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Helping small and mid-sized firms scale up with AI

23 July 2021 | Eleanor Weaver

The explosion of business data in recent years has meant that, until recently, only the legal service providers with the greatest resources at their disposal could bid for larger cases. Unprecedented data volumes lengthened the manual review process, leaving mid-sized firms who lacked manpower unable to compete for this work.

But the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) like Luminance is changing the game: by allowing small-to-medium-sized firms to scale up, they can diversify their revenue streams with technology-led service offerings and even compete for work that would have been out of their reach without technology due to the sheer manpower required to complete it.

Take on additional projects with Luminance

The explosion of data, coupled with increasingly complex data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (USA), means that all kinds of legal work, from Data Subject Access Requests (DSARS) to M&A due diligence reviews, have become less viable for firms who do not have armies of associates at their disposal who can sift through mountains of documents.

Luminance’s unique blend of supervised and unsupervised machine learning reads and forms an understanding of all the data, instantly labelling key datapoints such as Change of Control clauses and Governing Laws within contracts, or finding the smoking gun during the eDiscovery process. By surfacing this information instantly, lawyers no longer need to wade through heaps of documents or rely on sampling a small section of the dataset, running the risk of missing something important. Instead, they can interrogate and analyse their data in the most rigorous and efficient way possible, confident that nothing has been missed.

For small firms, this means saving time on each project and using the time saved to take on additional work and in turn, drive profitability. And it also means that firms of all sizes can scale up their operations and work beyond the limitations that resource restrictions have traditionally imposed. For instance, only recently I was speaking to boutique Swiss firm, id est advocats. Previously, the firm were locked into smaller regional activities but with Luminance’s technology cutting amount of time and resources required, allowing them to unearth insight in contracts at record speed, they can compete for mid-sized projects. Mehmet Torai, Partner at id est advocats, said “Luminance will allow us to take on cases that were previously too resource and labour-intensive to be conducted manually.”

Offering a broader range of services

AI can also help small firms take on projects which were previously too time and resource-intensive to be profitable, opening up new revenue streams.

For instance, LIBOR-related reviews are often very labour-intensive projects due to the sheer volume of contracts which need to be reviewed and therefore can be unfeasible for firms to offer as a service, with clients baulking at the high fees involved.

However, Luminance can automatically identify key LIBOR-related provisions (for example, provisions pertaining to LIBOR definition and calculations of interest that use LIBOR as a benchmark), and label them for the lawyers to review. Using Luminance’s Work-in-Word functionality, the legal professional can access Luminance’s machine learning analysis when working with their Word documents, and, with one click, edit and modify the document or provision to ensure compliance with the new RFRs. With a full transition away from LIBOR planned for 1st January 2022, firms have till the end of the year to repaper their contracts. Using AI, businesses such as Delta Capita and EY Law are now able to offer tech-assisted LIBOR work.

And for small firms, this presents the chance not only to take on new projects and win new business, but also to offer a wider range of services to their existing clients, reducing the need for these clients to shop around and take their business elsewhere.

Using AI to win new work

Firms like boutique Spanish law firm, JAP, are now also using AI to pitch and win additional projects, knowing they can meet their clients’ demanding expectations. For instance, JAP were recently given just two weeks to complete a complex real estate review of nearly 400 documents. One key reason why JAP won the bid for the project was that the client knew that they could use Luminance to thoroughly review every contract, surfacing all of the key information and completing the project well within the deadline.

Luminance: enabling business growth across the board

This diversification of the legal market would therefore be impossible without innovative technology like Luminance, which is levelling the playing field and allowing small firms to differentiate, scale-up and grow as businesses, opening new opportunities and revenue streams.