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Using AI to work smarter

13 August 2020 | Luminance

Every law firm takes on young trainees in the hope that they will rise through the ranks and become the superstar lawyers of the future. As such, providing young lawyers with tools that will enable them to thrive in an era where technology enhances human expertise is crucial - not only for the future of law firms, but also for the advancement of the legal industry. Here, we look at some insights shared by Gavin Williams, Partner at Holland & Knight, during a recent Luminance webinar about how intelligent technologies such as Luminance are enabling lawyers to work faster and smarter than ever before.

Work smarter, learn faster

It is no secret that the legal profession is undergoing a momentous shift as increasingly smart technologies assist lawyers to gain more insight and work more effectively than ever before. Indeed, AI tools like Luminance are leading the charge, allowing lawyers to slice through admin-heavy, repetitive tasks, resulting in huge time savings and more rigorous, thorough reviews which benefit both lawyer and client. But, in practice, what does the advent of useable machine learning technology mean for the day-to-day working habits of junior lawyers?

Gavin Williams, Partner at Holland & Knight, gives the example of a manual LIBOR review: “Before tech, this was a very monotonous task- you would literally open each loan agreement, look for the provision, make a hand [written] note of what the loan agreement contained and then try to organise and compile the data in a way that was useful to the client.” Not only was this type of review incredibly time-consuming, but also inherently suffers from the risk that overworked young lawyers would miss a provision in the stack of hundreds or thousands of documents sitting in their review pile.

But by adopting machine learning technology, manually trawling through legal contracts to highlight key provisions is a thing of the past. Powered by supervised and unsupervised machine learning, Luminance reads and forms an understanding of legal data to provide lawyers with an instant overview of their documents and what they contain. As Gavin puts it: “Instead of manually reviewing loan agreement #500, Luminance can tell you in short order the information contained in your dataset...” He adds, “You can actually look at the document on a clause-by-clause basis to see the prevalence of a clause, the subtle discrepancies in language between different clauses, why a change has been made and whether that change benefits the lender or the borrower and in what circumstances. All that goes into the mix of allowing lawyers to learn rather than walking through a particular assignment.”

Apply legal knowledge and analysis

In an increasingly competitive legal market, it is imperative that young lawyers are continually developing and improving their legal knowledge and skills – both for themselves and for the benefit of the review they are working on. As Gavin says, “If a young associate is manually executing a signature page, you are not learning much on deal 20.” Luminance provides lawyers with a complete analysis into their documents right away, thus enabling lawyers to spend more time on the creative thinking and incisive analysis that they have spent years honing during law school, and that is of real value to the end client.

Moreover, with collaboration and project management tools such as document and task allocation and the ability to track work progression, Luminance empowers lawyers to work seamlessly with senior associates and partners, enabling them to expand their skillset even further. Gavin comments, “Luminance allows young lawyers to push skills faster, resulting in better quality and better work product which is closer to being ‘client ready’ than ever before.”

Career advancement

Technologies like Luminance can also play a huge role in how the industry continues to make progress and meet business and client requirements. “If you are a young lawyer and can successfully run a due diligence through Luminance, you’re only going to prime yourself for more responsibility,” Gavin notes. For instance, “...if you’re able to conduct a review in one week using Luminance and another lawyer will take four weeks because they are using manual methods, you know which one the client is going to want.” For young lawyers, this is especially important - by using Luminance, associates are increasing their exposure to different work and clients, working across different projects far more rapidly than they would ever be able to if each review required manually marking up contracts.

Change the legal industry for the better

Artificial intelligence has huge potential in the way it could transform the working lives of lawyers and, in turn, the work they produce. Junior lawyers must be exposed to and encouraged to employ innovative technologies like AI, for as Gavin notes, this will produce “better lawyers quicker”, enhancing the legal industry as a whole and acting as a catalyst for it to thrive in the future.