Would you return to the office?

Yesterday saw significant legal tech advancements, with major acquisitions, AI applications and data security upgrades. However, tech adaptation and risk mitigation are pre-requisites for successful implementation.

Would you return to the office?

Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 1, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.


TLDR; Listen instead:


Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday

  1. Legal technology is evolving through significant acquisitions and innovative applications, with some major companies such as eLitigation consultancy elaw and e-discovery company Reveal taking the lead. These firms, through acquisitions and diversification, aim to enhance data security and streamline services, highlighting the need to understand these changes and adapt accordingly.
  2. The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal tech is significantly influencing one's approach to legal practice. Tools equipped with AI can aid in data-driven decision-making and personalized client relationships. Companies need to leverage these AI capabilities to streamline processes and relationships.
  3. While advances in technology are beneficial, they also pose challenges to legal practitioners unfamiliar with the evolving tech landscape. Potential issues such as unintentional email disclosure risks underline the necessity to understand the risks and vulnerabilities associated with technology advances. Recognising this, industry professionals should consider both harnessing the benefits of technology and adopting robust strategies to mitigate potential risks.

Briefing

Here's what happened in legal tech recently...

eDiscovery company Reveal took over rivals Logikcull and IPRO, streamlining its service offerings and forming a company valued at $1 billion with 4,000 customers across 12 nations.

On the other hand, cloud practice management provider Actionstep has acquired FilePro, adding 4,000 clients to its base and bolstering its standing in Australia and New Zealand. Discussing trends, AI is playing an increasingly significant role in legal tech. AI-powered tools are enhancing efficiency and fulfilling diverse use-cases. Law firm Marriott Harrison's partnership with Nexl provides a keen example of this. Nexl's platform will enable data-driven decision-making and a more personalized approach to client relationships.

The American Bar Association adds another layer to this, with the creation of a task force to research AI’s impact on the legal profession, including aspects from legal practice to governance. Generative AI, specifically Large Language Models like ChatGPT, has also emerged within the legal sector. Meanwhile, CEO Alex Babin of ZERO proposes AI’s utility in billing processes, offering potential for substantial financial recovery.

These developments suggest a shift toward purpose-driven AI in legal technology. The landscape does indicate the legal industry’s efforts to adapt to technology, yet it doesn’t paint an entirely smooth picture.

Legal professionals face struggles in understanding and adapting to advancing tech, which can negatively impact their practice. Unintentional email disclosure risks exemplify this vulnerability. The industry's mitigation strategies are practical yet limited, necessitating further proactive exploration of technology’s risks alongside its advances. Beyond an industry-level analysis, company strategy audits also warrant attention.

The recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions indicate company diversification and integration, seeking to tap into a broader customer base and expand product offerings. The utilization of AI, from exploration to application, signals an industry prepared to embrace tech advancements and adapt to change.

However, these developments also amplify the need for industry professionals to nurture tech competency to ensure successful implementation and leverage. In conclusion, yesterday’s advances in legal tech showcased promising strides while emphasising the importance of user adaptability and risk mitigation, setting the tone for today's trends.


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Key stories

9 in 10 companies will return to office by end of 2024, survey says (Legal Dive - Latest News)

Most businesses are gearing up to enact return-to-office (RTO) policies by the end of 2024, reveals a recent report from Resume Builder. This is in response to the shifting dynamics of the job market accelerated by the pandemic. The majority of the organizations intend to maintain surveillance measures to ensure that the employees are adhering to the new in-person directives, with 28% open to termination of employment in cases of non-compliance. However, given the ongoing opposition to in-person work mandates by employees, companies are forced to reconsider and adjust their RTO plans to retain and attract talent. This has highlighted the potential of hybrid work setups to strike a balance between workspace flexibility and the socio-cultural benefits of in-office work, thereby ensuring employee satisfaction and business productivity.

All stories

eDiscovery: Ostentus app now compatible with RelativityOne in “true differentiator” for legal teams (Legal IT Insider)

Australian eLitigation consultancy, elaw, has made its app, Ostentus, compatible with RelativityOne. Ostentus allows litigators to prepare and present evidence without leaving the RelativityOne environment, thereby enhancing data security. The app, now available in the Relativity App Hub, provides smooth transitions from data collection to evidence presentation at hearings.

