Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for [date], covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Embrace Automation and AI: With the trend towards AI and automation in the legal tech sector, it is vital for legal knowledge workers to adopt these technologies to help manage their workloads, streamline processes, and improve efficiency. Companies like DLA Piper and Reveal have developed AI tools for risk monitoring, highlighting the potential of AI to transform legal services.
- Client-Focused Approach: In improving client satisfaction, law firms should consider adopting features like electronic payment systems, as shown by Filevine. This tech-forward, client-focused approach is indicative of the modern legal sector’s emphasis on streamlining client experiences.
- Maintain a Strong Online Presence: Given Firesign's survey results on how small businesses look for legal services, it is clear that having a robust online presence is essential for law firms. Small businesses make up a significant potential market, making it critical for firms to be visible and obtainable online. They should invest in their digital platforms to attract this segment of the market.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
This has been an active week in legal technology, with partnerships being formed, services launched, innovative tools introduced, and several significant personnel appointments.
Legal tech company Paladin teamed up with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch the DOJ Pro Bono Portal, a platform meant to enhance pro bono work of DOJ attorneys. Elite Technology plans to withdraw from non-core markets to focus on core markets and develop legal tech solutions. In the meantime, Syncly has appointed ex-VP of software engineering at Thomson Reuters HighQ, Rishit Patel, as its CTO. The American Bar Association (ABA) is holding its Startup Alley competition at TECHSHOW 2024, setting a deadline for entries coming November 2023. DLA Piper, collaborated with Reveal, has introduced an AI tool, Aiscension, meant to enhance risk monitoring for clients. Firesign's survey detailed how small businesses search for lawyers, underlining the importance of a strong online presence. FileTrail expanded its operations to Australia with a leading full-service Australian law firm as its first client.
AI has dominated the sphere with the introduction of AI-powered tools, Aiscension, PatternBuilder MAX, and a suite of tools on vLex's Vincent AI platform. This trend of automation seems to continue, which suggests that the legal industry is in early stages of a transformation. Companies are turning to AI to help manage workloads, streamline processes, improve efficiency, and manage costs. Another trend observed yesterday was the emphasis on client satisfaction, as seen in the Filevine feature that enables law firms to accept electronic payments, promising a more convenient client experience. Law firms were urged to adopt a proactive approach in addressing client dissatisfaction, signalling that legal tech firms are now more than ever, in tune with their clients’ needs.
The developments in AI and legal tech reflect an industry ripe for innovation. The continued focus on AI-powered solutions attests to the potential of AI to transform legal services. The trend towards digitization and automation, coupled with AI and machine learning, continues to reshape the paradigm of legal services. Companies such as Elite Technology withdrawing from non-core markets indicate the increasing competition in the SaaS space, highlighting the importance of focusing on core competencies. Finally, considering small businesses encounter about 13 legal issues every year, Firesign's study emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong online presence, as they constitute a considerable potential market for legal professionals.
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Elite Technology is poised to eliminate 20% of its workforce and withdraw from non-core markets such as China, India, Mexico, Poland, and Singapore. The decision was announced by CEO Mark Dorman following a thorough business evaluation. In line with its separation from Thomson Reuters and shift towards a SaaS model, the company will now focus on key markets and constructing top-tier legal tech solutions. Staff changes will be made gradually, with some retained to ensure a seamless transition and to meet local regulations. Dorman dismissed suggestions that the actions indicate financial trouble; instead, they are designed to enhance the company’s transition to a SaaS provider in legal tech. Future innovation will focus on pre-existing customers moving from traditional on-premise solutions to cloud-based, as the company steers towards longevity and success.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ), which employs over 10,000 attorneys nationwide, is partnering with justice tech company Paladin. The agreement will give DOJ lawyers access to Paladin's pro bono platform enabling them to search and sign up for volunteering opportunities. The partnership will observe the launching of the DOJ Pro Bono Portal, allowing attorneys to connect quickly with legal services organizations and the DOJ's Office for Access to Justice. Only DOJ lawyers will be included in the collaboration, not all federal government attorneys. The Paladin platform will provide real-time data regarding volunteers' interests, which will guide the future development of the DOJ Pro Bono Program. This significant partnership aims to optimize pro bono opportunities in the legal field.
Legal technology firm Paladin has partnered with the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice to launch the DOJ Pro Bono Portal. The platform will allow DOJ attorneys to utilize Paladin's technology to enhance their pro bono work. The portal enables volunteers to find local opportunities suitable for federal employees, register for legal matters or clinics, and liaise with legal services organizations. The collaboration aims to strengthen pro bono legal services across the country.
Australian legal tech startup Syncly has appointed Rishit Patel, ex-VP of software engineering at Thomson Reuters HighQ, as its CTO. Patel will oversee Syncly's security architecture and team development. Syncly offers no-code integrations between law firms' record systems and collaboration platforms, facilitating document synchronisation and transfer. This follows Syncly's recent seed funding round led by Stuart Barr, former chief product and strategy officer of HighQ.
The American Bar Association (ABA) is calling for applications for its Startup Alley competition at TECHSHOW 2024. Legal tech startups have until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on November 10, 2023, to apply. From the entries, 15 will be selected to participate in a live pitch competition and will also be showcased as exhibitors in the Startup Alley section of the conference.
