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 AI in Legal Operations: Given the increasing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal technology, especially in contract management, it is essential for law firms to consider implementing it. Automated drafting, analysis, and AI-centric insight generation are becoming key to legal processes.
- Plan Ahead for AI Implementation: The complex nature of AI adoption means that firms must engage in strategic planning before integrating these technologies. They need to take into consideration how these tools will fit into their existing workflows, possibly affecting their relationships with other law firms and Alternative Legal Service Providers. Therefore, ensure any adoption aligns with the firm's operative ethos.
- Stay Informed about AI Governance: As rules and regulations around AI are still in the development stage, keeping abrest of changes and discussions at industry events such as ILTACON is necessary. Being part of these discussions will help firms shape future regulations and prepare for a regulatory environment tailored to AI use within legal practices.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
In a flurry of innovation and collaboration, the international legal technology landscape has made significant leaps forward. Transformations in legal contract drafting are taking center place with Integreon and The Contract Network (TCN) launching a generative AI platform to streamline contract operations, while Canadian firms CiteRight and Jurisage merge to offer an integrated legal research and drafting solution. Further AI-centric advancements involve Ironclad's Contract AI (CAI) for contract analysis, and an initiative by Morae Global and Henchman to create an AI tool for contract drafting. Afriwise takes legal tech globally as it wins the Innovation Award at the African Legal Awards 2023, with its AI program assisting legal teams navigate Africa's legal landscape. Legal tech also dips into data breach notifications as European law firm Fieldfisher collaborates with Lawcadia to introduce their Data Breach Manager.
AI is undeniably a leading trend in legal technology as we see increasing adoption and advancement in law firms across the globe. The transformation is particularly visible in the area of contract management, with automated drafting, analysis and AI-centric insight generation at the forefront. Integration of AI with existing systems presents an incipient trend, as does planning for harmonized regulatory approaches for AI governance. Another noteworthy trend is the law industry's push into data security, as seen in the launch of Fieldfisher's Data Breach Manager.
As AI continues to refine legal processes, the need for strategic planning before adopting these technologies has been emphasized. The complexities linked with AI adoption such as integrating tools into corporate systems and how these tools impact relationships with law firms and Alternative Legal Service Providers necessitate careful premeditation. It is crucial for firms to ensure that adoption aligns with their operative ethos. As rules and regulations around AI are still developing, events such as ILTACON are crucial forums for keeping up with future regulations and innovation iniatiatives. Continued innovation and collaboration in the legal tech sector will undoubtedly inculcate unprecedented improvements in accuracy, efficiency, and capabilities in legal operations as long as the challenges posed by technology adoption are well-managed.
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European law firm Fieldfisher and Australian legal tech firm Lawcadia have partnered to develop a 24-hour data breach notification platform for organizations with UK and EU data assets under GDPR and UK GDPR. The platform, known as the Fieldfisher Data Breach Manager, is designed to improve how clients log, assess and respond to data breaches. With the ability to meet the 72-hour initial data breach assessment and report period, the new service provides a secure, automated solution to increase capacity, create consistent assessments and avoid delays. The collaboration reflects Fieldfisher's commitment to utilizing technology to address data breach management challenges and enhance the client experience.
Cooley's investment fund has backed Easop, a startup aiming to reform global employee equity management. The move marks a significant step in Easop's growth and signifies Cooley's belief in the promise of the company. The investment includes access to Cooley’s network and legal expertise, especially within the US equity compensation space. Concurrently, Easop has partnered with cap table management provider Carta, solidifying their strategic standing within the sector. Cooley’s fund allows for investment in promising early-stage initiatives, with Easop claiming this is the first step towards broader recognition. With investments in other innovative tech solutions, Cooley continues to assert itself as a key supporter of legal tech startups.
ILTACON 2023 highlighted generative AI and its transformative potential in legal work. While law firms remain cautious toward immediate AI adoption, an overall optimistic vibe toward this technology pervaded the event with discussions about streamlining contracts, expediting legal research, and enhancing e-discovery using AI. However, AI's need for meticulous training, oversight, human intervention, and its lack of ability to achieve absolute perfection were underscored. Also gaining momentum is the analyzing and structuring legal data to derive strategic insights. Microsoft grabbed attention with its tools for facilitating seamless workflows. As the legal industry embraces digital transformation, alternative legal service providers and law firm innovation could drive technology and process improvements.
Global outsourcing firm Integreon has teamed up with The Contract Network (TCN) to launch a generative AI platform for drafting, negotiating and executing agreements. The collaboration will focus on streamlining operations in the financial services and pharmaceutical industries, particularly in M&A and clinical trials. TCN's platform, which raised $8m in seed funding, transforms contracts into data and employs AI to offer insights on each amendment. The combined solution will be available from October 1st.
Tony McKenna has become the first non-North American president of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). As the director of IT at Howard Kennedy, his goal is to extend ILTA's global reach and provide relevant content for its international members. Key points from ILTA's annual conference included the incorporation of large language models into applications, changes in Microsoft's pricing, and the necessity for law firms to hire staff capable of creating large language model applications.
Canadian legal tech companies, CiteRight and Jurisage, are merging to create an integrated legal research and drafting solution. The merger will combine CiteRight's litigation drafting program with Jurisage's AI technology. CiteRight's CEO, Aaron Wenner, will lead the new company, and Jurisage's co-founder, Colin Lachance, will serve as the chief innovation officer. The merger is slated for completion by year-end.
