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Which Trends Are Shaping AI In Law This Year? 14 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 23 September 2019
  • Sam Mire

The legal sector isn't immune to the radical changes that tech can bring. But those radical changes are often the sum of many smaller trends, whether due to technology's progress or unrelated factors. These experts shined a light on the trends related to artificial intelligence that are most likely to shift the landscape of the law. Here's what they said:

1. Cat Casey, Chief Innovation Officer at DISCO

“The most developed area of AI application remains ediscovery, with the caveat that many discovery platforms claiming to leverage AI are deploying basic machine learning models that are not full AI. In terms of true application of AI, the application with the greatest impact remains continuous active learning (CAL) models for ediscovery review. CAL uses algorithms learn from reviewers throughout the review to make the review more efficient — for example, surfacing relevant documents earlier and identifying redundancies.”


2. David Alain Bloch, CEO & Co-Founder of Legartis

“You need to minimize inhibitions and translate customers' fears into conviction by showing the opportunities. There are many inquiries from companies, which means the interest is there. Nevertheless, our biggest competitor is still that the companies decide to stay with their traditional ways of working. Success for us is determined by proving that our AI solution works in practice. By giving our customers access to our NDA checker, they can test it and discover how our AI can solve their challenges. The near future will, therefore, be determined by insights that we will give our customers into the technical possibilities, to give them a feel for our idea, our product and our conviction.”


3. Avi Brudner, Chief Operating Officer at Blue J Legal

“Investment in legal tech saw explosive growth in 2018—around a 713% increase in investment compared to 2017. It’ll be interesting to see the numbers from 2019, but the 2018 growth in investment is a vote of confidence in a younger industry. These companies are demonstrating value to law firms and, consequently, are good opportunities for investment.

There’s also a trend towards technologies with predictive capabilities. Increasingly, we’re seeing products that claim to give an edge in litigation or research through predictive functionalities. And we’ve also seen some reactions to such products, if you look at France’s recent ban on certain types of analytics of judges’ decisions. This trend tells us that lawyers like to know what they’re up against, what their chances might be in unclear circumstances—and there really are companies out there that address this need in a substantive way.

At Blue J Legal, for example, we use artificial intelligence to accurately predict legal outcomes in tax law so that lawyers can accurately predict how their matter would be decided by a judge before it ever goes to court.”


4. Richard Mabey, co-founder and CEO of Juro

“Overwhelmingly, people want less talking and more doing. Users aren’t impressed by wild promises and impenetrable jargon anymore – they just want their problems solved without friction, and they want a solution that their colleagues will actually adopt and use. Lawyers don’t care if you call it NLP, ML, OCR, AI or anything else – they want results.”


5. Katherine Pawlak, Partner at Wasserman, Bryan, Landry & Honold and Rasmussen College Paralegal Instructor

“The biggest trend in AI revolves around legal analytics and document automation. New products and tech have been developed this year built off of the already well-known document review platform, with the ability to analyze court opinions and complex data. Document automation has been trending in contract formation, analysis and editing as well.”

 


6. Thomas J. Hamilton, LL.B., B.C.L., VP, Strategy and  Operations at Ross Intelligence

“AI as a whole is unfortunately going through a bit of a hype-cycle right now – as a result I would say that in the next 12 months we will see the mainstream dialogue move slightly away from AI for AI's sake, and instead into the practical impact that the use of AI tools has on the organizations that are implementing them. While we're very proud of what we've built on the AI side, we're just as proud of how easy it is for an attorney to get value out of what we've built.”


7. George Simons, founder of SoloSuit and Lawble

“The #1 hottest trend in AI legal tech is using natural language processing to analyze massive amounts of court data. Companies like Unicourt and Gavelytics are using AI to gather and analyze millions of court documents. Courts hold one of the largest natural language data pools in the world, making it a ripe space for natural language processing AI to disrupt. Other trends like AI for e-discovery or expert systems are already reaching maturity and are old news.”


8. Kenneth A. Grady, Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow at Michigan State University College of Law

Contracts are, and have been for several years, the focus of technology solutions. That includes AI approaches to building and processing contracts. Businesses process large volumes of contracts (even smaller companies). Since delays in negotiating and signing contracts can have real negative impacts on businesses, and because contract processing can overwhelm law departments, finding ways to speed the process without sacrificing quality has been a priority.

Contracts also offer the possibility of larger datasets, which helps when building AI solutions. A notable second place trend for the past two years has been something of an arms race in computer-assisted legal research. Two companies dominated the field for decades. Two recent entrants have made significant progress prompting the two entrenched players to begin innovating. This activity has spurred new interest in the quality of the results from all of the players.”


9. Benjamin Alarie, CEO of Blue J Legal

Ben AlarieInvestment in legal tech saw explosive growth in 2018—around a 713% increase in investment compared to 2017. It’ll be interesting to see the numbers from 2019, but the 2018 growth in investment is a vote of confidence in a younger industry. These companies are demonstrating value to law firms and, consequently, are good opportunities for investment.

There’s also a trend towards technologies with predictive capabilities. Increasingly, we’re seeing products that claim to give an edge in litigation or research through predictive functionalities. And we’ve also seen some reactions to such products, if you look at France’s recent ban on certain types of analytics of judges’ decisions. This trend tells us that lawyers like to know what they’re up against, what their chances might be in unclear circumstances—and there really are companies out there that address this need in a substantive way.”


10. Don Tuggener, Head of Research at Legartis

“The development will be characterized by the effort to move away from a first prototype to a really useful and usable product or lifecycle solution. So far, a big focus in AI in the legal industry has been on contract management. Now and in the future, it becomes more important to also understand the content and to analyze the contracts, which requires the inclusion of the semantic level.”


11. Noory Bechor, co-founder and CEO of LawGeex

Legal teams are under constant pressure to control costs while supporting business speed and growth. The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s (CLOC)  2019 State of the Industry Survey identified “moving more work in-house” as one of the primary trends for companies to control costs. Today, AI is allowing in-house teams to insource, thereby reducing costs while growing the knowledge base.”


12. Nicole Black, Lawyer, Author, Journalist and Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase

“One of the most promising types of AI software available to lawyers right now is contracts analytics software, which allows lawyers to upload contracts such as NDAs, and then receive a report that analyzes the contract and points out any outlier clauses. There are also a number of different types of litigation data analytics tools that provide lots of useful insight into different aspects of the litigation process, including information regarding judges, law firms, companies, expert witnesses, and more.”


13. Stewart J. Guss, Attorney At Law

“There is a current trend by attorneys to use AI to assist in “predictive outcomes.” For example, AI can review a large number of specific data points in a particular case, compare the case to thousands of similar situations, and help the lawyer decide (for example) whether to continue with litigation or to attempt to settle. While far from perfect, the future of this technology holds greater and greater promise, particularly as information about case status and outcomes becomes more readily attainable (and digestible) by this technology.”


14. Eric Podlogar, IP Market Lead at ktMINE

AI solutions have been more readily available now more than ever.  With legal professionals using AI to help with tasks like documentation, due diligence, analytics, outcome prediction, billing and many others, they now see and understand the boundaries of AI and are becoming comfortable enough to explore how the technology can be used for more advanced and complicated tasks.  We are already finding that some of the questions that our clients are asking either involve deeper sets of data that were previously difficult to access/process, or the granularity of the queries are becoming more refined.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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