The LawSites video series recently highlighted Sage Timeslips, a platform designed to simplify time tracking, invoicing, and financial management for legal professionals. Guest Desi Williams demonstrated key features including database setup, client creation, timeslip and expense slip creation, and bill generation. The series, titled 'How It Works,' offers practical demonstrations of various legal technology products.
DLA Piper, in collaboration with Reveal, has launched an AI-driven compliance tool, Aiscension. The tool uses neural net technology to rapidly scan millions of communications, enhancing risk monitoring for clients. It focuses on unstructured data, such as internal documents and communications. Aiscension is pre-trained and supervised by DLA Piper's lawyers. The firm's Executive Director, Ilan Sherr, anticipates AI will significantly transform legal services in the next five years, making it a necessity for competitive firms.
A survey by Firesign indicates that small businesses rely on referrals to find lawyers, but conduct substantial research afterwards, including online searches and checking reviews. The study emphasizes the need for legal professionals to maintain a robust online presence and reputation, given that small businesses encounter an average of 13 legal issues each year, equating to 429 million potential legal cases in the U.S. annually.
FileTrail, a major provider of information governance and records management software, is extending its reach to Australia, securing its first law firm client and launching a new Microsoft Azure data center. This expansion is in line with FileTrail's strategy to modernize information systems and bolster data security, especially in regulated sectors. The new client is a leading full-service Australian law firm, with the transition to FileTrail's platform projected to be finalized by 2024.
The article discusses the disparity in per-hour rates between junior and senior lawyers, suggesting clients may overpay for junior lawyers' services. It proposes using AI technology to automate simpler tasks usually performed by junior lawyers, enabling senior lawyers to concentrate on more complex, high-value tasks. This could allow law firms to charge clients less for simpler legal 'products' and more for complex legal 'counsel', providing better value for money.
A recent survey by Everlaw and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has revealed that in-house legal teams are increasingly using AI to manage costs due to budget constraints, with 33% leveraging technology, a rise from 12% last year. The report also indicated a trend towards bringing more work in-house and outsourcing to smaller firms. The need for better collaboration with other business departments and the adoption of modern technology was also emphasized.
AI-powered legal technology provider, LinkSquares, has introduced new features to boost efficiency for legal teams. The enhancements include Large Language Models (LLMs) for improved data extraction accuracy, integrations with business systems, and comprehensive reporting dashboards. The company's Prioritize platform, known for streamlining processes and providing data-driven performance insights, has gained wide acceptance. LinkSquares also launched a Slack integration for instant notifications and improved communication.
Private equity firm Consello Capital has acquired a majority stake in ProSearch Strategies, a legal services provider that uses technology to assist enterprises with litigation, regulatory, and privacy issues. This is Consello Capital's first investment. ProSearch Strategies employs data science and advanced technologies for eDiscovery processes. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
NetDocuments has launched an AI-powered product, PatternBuilder MAX, constructed on Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service. The product, featuring nine apps, aims to improve legal document management and drafting tasks such as summarizing, extracting, analyzing, translating, and comparing documents. Developed from insights gathered from hundreds of NetDocuments customers, these apps aim to automate tasks and enhance legal processes using AI technology.
Filevine, a law practice management platform, has launched a feature called Payments by Filevine, enabling law firms to accept electronic payments from clients via ACH, credit card, and debit card. This feature automatically updates invoice statuses and is compatible with diverse fee agreements. It also enhances Filevine's existing time and billing functions. Firms with up to two employees processing $500,000 annually through Filevine Payments will receive free user licenses.
NetDocuments has introduced PatternBuilder MAX, an AI-powered document assembly product featuring nine pre-built Studio Apps. These apps use generative AI to cater to common legal scenarios and can be customized according to a firm's requirements. They offer features for summarizing, drafting, data extraction, contract analysis, timeline generation, translation, document comparison, drafting next sections, and querying documents. The apps, developed from insights gathered from hundreds of customers, will continue to evolve.
The article emphasizes the importance of promptly addressing client dissatisfaction in the legal industry. It suggests strategies for law firms to manage service-related issues, including being proactive, allowing clients to express disappointment, avoiding defensiveness, summarizing the problem, offering apologies, not making unrealistic promises, and ensuring follow-ups. The author asserts that quick and sincere responses can enhance client relationships. Delta Air Lines' customer complaint handling is used as a case study.
Malaysian law firm Halim Hong & Quek (HHQ) is implementing 3E and MatterSphere, financial and practice management solutions from Elite, in a multi-product deal. The technology aims to enhance HHQ's growth and cash flow by decreasing the gap between work completion and payment receipt. Additionally, the firm's real estate practice will gain from MatterSphere's automation features.
NetDocuments has introduced PatternBuilder MAX, a suite of nine AI-driven applications aimed at automating routine legal tasks. Launched at the annual Inspire conference, the apps offer features for document drafting, data extraction, and text translation. They can be used directly or tailored to a law firm's unique requirements. The company plans to release additional apps continuously.
Legal intelligence firm vLex has introduced an AI-powered suite of tools on its Vincent AI platform, shaping a comprehensive legal research platform. The platform, which uses one of the world's largest online law libraries, accepts natural language queries, conducts research, and generates research memos or arguments. Currently, the tool suite is available in the UK, US, Ireland, and Spain, with plans for further expansion.