Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 11, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently. 99.2% produced, scripted, and read by AI 🤖.
Editors note: We will be changing the format of the briefing from next week. We will still be publishing 3x each week, with the aim of providing the best analysis of what happened in Legal Tech recently.
- Monday: A look back at what happened in Legal Tech last week (previous Mon-Sun).
- Wednesday: Review of stories from Mon-Wed.
- Friday: Review of stories from Thu-Fri.
We are also considering a monthly review, i.e., 'What happened in Legal Tech in September.' More to come on that as we develop that offering.
TLDR; Listen instead:
Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Leadership Changes: The recent executive appointments in key UK law firms underscore the importance of specific roles and expertise in the legal sector. Knowledge workers should anticipate and study these shifts, as they indicate the maturing and reshaping of the industry.
- AI Integration: The growing use of AI in the legal sector, as suggested by companies like LexisNexis and Microsoft, signifies an industry-wide shift in workflow management. Legal professionals must stay informed and adaptive to AI tools that enhance productivity, while being aware of potential legal implications like copyright issues.
- ESG and Diversity Commitments: The updated focus of General Counsel Sustainability Leaders to support ESG targets demonstrates increased attention on sustainable practices within law firms. Moreover, the Women of Legal Tech initiative signifies a rising wave of gender diversity in the sector. Legal knowledge workers should acknowledge these trends, work towards widening inclusivity, and consider how to incorporate sustainability into their professional practices.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
There were several notable changes and announcements in the legal technology sector. We observed a flurry of executive appointments at key UK companies, such as Daniel Ibrahim now taking the strategic account manager role at Ascertus, Joe Campbell helming the Practice Lead at Fireman & Company, new leaders at Advanced, Pinsent Masons, and Linklaters. Lawyers' non-profit group, General Counsel Sustainability Leaders, formerly known as 'Lawyers for Net Zero', also updated their focus towards assisting GCs in accomplishing their firms' ESG targets. Legal tech behemoth, Relativity, revealed details for its annual conference "Relativity Fest", while Microsoft assured legal cover for its Copilot AI tool users under certain conditions.
Also, the Legal Technology Resource Center celebrated 141 women who are shaping legal tech dynamics, including Amy Conroy, a data scientist at Mishcon de Reya.
AI permeation in the legal sphere continues as LexisNexis' Chief Product Officer, Jeff Pfeifer, suggested AI adoption for enhancing document drafting and review processes in the industry imply huge productivity increments, provided AI solutions are integrated in current company workflows.
Importantly, Microsoft's initiative, the Copilot Copyright Commitment that defends users of its Copilot AI tool from copyright transgressions, signals a growing concern about copyright issues in AI utilization. Apart from this, the Women of Legal Tech initiative spotlighting the female leaders in legal tech shows a positive trend towards improving gender diversity in the space.
The managerial appointments illustrate an increasing need for leadership efficiencies and sector-specific expertise in key roles, indicating a maturing industry. The shift exhibited by the General Counsel Sustainability Leaders reflects how legal professionals are integrating ESG commitments into their business strategies, emphasizing the sector’s awareness of the broader business landscape. The AI trend, emphasized by both LexisNexis and Microsoft, depicts the increasing reliance of the industry on this technology, auguring a systematic change in workflow management while also acknowledging potential legal ramifications. Finally, the recognition of influential women in legal tech champions diversity while sort of serving as a call to action for more inclusivity within the sector. This, coupled with learning initiatives like Law School 2.0 to educate about legal technology, presents an optimistic outlook for the sector’s development and diversification.
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Microsoft has pledged to legally support users of its AI tool, Copilot, if they're sued for copyright infringements due to the tool's capabilities. This commitment highlights the growing concern over copyright issues in the generative AI field, where AI systems are trained on existing copyrighted material. The focus is not just on developers but increasingly on users who may unintentionally infringe copyright with AI-generated content. As AI technology advances and is increasingly employed to assist in generating content, concerns over misuse of copyrighted material are likely to rise while opening a porthole for potential lawsuits. This move by Microsoft may set a precedent for other AI firms to offer protection against such losses to customers using their AI tools or products.
The UK legal tech sector has witnessed a series of high-profile appointments. Daniel Ibrahim is now strategic account manager at Ascertus, while Joe Campbell has become practice lead at Fireman & Company. Timothy Dawes and Craig Dootson have joined Advanced as key account directors. Iain Brown has been appointed head of MLS legal delivery at Pinsent Masons Vario, and Lucy Murphy is now Linklaters' chief growth officer.
The non-profit 'Lawyers for Net Zero' has changed its name to General Counsel Sustainability Leaders, reflecting its focus on guiding general counsels (GCs) in achieving their firms' ESG and sustainability objectives. The group, established in June 2021, offers a platform for GCs to share strategies for meeting business ESG commitments. The rebranding was announced at the Thomson Reuters Legal Leaders Europe 2023 conference.
The legal industry is increasingly embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance document drafting and review, boosting productivity, says Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer at LexisNexis. However, he emphasized that AI solutions must be integrated into existing workflows for successful adoption. Pfeifer is confident that the tangible benefits of AI will prevent it from experiencing the disillusionment that often follows hyped technologies.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative by the Legal Technology Resource Center, which began in 2015, now recognizes 141 influential female leaders. Among them is Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Cohn successfully challenged U.S. export restrictions on cryptography and has worked to limit NSA and FBI surveillance. She currently leads a 100-person digital civil liberties organization and is actively involved in cases defending digital rights.
Legal technology company, Relativity, has announced details for its annual Relativity Fest, taking place from September 26-28 in Chicago. The conference will feature over 200 speakers from sectors such as Big Tech, law firms, and government agencies, and will cover topics including AI implications, mental health, and access to justice. Relativity also plans to unveil new generative AI solutions and other product updates during the event.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative, started in 2015, now features 141 influential women such as Data Scientist Amy Conroy, who uses litigation data to enhance processes and create new applications at Mishcon de Reya. She also co-founded Law School 2.0, providing legal innovation education. Conroy highlights the key challenge in legal tech as the haste for quick fixes without fully understanding the issues, and encourages women interested in the field to seek professional advice.