'ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS THE FUTURE...AND THE FUTURE IS HERE'
As published in Winslows Digital Tax Magazine, The Wize. To subscribe for free, please click here >
Ben Hammerton, Head of Sales – UK & Europe at Servient, Inc., tells the WIZE how AI is changing the legal sector.
As is now obvious to us all, the COVID-19 crisis has meant that corporations and law firms are remote working where possible, to keep the company functioning. However for some organisations, merely functioning isn’t enough and outperforming the competition is always the goal. But, to stay ahead of the AI curve, you have to stay on your toes as, over the last decade, the evolution has been dramatic.
The last 10 years…
I have worked in Legal Technology (primarily processing and legal document review platforms) for over a decade and have seen a big shift from internal server-based applications to what would be termed ‘Private Cloud’ (software hosted and maintained on a vendor’s server – ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS)). This shift allowed organisations to utilise the newest technology, without having to invest in computer infrastructure and more personnel to maintain/support it.
The last two years…
In the last two years this has shifted further to organisations using what may be termed ‘Public Cloud‘ (however, this implies it is easy to access or insecure which is entirely the opposite!). It is better to describe it as ‘true cloud’ (software applications hosted on Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure). However… let me try and take the scare out of this, most corporations use ‘true cloud’ on AWS, Azure or similar… For example Office365 or GSuite (or Dropbox etc etc).
The last two months…
But, in the last 8-9 weeks (actually slightly before the lockdown) I have noticed a further shift… law firms, in-house legal, and courts have had to dramatically move forward with their use of technology….
So much so that rather than just storing data in the cloud (or using an eDisclosure platform to keyword search for documents of relevance), they have started to employ the use of the more sophisticated features such as ‘Concept Searching’ and ‘Machine Learning’ (AI).
Why the uptake in AI?
1. Clients are requesting innovative (+ court trusted) solutions to help them (their counsel) reduce the cost of document review (the largest cost in any legal dispute)
2. Courts are requesting (in truth they have been asking for some time) that technological measures are actioned to reduce the time and subsequent amount of documentation reviewed (and ultimately presented)
3. The previously high cost (prior to ‘True Cloud’) of getting the data into a platform, and running keywords and AI, has now reduced dramatically
4. COVID has forced hearings of all sorts to be held remotely via call or video conference…. And trying to argue points whilst not fully face to face is much harder if you don’t have audited statistics and potential costs in your arsenal
What does getting the data into an AI enabled eDisclosure platform provide you?
- volumes collected
- de-duplicated volume
- date range volumes
- data types (email, word, excel, video, chat or IM messages etc)
Keyword Search Results
far easier to push for your favoured keyword terms, or push back on opposing counsel’s keyword terms (some may suggest too many results to sensibly review)
Machine Learning ‘relevance ranking’ results:
- Show the much lower initial document review volumes, with specific reference to the docs that should be prioritised for review
- Discuss the large volumes of likely irrelevant docs that might be ignored (or sampled for QA)
- Cost up a review workflow based on the 1st Pass review only taking into account the ‘Highly Responsive’, and ‘Likely Responsive’ ranked documents
In summary, this period of uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has forced organisations to find ways to work around normal daily practices, and this has had a profound effect on legal matters, as the courts have moved quickly to respond with remote hearings etc…. So the legal world must follow suit.
The good news is that there are sophisticated cloud platforms that cost a fraction of what they used to a year ago, meaning that lawyers can not only keep up with client demands, they can surpass them, provide more accurate costs and timings for the document review phases, and take a competitive advantage into Case (& Cost) Management Conferences (CCMC).
For information on AI/Machine Learning, supporting an investigation, litigation or insolvency:
*Article title quote by Dave Waters