On Day After Their Acquisition By Reveal, Some Employees At Logikcull and IPRO Get Layoff Notices (LawSites)

Global e-discovery firm Reveal has laid off 79 employees from recently acquired companies Logikcull and IPRO, which is less than the number reported in an Arizona WARN Act notice. The layoffs were anticipated due to operational redundancies following the $1 billion acquisition. However, most employees from both companies will stay. The dismissed employees will receive severance packages and outplacement resources.

Missed Our Legaltech Week ILTACON Post-Mortem Show Friday? Here’s the Full Video (LawSites)

The Legaltech Week show, offering insights from ILTACON, is available for viewing every Friday at 3 p.m. ET. If viewers are unable to catch the live broadcast, they have the option to access the full video or an audio podcast post-event. Links to access these resources are provided in the related article. The show aims to provide valuable information and updates from the legal industry.

Legal Innovators UK – Where Great Conversations Happen! (Artificial Lawyer)

The Legal Innovators UK conference is set to be held in London on 8-9 November, aiming to promote innovation and discussion in the legal industry. The event will host senior members from law firms, in-house legal teams, and legal tech companies. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and discuss key industry issues. The conference is chaired by Richard Tromans, founder of Artificial Lawyer.

Law Firms Struggling With Arcane Billing Guidelines Can Look To AI For Relief (Technology Archives - Above the Law)

Artificial intelligence (AI) can aid law firms in streamlining billing processes and recovering substantial amounts of money, says Alex Babin, CEO of ZERO. The company's new product, Verify, uses AI to comprehend billing guidelines and the history of bill rejections and appeals. It suggests the best way to present bills for hassle-free payment and can even generate new text in the attorney's style and language.

Be Careful When Forwarding Emails To Counsel And Clients (Technology Archives - Above the Law)

The article discusses the risks lawyers encounter when forwarding emails containing sensitive data, citing instances where accidental disclosure has damaged cases or client relationships. It suggests that initiating new email chains or deleting confidential content can mitigate these risks. The piece also highlights the difficulties legal professionals face in understanding and adapting to technology, which can negatively impact their practice.

UK Law Firm Marriott Harrison Partners with Nexl to Transform Client Management and Drive Growth (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)

UK law firm Marriott Harrison is partnering with Nexl, a collaborative relationship management platform, to improve operations and stimulate growth. The partnership will provide Marriott Harrison's lawyers with tools for data-driven decision making, resource planning, and business development. Nexl's platform will also enable a more personalised approach to client relationships, increasing efficiency and revenue. The move supports Marriott Harrison's dedication to outstanding client services.

The American Bar Association launches AI-focused task force (Legal Dive - Latest News)

The American Bar Association (ABA) has created a task force to investigate the advantages and potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal profession. The group will study AI's effects on law practice, ethical issues, governance, generative AI, and its role in legal education. The task force aims to establish best practices for AI usage in legal practice and ensure its ethical application, while providing regular updates on AI advancements for lawyers.

Reveal widens ediscovery reach with Logikcull, IPRO acquisitions (Legal Dive - Latest News)

Ediscovery software provider, Reveal, has acquired rivals Logikcull and IPRO, creating a combined company worth $1 billion. The move will broaden Reveal's client base, incorporating Logikcull's small to mid-sized customers and IPRO's on-premises users. The acquisitions were funded by K1 Investment Management, Reveal's majority shareholder. The merged entity will serve 4,000 customers in 12 countries under the Reveal brand, while Logikcull and IPRO products will maintain their original branding.

DOL proposes $55K overtime rule threshold, automatic 3-year updates (Legal Dive - Latest News)

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed an increase in the minimum salary threshold for overtime eligibility from $35,568 to $55,068 per year under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This change, which equates to $1,059 per week, is expected to extend overtime eligibility to an additional 3.6 million workers, exceeding the previous threshold of $47,476 set in 2019.

