by significant strides in AI adoption, funding, and ethical considerations, setting the stage for continued evolution in the legal industry.

Want to explore a story more deeply? Here are the original links to the stories, with summaries to aid review.

Key stories

New Legal Ethics Opinion Cautions Lawyers: You ‘Must Be Proficient’ In the Use of Generative AI (LawSites)

The recent joint ethics opinion by the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations underscores the necessity for lawyers to maintain competence in generative AI technology, aligning it with broader technological competence required in law practice. This directive emphasizes that AI’s benefits come with significant responsibilities, such as ensuring accuracy, verifying citations, and guarding against biases. Unique issues associated with generative AI, like its potential to hallucinate, heighten these ethical considerations. The opinion’s 12-point guideline stresses transparency, client communication, and the preservation of professional judgment. Ultimately, the opinion advises a cautious integration of AI, reaffirming that it complements but does not replace traditional legal expertise and due diligence.

Orbital Witness to Offer GenAI Accuracy Insurance in Legal Tech World First (Artificial Lawyer)

Orbital Witness's pioneering move to offer an insurance policy on the accuracy of its generative AI outputs represents a significant milestone in legal tech. Partnering with First Title, the company aims to provide clients with an additional security layer by insuring AI-driven solutions in residential property law. This initiative not only enhances user confidence by hedging against potential errors but also demonstrates high confidence in the reliability of their product. This “genAI insurance” offers a practical response to growing regulatory and client concerns, potentially setting a standard within the legal tech industry. The strategy is lauded for blending risk mitigation with strong marketing, affirming Orbital Witness's leadership in leveraging AI for legal solutions.

BigHand benchmarking report reveals disconnect between law firm pricing plans and client expectation (Legal IT Insider)

BigHand’s latest legal pricing benchmarking report highlights a substantial gap between client expectations and law firm practices related to pricing, budgeting, and training. Over the past three years, feedback from over 800 senior legal professionals was analyzed, showcasing critical misalignments. Notably, only 7% of firms are not planning to raise prices next year, while more than half of the clients demand greater discounts. Furthermore, a significant 10% of firms increased their prices by over 100% last year. A worrying trend is the year-on-year decline in providing clients with budget progress updates despite doubling client demand for such transparency. With only 33% of firms offering financial metrics training to associates, strategic changes are needed. The report underscores the growing importance of pricing and budgeting expertise, driven by profitability and client demands, urging law firms to align better with client expectations and improve financial transparency.

Inhouse Counsel More Focused on AI + Automation Than US Law Firms – Survey (Artificial Lawyer)

The UnitedLex survey highlights a growing divergence between in-house legal teams and law firms regarding AI and automation adoption. In-house lawyers prioritize these technologies, viewing them as essential for efficient cost management and long-term financial benefits. Specifically, 71% of in-house professionals identified automation and analytics as top modernization areas, compared to 57% at law firms. This reflects differing performance metrics; law firms often prioritize short-term profitability over systemic evolution, potentially missing out on the long-term advantages of AI integration. The survey suggests a potential fault line in the legal industry, where clients' increased focus on cost-efficiency could drive greater reliance on ALSPs, particularly for low-risk and eDiscovery-related disputes work. This shift indicates significant opportunities for ALSPs, particularly in transactional work, which law firms have been less willing to outsource.

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iManage ConnectLive London: Observations and Revelations (Legal IT Insider)

The iManage ConnectLive conference showcased AI's transformative role in knowledge work, emphasizing data, governance, and cloud platforms. Key discussions included successful cloud transitions at firms like Linklaters and Vinge and AI tools like Copilot and Ask iManage, which enhance productivity. The event highlighted a shift from AI fears to practical applications that improve business outcomes and user experiences.

Luminance’s Ex-CEO, Emily Foges, Joins The Barrister Group as COO (Artificial Lawyer)

Emily Foges, ex-CEO of Luminance and Deloitte executive, is now COO of The Barrister Group (TBG). TBG, the first private equity-backed legal services firm at the English Bar, plans to grow its barrister network and enhance legal tech use. Foges supports TBG's focus on skills-based hiring and tech efficiency.

GenAI Hallucinations? Lawyers Aren’t Perfect Either (Artificial Lawyer)

The article examines the flaws in both human lawyers and generative AI tools, questioning acceptable error levels. It notes that while AI makes mistakes, human errors are also common but often corrected internally. The piece stresses the importance of defining "good enough" accuracy for both AI and humans to integrate AI effectively into legal practice.

Ashurst launches global Harvey partnership following firmwide trial (Legal IT Insider)

Ashurst has teamed up with Harvey to deploy a generative AI solution for its global workforce of over 4,000. The firm conducted thorough trials and created customized training materials for the implementation. This move aligns with Ashurst's 2027 Strategy to boost digital capabilities and improve client service.

Screens Publicly Announces 97.5% GenAI Accuracy in Transparency Move (Artificial Lawyer)

Legal tech company Screens announced a 97.5% accuracy rate for its genAI tools. This move aims to boost transparency and trust in the legal tech sector. By sharing their methodology and results, Screens hopes to encourage wider adoption of genAI in legal practices.

New Gavel Feature Uses AI to Convert PDFs into Automated Document-Generation Workflows (LawSites)

Gavel has launched Gavel Blueprint for PDF, a generative AI tool designed to automate PDF form workflows for lawyers. The tool identifies key fields in documents and suggests questions to complete them, improving efficiency in form-heavy practice areas. Lawyers can accept or reject AI-generated rules, ensuring accuracy and minimizing errors.

Navigating Brazil’s proposed AI regulation in a global context (The Legal Technologist)

AI is transforming various sectors in Brazil, notably healthcare and finance. Despite its benefits, it poses risks such as biases, privacy concerns, and job losses. Therefore, immediate regulation is essential.

