Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for June 16th, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
1. Utilize AI-powered platforms to streamline workflows and improve efficiencies, such as the Lexis+ AI platform launched by LexisNexis, which provides legal document drafting and reference materials.
2. Law firms should consider exploring the possibilities of generative AI to automate tedious manual processes, such as drafting clause language and inserting clauses from existing contracts. Addleshaw Goddard is already exploring this possibility by leveraging OpenAI models.
3. Prioritize training and development for lawyers, especially in the most sought-after practice areas such as privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property. In-house attorneys express higher job satisfaction than their colleagues in other professions, highlighting the critical role they play.
Legal technology continues to evolve, with several developments making headlines over the past couple of days. LexisNexis launched a new AI-powered platform, Lexis+ AI, designed to provide legal document drafting and reference materials for in-house attorneys. Also, the UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard announced that it was exploring the possibilities of building its own private ChatGPT application and generative AI powered by OpenAI and using open-source tools.
In-house lawyers express more job satisfaction than their colleagues in other professions, with 85% reporting being satisfied with their work, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte. The report also revealed that privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property were the most sought-after practice areas. Meanwhile, Law firms can drive growth and increase production through accountability, according to an article by Mary Juetten. The article suggests that accountability through billing goals, discussions, and discipline leads to progress.
Legal professionals can benefit from the latest advancements in legal technology to streamline workflows and improve efficiency. The launch of the Lexis+ AI platform by LexisNexis expands the options available to in-house attorneys seeking legal document drafting and reference materials. This AI-powered platform enables conversational search, making it easy to obtain concise legal answers and manage requests for assistance. It can also draft legal documents quickly and has reference materials useful for in-house attorneys. Another notable trend is the focus on generative AI. Addleshaw Goddard's exploration of the possibilities of building its own private ChatGPT application powered by OpenAI is an excellent example of this. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the legal industry by automating tedious manual processes for lawyers. It can be trained on existing contracts and legal playbooks to generate draft clause language, insert clauses from previous contracts, and much more.
Lastly, the survey conducted by Deloitte, revealing that in-house lawyers express more job satisfaction than their colleagues in other professions, is noteworthy. This trend suggests that the role of in-house attorneys is becoming more critical than ever before. It also highlights the need for training and development for lawyers at all levels. Overall, legal technology continues to advance, making it imperative for legal professionals to keep up with new developments in the sector. This will help them streamline workflows, increase productivity, and improve job satisfaction. Along with the growing trend of generative AI implementation and the need for training and development, legal professionals can thrive by adopting a forward-thinking approach to legal technology.
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The legal profession has long struggled to define and develop 'soft skills' such as empathy, teamwork, and cultural fluency. Many lawyers saw these abilities as second-tier, touchy-feely stuff. Generative AI is now emerging as "the current star of the show" and threatens to perpetuate a focus on technical abilities, rendering much of the curricula of legal training obsolete, says Jordan Furlong. However, he adds, LLMs won't replace the separate human abilities that lawyers bring, such as good judgment, client relationships, and personal skills. It is "lawyers as people, not technicians that resonates most with those we serve". Law schools and regulators will need to elevate these skills as LLMs begin to take on much of the technical workload, he adds.
UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard has launched a working group to test and research the possibilities of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in drafting, legal review, and productivity. The group called the Generative AI Decision Group, comprises general counsel David Handy, IT and innovation specialists Kerry Westland and Elliot White, and others. The group is overseeing trials with five generative AI firms and considering building a private ChatGPT application powered by OpenAI. The trial group is communicating with companies to discuss their risk profiles and taking five forward from a list of 40. The firm is also conducting talks with clients to gauge their own views on the emerging technology.
The satisfaction of in-house lawyers with their work seems to exceed that of their counterparts in the broader organization, with 85% of in-house lawyers reporting satisfaction compared to 70% of professionals in general, according to a Deloitte survey. The top concern of senior, mid-level, and early-career lawyers is training and development, with the survey suggesting that this important driver of satisfaction is harder to find the more senior the lawyer becomes. In addition, almost a third of senior-level attorneys indicated a desire to move into management within five years, pointing to management training as an area of learning they would like to see. The most in-demand practice areas pointed to by lawyers included privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property.
Legal tech company, Litera, has teamed up with Zero Systems to develop a mobile metadata management solution for law firms. The partnership will combine Zero's AI technology with Litera's Metadact tool to remove sensitive metadata from emails and attachments. The mobile solution will also enable email prioritization, automated signature creation, and folder assignment. The system will support protection policies through integration with MobileIron, WorkspaceOne, Citrix, and Intune. The partnership aims to provide a more secure experience for shared customers.
Dan Tacone, the president and chief client officer of Intapp, has passed away, according to a statement by the company. Tacone was a well-known and respected figure in the legal technology industry, having worked at Elite Information Systems before joining Intapp in 2010. During his time at Intapp, he played a key role in the acquisition of several companies and the company's public listing on the New York Stock Exchange. However, it is his kindness, positivity, and people skills that will be most remembered by those who knew and worked with him. Tributes have been pouring in from the industry.
Matters.Cloud, a cloud-based practice management provider, has launched a Microsoft Outlook integration that enables legal professionals to save emails to the relevant client matter and capture time during the filing process. The integration prompts fee-earners to select the relevant matter from a list and automatically captures a six-minute unit per email to track billable hours. The integration also allows users to save emails directly to document management systems such as NetDocuments, OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, streamlining workflow and reducing administration. The aim is to improve efficiency and profitability for legal professionals.