OneNDA, a non-profit organization, has collaborated with legal tech startup SimpleDocs to launch AutoNDA, a free platform aimed at automating non-disclosure agreement (NDA) creation and management. The platform simplifies the NDA process by limiting variables, allowing users to set parameters such as parties involved, purpose, duration, governing law, and dispute resolution method. AutoNDA also includes e-signature tool integration and in-platform negotiation management.
The article explores the potential influence of generative AI, particularly Legal Language Models (LLM), on in-house legal operations and law firms. It emphasizes the need for strategic planning and analysis before adopting such technology. The piece also discusses how AI tools will fit into existing corporate systems and impact relationships with law firms and Alternative Legal Service Providers. It ends by advertising an upcoming legal conference on these subjects.
The article discusses the complexities of a law firm's managing partner role, emphasizing the need for strong leadership, objectivity, and decision-making skills. It suggests that appointing the firm's top earner can cause discord due to the differing nature of management and client acquisition roles. The article recommends considering the promotion of a partner to the role or hiring a CEO or Managing Director externally, ensuring they are properly compensated and supported.
Securities law firms Sichenzia Ross Ference and Carmel, Milazzo & Feil are set to merge into Sichenzia Ross Ference Carmel from October 1st. The merger will result in a combined firm of 60 attorneys with offices in New York, Long Island, California, and Florida. The goal is to create a leading securities and litigation practice with a broader geographical reach, aiming to redefine public offerings and offer unrivaled expertise across the U.S.
The UK Parliament's House of Commons Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee has issued an interim report on the governance of artificial intelligence (AI). The report highlights the challenges and benefits of AI, including its everyday applications, use in healthcare and education, and its potential to address future problems. The report calls for the establishment of a governance regime for AI and emphasizes the need for international cooperation to harmonize regulatory approaches.
Ken Crutchfield, VP & GM of Legal Markets at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., will host a virtual panel discussing the importance of AI investment in the legal sector. The panel, "The Business Case for AI: Justifying Investment in a Future We Don’t Quite Yet Understand," will argue that law firms need to invest in AI for a competitive edge and cost efficiency. The event will be streamed on September 14th at 9:30 AM CT by Inside Practice.
Afriwise, an Africa-centric legal intelligence firm, has been awarded the Innovation Award at the African Legal Awards 2023. The award acknowledges the firm's AI-enabled platform that assists legal and compliance teams in navigating Africa's legal landscape. Afriwise's partnership with over 130 law firms and integration with Pythagoria, a legal software development company, were also recognized. The platform is utilized for legal research, regulatory monitoring, and creating legal chatbots.
Legal technology consultancy Morae Global has partnered with Belgian contract drafting platform Henchman to provide a combined tech and services solution for law firms and corporate clients. The collaboration will leverage Henchman's technology, which automates clause search in contract drafting, and Morae's expertise in aligning technology and processes. The goal is to address the challenges of adhering to best practices, corporate policies, and ethical standards in AI-driven legal technologies.
Ironclad, a contract management firm, is launching Ironclad Contract AI (CAI), a chat interface that leverages AI to streamline contract analysis. The system dissects analyses into subtasks to inform future tasks. The company also unveiled Rivet, an open-source visual programming environment for creating generative AI products, and introduced features for efficient data uploading and extraction from contracts. The CAI interface is set to launch in beta in October.
Trial attorney Susan Cohodes discusses the challenges of preparing clients for online court proceedings in her column. She mentions issues such as technology access, inappropriate screen backgrounds, and unprofessional behaviour during hearings. Cohodes shares instances of clients appearing in unsuitable attire or locations and engaging in unprofessional activities. The shift to online court proceedings has necessitated a new level of preparation, leading Cohodes to contemplate stepping away from full-time law practice.
The article underscores the importance of lawyers in predicting and shaping the future of the legal industry. It stresses the need for not just forecasting based on current trends, but also contemplating a more favorable future for the profession by recognizing past mistakes and visualizing the outcomes of improved decisions. The author advocates for greater involvement in molding the future of the legal sector.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative by the Legal Technology Resource Center is celebrating women in legal tech, including Julie Saltman, CEO and co-founder of Standd. Standd is an AI-powered platform designed to enhance efficiency in due diligence and deal review processes. Saltman, a former trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, launched the platform in 2023. It is currently being tested by law and financial firms.
Morae Global Corporation and Henchman are partnering to create an AI-powered tool for contract drafting and review. The solution aims to expedite and improve accuracy in contract drafting for corporate legal departments and law firms. The partnership ensures seamless system integration, worldwide support, and a secure contracting environment, meeting SOC 2 and ISO 27001 standards.
Secjur, a German legal tech firm, is extending its operations to Switzerland in line with the country's new data protection laws. The company offers an AI-based automation platform for compliance processes, aimed at helping businesses adjust to the updated regulations aligning with EU directives. The platform automates various compliance processes such as data protection, information security, anti-money laundering, and whistleblowing, potentially saving hundreds of man-hours.
Heather Fine, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, has advised women in the legal industry on how to address the gender pay gap. Fine stressed the importance of thorough research, a reasonable approach, consulting compensation experts, and understanding pay ranges early in negotiations. She also highlighted the need for women to self-advocate in compensation discussions to help rectify pay disparities.