Relativity Announces General Availability Date for its GenAI-Powered Review Solution at Relativity Fest London (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)

Relativity announced the global launch of its AI-powered review tool, Relativity aiR for Review, set for Q3. The company also introduced aiR for Privilege and aiR for Case Strategy to improve legal workflows. Their EMEA community is driving AI innovation and supporting social justice initiatives like the Justice for Change Programme.

DeepJudge Raises $10.7M Seed Round Funding and Announces Knowledge Assistant (Legal Tech Blog)

DeepJudge secured $10.7 million in seed funding led by Coatue, with contributions from prominent angel investors. The company provides AI tools to help legal teams efficiently access and utilize internal data. Homburger, a leading Swiss law firm, has successfully adopted and engaged with DeepJudge's technology.

Legal AI startup Clearbrief raises $4m financing (Legal IT Insider)

Clearbrief, an AI-powered legal writing tool, raised $4 million, bringing its total funding to $8 million since 2020. The funding round was led by Authentic Ventures, How Women Invest, and Reign Ventures, with participation from Wilson Sonsini and angel investors. Based in Seattle, Clearbrief integrates with major legal tech platforms and has received multiple industry awards for its innovation.

GenAI Is Rapidly Making Its Way Into Law Schools (Artificial Lawyer)

A study by the ABA reveals that generative AI is quickly being adopted by US law schools. Many schools now offer AI-focused courses and hands-on learning, prompting a reevaluation of curricula and policies. The future of legal education will likely blend traditional skills with new tech competencies.

Relativity’s New GenAI eDiscovery Tool ‘aiR For Review’ Rolls Out Q3 (Artificial Lawyer)

Relativity is introducing aiR for Review, an AI-driven document review tool, in Q3 for RelativityOne users in the US, UK, Australia, and parts of Europe. This tool, along with aiR for Privilege and aiR for Case Strategy, aims to boost efficiency, consistency, and quality in eDiscovery. Early results indicate significant cost savings and improved accuracy, promising a positive impact on the eDiscovery sector.

How Lawyers Can Stay Necessary (and Employed) in the Age of Generative AI (LawSites)

Generative AI is transforming legal practices by automating research and drafting tasks, impacting junior lawyers the most. Lawyers must adapt by embracing technology and mastering tech-related legal issues. Programs like Cornell Tech's Tech LLM provide essential skills for thriving in this changing landscape.

AI Legal Writing Tool Clearbrief Raises $4 Million to Fuel Expansion Among Larger Law Firms (LawSites)

Clearbrief, a legal tech company leveraging AI for legal writing, raised an additional $4 million, totaling nearly $8 million in funding. The round was led by Authentic Ventures, How Women Invest, and Reign Ventures. CEO Jacqueline Schafer noted the product's rapid growth and significant impact on AmLaw 200 law firms.

Anaqua Launches AI-Powered IP Management Platform AQX 11 (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)

Anaqua has introduced AQX 11, an AI-driven IP management platform, marking its biggest release in two decades. The platform aims to boost decision-making and efficiency for IP attorneys through AI, automation, and data integration. This launch celebrates Anaqua's 20th anniversary and sets a new benchmark in IP management technology.

LexisNexis To Develop Tolley+ AI For Tax Professionals (Artificial Lawyer)

LexisNexis is introducing Tolley+ AI, a generative AI platform tailored for tax professionals. It offers features like conversational search, summarization, and intelligent drafting, all supported by verifiable sources. This launch highlights the growing use of AI in professional sectors, enhancing productivity and competitive edge.

From the Client’s Perspective: How to Keep Client Relationships From Veering Off Track (Articles, Tips and Tech for Law Firms and Lawyers)

The article stresses the need for lawyers to understand and align with client preferences to maintain strong relationships. It points out that small misunderstandings can damage trust between lawyers and clients. To improve relationships, lawyers should actively learn and adapt to each client's unique expectations and needs.

NIS2 Directive: The deadline for the registration of entities in Hungary is 30 June 2024 (Technology's Legal Edge)

Hungary enacted Act 23 on cybersecurity certification and supervision in May 2023, transposing the NIS2 Directive. Entities must register by 30 June 2024. The Act also implements the EU Regulation on ENISA and cybersecurity certification.

The Most Important Thing About Being a Less-Than-Full-Time Lawyer (Articles, Tips and Tech for Law Firms and Lawyers)

The author transitioned from full-time law practice due to unmet personal expectations, which led to dissatisfaction. Working with a first-grader shifted their focus to the intrinsic value of their work. They now find fulfillment in doing good work, independent of client feedback.

Operation Safe Spaces Task Force announces leadership team (Legal IT Insider)

Operation Safe Spaces, led by Esther Birnbaum and Blair Cohen, focuses on enhancing safety and inclusivity at conferences, particularly for women. The task force, created after harassment incidents at Legalweek, includes various working groups to address different safety aspects. They will collaborate with ILTA and offer an educational session at ILTACON 2024 in Nashville.

Kim awarded top spot in Hyperion low/no code workflow report (Legal IT Insider)

Kim's no-code document generation and data automation platform has been named an 'Advanced Solution' by Hyperion MarketView Report. The platform is praised for its document generation and innovative data integration capabilities. CEO Karl Chapman attributes their success to the team's dedication and valuable customer feedback.

Escaping the Overworked and Overwhelmed Cycle (Articles, Tips and Tech for Law Firms and Lawyers)

The article offers strategies for legal professionals to handle overwhelming workloads. It suggests assessing if overwork is temporary or chronic, identifying neglected tasks, and understanding the root causes. It advises creating a plan for change and discussing it with a supervising attorney to improve both firm efficiency and personal well-being.