Actionstep acquires Perth-based competitor FilePro to grow mid-market offering (Legal IT Insider)

New Zealand's cloud practice management system provider, Actionstep, has acquired Perth-based rival, FilePro, expanding its global customer base to around 28,000 subscribers. The acquisition will also give FilePro's 4,000 legal professional customers access to a cloud roadmap. This follows Actionstep's earlier purchase of LawMaster in September 2022, which bolstered its position in the mid-market legal sector in Australia and New Zealand. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Practice Management Company Actionstep Acquires Australian Practice Management Company FilePro (LawSites)

Actionstep, a cloud-based law practice management platform, has acquired Australian firm FilePro, adding 4,000 law firm customers to its existing base of 28,000 users worldwide. This acquisition will speed up the provision of cloud technology to FilePro's customers. This follows Actionstep's 2022 purchase of Australian practice management company LawMaster. The FilePro acquisition forms part of Actionstep's technology investment strategy.

The Return of Law Firm Retreats: Destination Choices and Trends (Attorney at Work)

Law firms are increasingly organizing partner and firm-wide retreats to foster unity and facilitate knowledge sharing in a changing work environment. These retreats, taking place in leisure destinations and metropolitan areas, involve early booking, careful planning, and budgeting. The trend is being encouraged by incentives such as hotel stay giveaways to inspire law firms to plan such retreats.

How Generative AI Works (Part IV) (Technology Archives - Above the Law)

The article explores the growing use of Generative AI, particularly Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, in the legal sector. It highlights the emergence of new AI tools, economic factors behind AI adoption, and the potential of Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) in law firms. The author likens the current AI evolution to the time-sharing era in computing, predicting a shift towards purpose-driven AI solutions akin to the "personal computer" phase.

In A $1B E-Discovery Acquisition Double-Play, Reveal Acquires Both Logikcull And IPRO (Technology Archives - Above the Law)

Global e-discovery firm, Reveal, has acquired Logikcull and IPRO, creating the first comprehensive e-discovery platform for all legal teams. The billion-dollar deal will merge the unique features of both firms with Reveal's AI capabilities, enhancing their e-discovery tools. This follows Reveal's 2021 merger with Brainspace, supported by a $200 million investment from K1 Investment Management.

The Future Of Law: ILTACON 2023’s Legal Tech Innovations (Technology Archives - Above the Law)

The ILTACON 2023 conference showcased the rising adoption of generative AI in the legal sector for research, document drafting, and analysis, despite accuracy concerns. New offerings like Lexis + AI, Everlaw AI Assistant, and DISCO Case Builder aim to optimize legal workflows. However, a conference report indicates that only 6% of participants believe the legal industry is prepared for generative AI.

Actionstep Acquires Australian Legal Software Company FilePro (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)

Actionstep, a cloud practice management platform, has acquired FilePro, a Perth-based legal software company. This acquisition, following Actionstep's purchase of LawMaster in 2022, strengthens its position in Australia and New Zealand and expands its client base. FilePro's approximately 4,000 customers will now have access to advanced cloud technologies. The move is in line with Actionstep's global growth strategy, which has led to a tripling of its workforce since 2020.

Generative AI copyright battle heats up with Copyright Office inquiry (Legal Dive - Latest News)

The U.S. Copyright Office is soliciting public opinions on AI-generated content, focusing on copyright protection and the legality of AI content that mimics human identity. The move follows heightened scrutiny of AI by regulatory bodies, including the Federal Trade Commission's investigation into OpenAI and the White House's AI discussions. This mirrors the Copyright Office's approach to technological advancements in 1965. The outcome may lead to legislative or regulatory changes.

Plaintiffs counsel ordered to disclose litigation funders in 3M earplug settlement (Legal Dive - Latest News)

U.S. District Judge M.Casey Rodgers has instructed lawyers in a $6 billion settlement with 3M over defective earplugs to reveal details of third-party funding arrangements. The order is designed to protect claimants from predatory lending practices. The $17 billion third-party litigation funding industry is criticized for potentially skewing the judicial system, but advocates claim it allows under-resourced plaintiffs to sue wealthy defendants.