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The Changing Technology Landscape: How will it Shape Future Disputes

25 June 2021 | Arrun Harker, Legal Product Expert at Luminance

At the Disputes Resolution Forum 2021, Luminance held a panel discussion with Urs Bracher, Head of Legal Tech and Know-how Management at leading Swiss law firm Walder Wyss, and Juan Pablo Charris, Associate at LALIVE, a dispute resolution-focused law firm also based in Switzerland. Our session discussed how technology can assist in dispute resolution, and how this relationship will develop in the coming years. Here are a few key takeaways from the conversation…

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend towards digitalisation

One key point that Bracher and Charris agreed upon was the increased demand for technological advancement within the legal industry, which took off in the wake of disruption to normal working practice caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of eDiscovery tools, for example, has been a common practice in investigations for decades due to ever-increasing volumes of data. However, the necessity of remote working has meant that many other forms of technology have been used across a greater variety of legal proceedings. Juan Pablo gave the examples of filing documents and witness statements with online tools and stated that most of his work at LALIVE is now done online.

Lawyers and clients have become more comfortable with the concept of technology being used in legal proceedings

As technology becomes more widely used across legal practice areas, lawyers and clients will only become more comfortable with it, especially as the direct gains from technology become clear. An example of this is the ability to store data in the cloud, which ten years ago was unusual but now is relied upon to facilitate document sharing and remote collaboration. Charris explained that having tools which are user-friendly is pivotal to the uptake of more advanced technology, such as AI, as lawyers are used to working with paper documents. Not only does technology being easy-to-use and implement allow a smooth transition, but it also means that firms don’t have to rely (or spend) as much on tech support and training, which he feels is one of the most common concerns that prevents firms from adopting new technology. Indeed, Urs Bracher was impressed to see that it took typically just 20-30 minutes of training for users within his firm to get started and get value out of the Luminance platform.

Using AI to land larger matters and increase efficiency

Walder Wyss and LALIVE have both been using Luminance Discovery, an end-to-end AI powered eDiscovery tool for dispute resolution cases. By combining robust, AI-driven document analysis with powerful data culling and filter widgets, Luminance quickly allows lawyers to find areas of interest and ensures they can rapidly zero in on relevant information. The panellists believe that using powerful AI tools is vital for processing the huge amount of data typically involved in investigations. Urs Bracher comments that, with Luminance, they can take on additional mandates that they might not previously have had the time to complete due to the sheer number of documents involved and allows them to complete matters with less staff than was traditionally required per project. Further, Luminance also improves their ability to collaborate internally and externally. The team can easily share their findings with clients and co-counsel regardless of their physical location as the entire platform is web-based, whilst AI-powered search functionality and workflow management tools all help them to hone in on key information quickly and efficiently.

The Future of Dispute Resolution

Both Urs Bracher and Juan Pablo Charris feel that AI is here to stay, and were keen to emphasise that lawyers’ roles will be enhanced by technology, with lawyers’ analysis and decision-making remaining pivotal. As Urs Bracher put it, dispute resolution has ‘an inherent human element’ due to the analytical nature of the practice. With AI allowing lawyers to cull irrelevant documents from their review, and helping them to leave no stone unturned during the investigation, lawyers are freed up to spend more time on valuable analysis and reflection. This enables legal teams to provide the best possible advice to their client, fully appraised of all data and confident in a through, AI-powered review.