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Legal life in Israel and beyond after Covid-19

29 May 2020 | Luminance

At a recent Luminance Webinar, Yaniv Aronowich, Partner at Tadmor Levy & Co. spoke about how the premier Israeli firm are using pioneering AI technology, why resistance to legal technology is waning and Yaniv shared his thoughts about the legal landscape after Coronavirus.

According to Yaniv, the legal profession is an “old school industry” and one that is not overly keen to adopt legal tech solutions. Yet Israeli firms, “like many firms around the world, are facing a downward pressure on rates, coupled with more work and less available staffing options”, causing many to re-evaluate their position on how technology could assist their organizations’. Tadmor Levy were an early adopter in a reticent market and in Yaniv’s opinion platforms such as Luminance have real value in “streamlining the review, allowing lawyers to gauge the scope of the due diligence before the deal even starts whilst also enabling firms to give their clients a tailor-made fee structure.”

Yaniv is keen to point out that while there prevails a degree of distrust and skepticism towards technology and a resistance to changing traditional business models, this will not be the case for very long. “Firms that do not adopt technology will be left behind. In 10 years from now, not using automated due diligence, drafting and project management platforms will be like not using a mobile phone today.” Yaniv thinks cost pressures from clients may be instrumental in causing firms to begin to turn to the assistance of AI legal technology: “if the tech helps in reducing costs, and perhaps even transferring some of the savings to clients, firms will embrace it”.

In Yaniv’s view, one major barrier for the Israeli market has been that legal technology traditionally lacks compatibility with the Hebrew language. With most domestic areas of law conducted in Hebrew, “any tool that incorporates Hebrew language capabilities is bound to have a competitive advantage among Israeli law firms.” Indeed, Luminance recently added machine learning capabilities in Hebrew to its platform - something Yaniv labels a “gamechanger” – and is consequently seeing rapid expansion in the Israeli market. Israel could quickly become a key law tech market; indeed, Israel is one of the biggest emerging law tech scenes, often dubbed ‘Silicon Wadi’. Yaniv believes a burgeoning legal tech revolution can be seen, and “if a tech platform is good and does the work, you will stick to it”.

Yaniv explains that another factor in hastening change in lawyers’ attitudes to legal technology is the COVID-19 pandemic, which he describes as a “a huge opportunity to introduce tech tools into lawyers’ ongoing work.” This sentiment was echoed by the Chair of Luminance’s board, Robert QC who stated in another recent webinar that the crisis represents “a real boost to the Young Turks in every team who’ve been asking senior partners for years for better tech and now have had their case proved.” The team at Tadmor and Levy are testament to this; Yaniv explains that he has seen many lawyers who have previously been hesitant about working from home becoming rapidly more flexible about non-traditional working practices. Clearly Covid-19 is a huge contributor in expediting how quickly firms will be adopting legal tech solutions and “In the current climate, law firms have to transform their business models to be more cost-efficient- tools like Luminance can make this possible.”

For Yaniv it is clear the changes brought about by the current crisis will lead to a new normal as far as working practices are concerned. “The changes of recent times are here to stay, we will be seeing more people working remotely (at least part of the time)”. Luminance is a key tool in this ‘new normal’, with project management tools that facilitate remote working including in-built workflow features that can coordinate and automatically allocate tasks between team members, and granular progress tracking across reviews and team members. As Yaniv says, Luminance allows his lawyers to have “full command of their projects”. In a world where remote working trends look set to stay, this is vital not only in maintaining productivity, but actually allowing lawyers to work better than ever before.