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Investing in the future of the legal profession

11 August 2020 | Luminance

Julián Quesada Alonso, Staff for the International Tax and Transactions Team at EY Central America, recently joined Luminance for a webinar where he discussed how it will be vital for law firms in Central and South America to implement legal technology solutions in order to stay competitive and effectively respond to a changing legal landscape.

Foresight with legal technology

For many years, EY has been continuously reviewing how legal technology can support and enhance legal review processes. This focus on innovation led to the adoption of Luminance’s AI technology, which Julián Quesada Alonso views as an opportunity “to bring much more value to [our] customers.” Julián believes that it is important to invest in legal technology early so that organisations can be prepared for all eventualities. This was most recently demonstrated by the pandemic which highlighted the way that “companies that had already invested in technology before the lockdown did have an advantage.”

EY’s legal teams have found that Luminance’s unique blend of both supervised and unsupervised machine learning has greatly enhanced their review processes as it is able to rapidly read and form an understanding of legal datasets, instantly surfacing crucial information such as clauses, standards, deviations and anomalies, without the need for pre-programming or configuration. Using Luminance, law firms are able to generate time-savings of at least 50% on day one of the review. As Julián notes, “the fact that we’re able to do a contract review in the space of a few minutes is absurd.”

While legal teams such as EY Law, have seen the benefits of early technology adoption, Luminance’s technology is inherently flexible and fast to deploy, with many firms and organisations able to start using the platform within just a few hours. Julián comments on the way in which many firms have recently incorporated these tools into their workflow, saying: “The speed with which practices migrated to an online-only process has actually been impressive… [the lockdown] gave companies who had not already invested in technology the sufficient drive and motivation to do so.”

Innovation during lockdown

Central to any firm’s resilience during the current crisis has been their adaptability. Without it, legal teams would not have been able to provide high-quality and timely advice to clients. Julián believes technology has become essential to legal teams today as “decisions must not only be made quickly, but also with the necessary information to support them.” In this climate, Julián adds that, “any organisation who does not bet on technology is destined to perish.”

Another challenge to the productivity of legal teams has been the ability to collaborate effectively while working remotely. Julián comments that, “the biggest change since lockdown has been a lack of personal interaction. Globally, our way of communicating changed as businesses migrated to being one hundred percent virtual.” Businesses across the world have been looking for technology that promotes collaborative working, no matter the location of their employees. With Luminance Diligence, lawyers are able to use the ‘tasks’, which allows managers to assign tasks and continually track the progress of their team. In Luminance’s Discovery platform, team members can automatically hyperlink production references in Word to their original document. This ‘live’ Word document can be shared with colleagues or opposing counsel, who can click on the hyperlink and instantly be taken to the correct document in Luminance.

Global teams are frequently faced with document reviews that are cross-jurisdictional and multilingual. Luminance’s language agnostic technology immediately reads and understands huge volumes of data in any language and from any jurisdiction, and then displays and categorises the data in an intuitive and visual way. Julián comments on his experience of reviewing Spanish-language documents, saying “Luminance has done an excellent job in expanding the languages it handles. In Spanish, I don’t see any difference to the results you get in English.” This functionality allows Luminance’s customers to work seamlessly in a multilingual data room.

The future of the legal profession

Julián says that, “digitalisaton and technology are the future, not only for legal practice, but for business in general.” Indeed, over the past decade, the rate of technology adoption has increased dramatically. With lawyers ever-more aware of the impact that technology can have in assisting them with their work, the adoption of advanced systems such as AI-powered document review looks set to only accelerate in the future.

“Luminance does not replace the lawyer but it definitely is a tool that becomes the right hand of the legal professional.”

-Julián Quesada Alonso, Staff for the International Tax and Transactions Team at EY Central America