Law firms can drive growth and increase production through accountability, according to an article by Mary Juetten. The article suggests three components of accountability: billing goals, discussions, and discipline. A weekly meeting agenda is recommended to hold team members accountable and identify roadblocks and successes. The article advises that there must be consequences for missing goals, and that traditional billable hours or alternative metrics such as activities or points can be effective in measuring progress.
Legal software startup Spellbook's generative AI contract-drafting tool is attracting attention from major venture capital firms, including Thomson Reuters Ventures, and has a waitlist of almost 60,000 customers. The tool aims to speed up commercial transactions and M&A by assisting lawyers in drafting contracts. Co-founder and CEO Scott Stevenson believes AI will be a tool to assist lawyers rather than replace them, acknowledging the potential for job displacement in the legal industry.
US attorneys who use AI to create legal documents have been ordered by a judge to disclose the specific program used and the generated text following a lawsuit against OpenAI. The company, which created ChatGPT, is facing its first legal action after a journalist used the program to generate a summary of a lawsuit in Washington federal court that inaccurately characterized the role of radio show host Mark Walters. Walters has filed a complaint seeking defamation charges against OpenAI.
UK law firm Knights PLC sent a fake compensation announcement to its staff, which included an attorney-specific memo with salary increase details, according to RollOnFriday. The announcement was a phishing scam designed to test staff's cyber-security awareness. However, some partners at the firm were reportedly unhappy with the test and threatened to leave. A spokesperson for Knights said the campaign was intended to raise awareness of "continually evolving threats".
The European Parliament is working to finalize their stance on the EU AI Act, which aims to regulate AI in the market and address generative AI challenges. If a parliamentary position is decided, trilogue discussions between the European Commission, Parliament, and Council will begin. The EU aims to reach a final agreement by 2023, with the act becoming binding law within two years. In the meantime, there are calls for a voluntary Code of Conduct for generative AI products, which is expected to be developed in partnership by the EU and US.
In-house legal teams should define their contracting strategy and prepare for contract lifecycle management (CLM) software before implementing the technology, according to Simon McCarthy, VP of enterprise transformation at ContractPodAi. McCarthy suggests bringing in outside specialists to develop policies, systems and processes in a technology-agnostic way before selecting a CLM solution. He added that representatives from procurement, IT and sales should collaborate to develop the groundwork for deployment and that CLM should be viewed as an enterprise-wide platform, rather than a legal deployment.
LexisNexis has launched a new AI-powered platform, Lexis+ AI, which can draft legal documents and provide reference material for in-house lawyers. The platform also allows for conversational search, where lawyers can ask for concise legal answers, and can manage requests for assistance. Lexis Connect, a legal intake and matter management workflow solution for corporate legal departments, has also been launched in partnership with Microsoft. The technologies will be made widely available to in-house counsel and other legal customers in the coming months.
Legal tech company Casetext is marking its 10th anniversary as a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in law. Initially founded as a crowdsourced case law library, the company has since become a leader in AI legal assistants and search technology. Its latest product, CoCounsel, was developed in partnership with OpenAI and uses the latest version of OpenAI's GPT large language model. Casetext's growth over the past decade is documented in 49 blog posts, charting the evolution of the legal tech start-up into a mature company.
Legal calendaring software LawToolBox has partnered with document management system NetDocuments to offer a combined calendaring solution across both platforms, as well as Microsoft 365. The integration allows users to manage matter calendars from NetDocuments, Outlook or Teams and attach secure links for NetDocuments files to any deadline or event. LawToolBox's integration with Microsoft 365 enables legal teams to manage matters calendars, deadlines, files and notes within Outlook and Teams. Both LawToolBox and NetDocuments were developed as early cloud-based products in the legal industry.
Thomas D. Kearns, co-leader of the real estate group at Olshan Frome Wolosky, has discussed the changes he has seen over the 40 years he has spent at the company. Kearns stated that a focus on attracting talented lawyers, a commitment to personal service and the use of technology have helped the firm grow from fewer than 20 lawyers to more than 100. The firm has invested in AI and similar technologies to improve its written work product and leverage its databases.
BigHand, a technology solutions provider for legal professionals, has been recognized as an ALM Pacesetter in the Legal Department Spend Management Report. The report evaluated various factors, such as technology innovation and market impact, to identify organizations that exemplify excellence in legal management. BigHand was acknowledged for its cutting-edge technology and proven track record in enabling legal professionals to optimize revenue and costs, streamline processes, and drive efficiency.
Legal technology provider Litera has teamed up with AI firm ZERO Systems to offer a mobile metadata management solution for law firms. The solution will use ZERO Systems' Hercules platform, which uses AI to label unstructured data at the point of ingestion, and Litera's Metadact solution, which removes potentially sensitive metadata from emails and attachments. The partnership will enable legal professionals to redact metadata on mobile devices with the same flexibility and security as on desktop. Other features of the mobile email client will include wrong recipient detection and automated folder assignment.
Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the legal industry by automating tedious manual processes for lawyers. This technology can be trained on existing contracts and legal playbooks to generate draft clause language, insert clauses from previous contracts, produce suggested redlines during contract negotiations, and summarize clause language. However, legal professionals must prioritize data security, consider IP issues, temper expectations, and invest in systems to get the most out of generative AI. While the technology will continue to improve, it cannot replace the human aspects of legal roles, such as exercising judgment.