Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 22, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Legal firms and tech providers are increasingly integrating AI for tasks, including contract analysis, relationship management, and risk management. Key takeaway: Legal professionals should become familiar with AI tools to stay abreast with the industry's shift towards automated solutions and efficient client servicing.
- Blockchain technology might be making a comeback and maybe a significant impact in the legal sector with innovative initiatives like the blockchain-based rewards program launched by Taylor Wessing. Key takeaway: Legal professionals should explore and understand blockchain's potential applications within their work, including its use in creating tech-based rewards and incentive programs.
- The new SEC rule demanding cybersecurity incident reports within four days hints at the escalating importance of robust cybersecurity systems. Key takeaway: Legal knowledge workers, especially risk executives, and CISOs, should prioritize enhancing their cybersecurity measures and systems to comply with evolving regulations and handle potential cyber threats.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
The CEOs of ILTA and CLOC announced they will work together to tackle the challenges the legal industry faces, including the use of Generative AI. Other noteworthy initiatives include the implementation of AI tools by law firms and companies to streamline operations and enhance client relations. The rise of blockchain also made waves in the legal sector, with Taylor Wessing launching a blockchain-based employee incentive program.
There was a noticeable shift towards increasing AI integration in the legal profession. Some law firms and tech providers have expanded their use of AI for tasks such as contract analysis, relationship management, and risk management. Notably, Macfarlanes has adopted HarveyAI, Lawmatics has incorporated AI features, and Warner Norcross and Judd LLP will utilize Intapp's Risk & Compliance cloud solutions. Legal tech is also witnessing a surge in firms aiming to revamp their operations in response to regional demands, evidenced by Pinnacle’s expansion into the APAC region. Meanwhile, more firms are utilizing blockchain technology in innovative ways. Taylor Wessing’s novel blockchain-based rewards program attests to this trend.
The collaboration between ILTA and CLOC for a corporate legal survey signifies the rising importance of data collection for navigating AI’s impact on the legal sector. The Harvard Law AI Summit highlighted the issues of transparency, inequality, and justifiability, marking key areas for research and policy implementation. The introduction of AI tools like HarveyAI and Intapp’s Risk & Compliance highlights the industry's shift towards automation, promising improved efficiency and real-time solutions to client demands. However, a significant disconnect persists between AI usage and the implementation of controls. With 75% of companies not having measures to mitigate AI-related risks, it underscores the gap that needs to be filled. Moreover, Taylor Wessing's initiative utilizing blockchain technology indicates a forward-thinking approach to employee incentives, potentially leading to more firms adopting similar tech-based reward systems. Lastly, the new SEC rule demanding cybersecurity incident reports within four days is likely to change the game for risk executives, escalating the need for robust cybersecurity systems and highlighting additional concerns for CISOs.
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The Harvard Law AI Summit highlighted various potential changes and challenges involving the use of generative AI in law. Among the issues discussed were the possible overwhelming of courts by pro se litigants using AI; the role of AI in addressing the justice gap by empowering consumers directly, not just through boosting lawyer productivity; and concerns surrounding AI-driven job losses, inequality in law, legal training data ownership, and the authentication of evidence. Participants also emphasized the need for AI decisions to be justifiable according to societal norms. While the actual implementation and acceptance of AI technology remain challenging, the participants agreed on its potential to impact the legal landscape.
Global law firm Taylor Wessing has introduced a unique employee incentive program based on distributed ledger technology. The first of its kind in the industry, the scheme grants lawyers micro-incentives through "LAW Tokens" to enhance productivity, especially in blockchain and digital asset practice areas. Lawyers from the corporate, IP, and financial services teams will hold and exchange tokens using the Metamask wallet. LAW Tokens are minted on Polygon's EVM-compatible blockchain, which provides scalability, efficiency, and security through a layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution. Lawyers can award tokens to colleagues who make outstanding contributions to the firm's culture and responsible business goals. The tokens can be traded on the blockchain, redeemed for benefits, or donated to charities, providing a practical, first-hand understanding of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) and its potential applications.
ILTA CEO Joy Heath Rush and CLOC President Mike Haven plan to collaborate to address challenges in the legal industry, including the use of generative AI. They aim to leverage their organizations, ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) and CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium), to conduct a corporate legal survey and organize future conferences. Their collaboration seeks to provide benefits to the wider legal industry.
Former criminal defense lawyer Matt Spiegel transitioned into legal tech entrepreneurship, founding MyCase in 2009, a cloud-based law practice management company, which he sold in 2012. In 2017, Spiegel founded Lawmatics, a client relationship management platform for law firms. Since its creation, Lawmatics has raised $12.5 million in funding, broadened its platform capabilities, and incorporated AI features to aid in crafting and editing client emails and marketing campaigns.
Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, a corporate law firm, will utilize Intapp's Risk & Compliance cloud solutions to upgrade its risk management and compliance procedures. The AI-driven tools will aid in conflict resolution and client guideline enforcement, streamline client onboarding, simplify reporting, and expedite deal acceptance by reducing manual conflict reviews. The firm, which already uses Intapp Time for timekeeping, expects the integration to meet complex client needs and enhance the client experience.
Legal technology and consulting firm Pinnacle is broadening its operations into the APAC region, spearheaded by new hire Scott Sonter, former Head of Finance Systems at Ashurst. Sonter, an industry veteran with over two decades of experience, will serve as the Principal Consultant for APAC, offering localised solutions to clients. This expansion is part of Pinnacle's ongoing growth strategy, following its successful growth in the US, UK, and Europe.
UK law firm Macfarlanes is adopting HarveyAI, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for legal tasks, following a successful pilot with over 70 lawyers. The AI tool uses natural language processing, machine learning, and data analytics to automate and improve legal tasks including contract analysis and regulatory compliance. Macfarlanes expects this tool to revolutionize how they deliver client services and solutions.
LegalOn, an AI contract review tech provider, is entering the contract drafting sector with over 100 attorney-drafted templates. These templates, which cover standard agreements and industry-specific contracts, aim to speed up the drafting process and are constantly updated for legal changes. They can be edited in Microsoft Word within LegalOn at no additional charge. An AI Revise feature, which turns AI suggestions into contract revisions, is also offered by LegalOn.
The new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule requiring public companies to report cybersecurity incidents within four days has increased responsibilities and potential liabilities for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs). According to Proofpoint's annual report, 62% of CISOs have expressed concern about potential liability related to incident response and corporate governance. This rule has also led companies to seek additional liability protection for their risk executives.
More than half of U.S. workers use generative AI in their jobs, even though 75% of companies do not have measures in place to mitigate AI-related risks, a Conference Board survey reveals. Despite this, 55% of employees believe AI matches human work quality and 63% say it enhances productivity. However, only 26% report their companies have established rules for AI use. By 2030, CFOs are projected to spend $79 billion annually on AI automation tools, especially in security, health, and content marketing.