Not all LegalTech is created equal: Is your team really using ‘AI'?

7 May 2021 | Jaeger Glucina, Head of Sales, Luminance

Technology is revolutionising the work of lawyers, with firms across the world racing to seek out the most talked about and revered technologies in order to stay competitive and drive business growth. Specifically, AI is changing the game, allowing legal teams to cut through repetitive, admin-heavy work, identify critical information in a matter of days not weeks, and focus their time and resource on what matters.

But as AI becomes the technology of the moment, we are seeing an increasing number of vendors misrepresenting or mislabelling their technology as ‘AI’. AI is in danger of becoming seen as a marketing term rather than a tangible solution for lawyers.

The legal sector is undergoing a radical tech transformation

The legal sector is at a critical juncture: ever-expanding data volumes has meant that lawyers are now expected to sift through enormous datasets for their contract reviews and investigations, making it impossible to read and grasp all of this information and it has become all too easy to miss something critical in their review. In all of this, true AI has emerged as a practical and effective solution, ensuring that lawyers are able to review all of their data in a much smarter and more cost-effective way, resulting in highly insightful legal analysis for their clients and businesses.

Beware of the AI hype

But this momentum and excitement around AI technology is not always what it seems: whilst technology that says it offers up AI for lawyers has increased by nearly two-thirds in 2020 compared to 2019, many vendors are simply jumping on the AI bandwagon, positioning themselves as part of the AI hype when on closer inspection, they don’t offer anything of the sort.

Even more confusing, is that the concept of ‘LegalTech’ has come to encompass a huge diversity of technologies. On the one hand, there are virtual data rooms and esignature technologies which offer real, practical benefits to lawyers, but it is important to distinguish them from and recognise that they are fundamentally different to AI which sits on the other end of the spectrum. Whilst point-solutions provide tangible benefits to improve one aspect of lawyers’ jobs, AI like Luminance is transforming document review and to that end, is fundamentally enhancing the way the day-to-day lives of lawyers.

AI? More like a keyword search

A lot of the tools that claim to use ‘AI’ are nothing more than a data extraction tool that can search for information after intensive machine training and rules configuration. These rules-based systems are not much better than a sophisticated keyword search system and are entirely unsuited to the complex realities of the legal and business world.

For instance, if I was a lawyer using a rules-based technology for a due diligence review and searched for a ‘Change of Control’ clause, I will only receive hits for instances of this clause that matched the exact wording that the system had been trained on. Because the machine does not understand context or the essence of the data, it is unable to surface variations of this clause such as a Singaporean ‘Change of Constitution’ clause or a ‘Cambio de control’ clause in Spanish. Indeed, variations of clauses and concepts is very probable in a legal context where the opposing counsel may want to obscure certain information. As a result, lawyers are only given half the picture and further increase the risk of missing the golden nugget that might seal their deal or win their case.

Next-generation tech: The Luminance approach

Luminance’s AI is completely revolutionising this process: powered by a unique blend of supervised and unsupervised machine learning, Luminance is able to automatically identify key clauses, datapoints and anomalies, becoming increasingly sophisticated with continued use.

With Luminance, lawyers do not worry about whether the machine will miss something important because the machine is actually able to understand the context and essence of the data. This is because instead of learning by rules, Luminance is actively reading and forming an understanding of the data. This means that as well as surfacing examples of things that the lawyer is looking to find, Luminance is also able to identify the things that the lawyer did not think to search for or did not expect to find- for instance, an unexpected ‘force majeure’ clause in a Covid review or a text message which is a crucial piece of evidence in a litigation case. This insight is invaluable for lawyers, allowing them to raise key issues at a much earlier stage whilst also saving much-needed time and resource. Further, if there is something new that users wish to teach Luminance, they can create a new concept in one click and Luminance is able to apply this learning across the entire dataset.

Are you using AI?

AI has the potential to completely revolutionise the work of lawyers and can bring untold benefits in terms of efficiency, insight and help to drive business growth. It is therefore critical for legal teams to assess the technology they are using and identify whether it is really enhancing their legal work. If you want to see the power of AI in action, Luminance gives all firms the opportunity to try out the technology with a two-week free trial.