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AI and the future of the legal sector: The road to recovery with tech

25 June 2020 | Clementine Fox

During this unprecedented time, every organisation is finding new ways to meet the needs of their clients and businesses. Increasing numbers of lawyers are turning to technology to help, in particular looking at the benefits that using cutting-edge AI can bring. The President of the Law Society, Simon Davis, recently wrote a compelling article in The Times where he stressed that embracing legaltech is pivotal not only for lawyers as they grapple with the ‘new normal’, but also as a long-term solution that will contribute to the growth of the legal sector and wider economic recovery. As the market-leader in legal AI, Luminance’s ground-breaking machine learning is at the forefront of this technological transformation.

Survive and thrive in the ‘new normal’

As we plunge into what economists are predicting to be the biggest financial crisis since the 2008 crash, existing time and cost pressures are only going to continue across the legal industry. Now more than ever, clients will be evaluating what work they put out to tender to law firms, whilst those selected to work on projects are most likely to be firms that can deliver competitive pricing without compromising on the level of rapid legal analysis they provide.

Echoing Simon Davis, legal technology can bring efficiencies in terms of both time and cost that are vital to firms’ survival and growth. With Luminance’s pioneering technology, lawyers are can reduce the time spent on lower-value, repetitive work by up to 90%, with far fewer resources required to each project. Powered by supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, Luminance is able to read and form an understanding of the dataset at hand, providing lawyers with an unparalleled insight on day one of the review. As well as rapidly surfacing key information such as clauses, languages, currencies and anomalies, Luminance’s unsupervised machine learning can immediately detect the hidden risks in all of the data, placing lawyers in the same position on day one of their review that they would be after weeks of manual review methods. Luminance’s customers typically experience time savings of at least 50% on day one of a review, increasing with continuing use as the system becomes increasingly bespoke to the specialties and nuances of a firm.

A fool proof investment

With the majority of lawyers working from home, it is being called into question whether expensive (and currently empty) offices are a good use of financial resources. Eversheds Sutherland have already made the move to limit investment in real estate and divert resources to technology. Indeed, many other firms such as Slater and Gordon have proposed a permanent shutdown of its office, with Slater’s chief executive, David Whitmore, stating: “working smart is better for everyone.” Indeed, there seems to be a broad consensus that remote working hasn’t harmed productivity or efficiency – in fact, it may have even improved it.

Luminance not only enhances remote working but accelerates it. Unlike other technology vendors which require lengthy pre-training and configuration, using Luminance, lawyers can be up and running within a matter of hours. Deployed rapidly via the cloud and integrating with a large number of VDRs (virtual data rooms), Luminance’s seamless technology ensures lawyers are able to upload larger document sets without a hitch. Moreover, Luminance is designed to be an intuitive and easy-to-use platform, with minimal user onboarding needed to use the technology – most lawyers begin their review within the hour. Luminance also comes with a range of built-in collaboration and project management tools, ensuring a seamless review process regardless of where lawyers are based.

Size doesn’t matter - but tech does

Firms can no longer afford to lag behind industry trends. In fact, the size, reputation and resources of a firm is no longer a defining feature; those that fail to adapt risk being left behind.

For boutique firms, adopting Luminance allows them to compete beyond the confines of their limited resources and take on cases traditionally reserved for larger firms. Giovanni Adamo, CEO at Italian boutique law firm, Studio Adamo, notes: “As a boutique firm we need to ensure all our lawyers are working together as efficiently as possible to meet increased demand…Luminance ensures we are able to conduct the most thorough review for our clients.” On the other hand, for larger, multinational firms, tech has proved critical at this time of crisis, facilitating the remote working practices of their teams, who no longer have access to physical documents or client offices. Further, with the crisis placing unprecedented strain on companies, clients often require urgent answers to questions such as force majeure provisions in contracts or home-working clauses in employment contracts. Luminance has continued to assist customers in providing these rapid answers to clients, with some of the largest firms such as Dentons and Bird & Bird, to boutique names such as Spanish firm, JAP, achieving time-savings of 70% by using Luminance. Lawyers can use these time-savings to take on additional work, further enhancing the profitability of the firm.

Shaping the future

The speed at which firms are able to adopt technology will distinguish the winners and losers coming out of this economic downturn. Interestingly, the effects will be felt far beyond the legal industry, too. According to KPMG, legal services have the highest balance of trade among professional services, contributing on average £59.93bn GVA to the UK economy each year. It is therefore of vital importance that law firms and organisations are utilising legal technology whilst also dedicating ample resource to continually invest in innovation to deliver legal services in a more efficient, useful, and cost-effective manner. Indeed, the future of the law and the future of the economy may well depend on it.