Friday 22 January 2016

Lawyers to get contract robots and virtual assistants

Two providers of artificial intelligence (AI) for the legal sector have this week launched new online platforms.

Riverview Law was the first to go live with the new website for its technology, which will start providing legal virtual assistants from the first quarter of 2016. The system is dubbed 'Kim', which is short for 'knowledge, intelligence, meaning'.

Yesterday, RAVN announced that it has launched an online portal for a contract robot to automatically extract key pieces of information from title deeds. The robots are powered by its cognitive computing platform, ACE, short for 'applied cognitive engine'.

Both technologies are customisable and aim to significantly increase the efficiency of legal services.

The new 'do-it-yourself' online implementation of RAVN's ACE technology is configured to handle title deeds, but it can support a wide range of document types. It converts unstructured data into structured output in a fraction of the time it takes using traditional manual effort - and with a higher degree of accuracy.

Riverview's virtual assistants are designed to help legal teams to make quicker and better decisions. The customisable platform automates process-based legal work, with the ability to quickly organise and analyse a large volume of documents. The technology will be licensed on an arms-length basis to law firms and in-house legal teams.

The online launches this week of Kim and ACE follow revelations by Managing Partner in September of their development in the legal sector.

On 14 September, Managing Partner broke the news of how BLP had created a RAVN-powered contract robot, 'LONald', in its largest practice area, real estate.

"I am fairly sure we have built the UK's first contract robot," Matthew Whalley, the originator of this project and head of BLP's legal risk consultancy at the time, told Managing Partner at the time.
"Right here, you are seeing the future of the legal industry change and begin to evolve in a new direction."

In January 2016, Whalley will be joining EY as a director, where he will launch a new legal risk practice.

Managing Partner first revealed Riverview's plans to create virtual assistants for in-house counsel on 1 September 2015.

"We're looking to make our customers' lives and our own teams' lives easier, so that they can focus on doing what they have been trained to do, which is to provide pragmatic commercial legal advice," Karl Chapman, chief executive of Riverview Law, said in an interview at the time with Managing Partner.

The Kim technology combines the CliXLEX platform, which Riverview acquired in August 2015, with the output from its R&D unit, plus the other technologies that Riverview has invested in. Riverview worked with CliXLEX for a year before acquiring the company, building on Riverview's January 2015 partnership with the University of Liverpool to leverage its artificial intelligence and related expertise.

At the beginning of 2015, he predicted the legal industry will be transformed by AI just as the agricultural and car production industries have been in the past by technological advances.

"The law is no different from any other sector - it is subject to natural advances in technology and efficient processes and ways of doing things better," he told Managing Partner.

"Around 90 per cent of the population was involved in agriculture before and now around 3 per cent are involved in it and we produce more food - that's because of automation technology. And, if you look at the way cars are manufactured, there used to be people on assembly lines, now a lot of it is driven by robotics."

Chapman believes that AI will be the norm in law firms by 2020.

"Law firms will need to have made these investments and be using these tools or they're going to find it very difficult to be competitive. For us, it's just common sense," he said.

Peter Wallqvist, managing director and co-founder of RAVN, goes even further. Asked if he agreed with Chapman's assertion, he said "AI will probably be in some form in every single firm" in the next five years.

Whalley predicted in September that AI will be prevalent among the UK's magic-circle law firms within the next 12 to 18 months.

These views were echoed by an October 2015 Westminster Law School panel, which warned that artificial intelligence will create an industrial revolution for the legal sector.

Later that month, Richard Susskind said at a panel discussion that "we are facing greater disruption and transformation in the next two decades than we have had in the past century".

He believes that, by 2025, technologies which have not yet been created will have transformed the way we work and live.

Reposted from: Manglani, M. (2016). BLP pioneers ‘contract robots’ for lawyers | Managing Partner. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2016].