Over the past year, we have seen adoption of AI increase significantly in the Central and Eastern European legal market. Accelerated by the pandemic, the European B2B legal tech market is expected to grow to $6.26 billion in 2022. Here we take a closer look at how and why next-generation technology is set to transform the legal market in the CEE region.
CEE is a region of incredible linguistic diversity. With over 19 recognised languages, rudimentary legal technologies offering limited services and operating to an anglophone-centric clientele have had trouble breaking into the market. Furthermore, according to a study conducted in 2017, lawyers based in the region have historically been reluctant to embrace innovation due to fear and scaremongering over how their careers will be affected by technological change in the industry.
Furthermore, the legal landscape in the CEE differs substantially from other regions and generally consists of more local and independent practices than large-scale law firms. Consequently, the region has not experienced the sky-high levels of tech investment and implementation as, for example, the United States. Indeed, many firms across CEE are yet to experience the impact of tech-assisted solutions, let alone AI, on their contract processing. As of 2021, only an estimated 2.1% of CEE practises were deploying legal technology.
The Rise of AI in the CEE Region
Catalysed by the pandemic and an increasingly competitive legal market in the CEE region, we can see attitudes changing in real-time. In Poland, the Warsaw Bar Association of Legal Counsels has established a committee for legal tech, with the intersection of law and technology entering mainstream discussions. And whilst some contract analytics tools are still not yet trained in local languages, next-generation AI like Luminance is entirely language agnostic, so is ideally suited to legal teams working with documents containing multiple languages and jurisdictions. Today, Luminance supports lawyers working in over 80 languages including Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, Lithuanian and countless others.
The trend towards AI adoption in the region comes against a backdrop of major global and policy shifts. In recent months alone, many Central and Eastern European organisations have been forced to assess their legal exposure following the introduction of economic sanctions and adjust their ESG investment strategy accordingly. Maintaining compliance is undoubtedly one of the most important issues facing legal teams today. Only AI, which can read and understand vast numbers of legal documents in mere seconds, flagging key information for lawyers to analyse and act upon, is reactive enough to help lawyers stay on top of such a changeable regulatory landscape.
The increased necessity for automation in the delivery of legal services is obvious and has improved attitudes towards AI-powered automation technology in the region. With looming legal, economic and, more recently, moral repercussions for those found to be non-compliant, AI like Luminance can help lawyers to navigate vast datasets with ease, allowing them to understand their contractual landscape at a glance and rapidly locate the information that helps them respond to urgent legal and commercial issues.
AI in Action: Ellex
The Estonian office of leading law firm Ellex was instructed by a client to conduct a competition review of over 70,000 documents. A three-person team was assigned to the project and needed to analyse the entire dataset in just two weeks. The team needed to find examples of communications which could expose the company to any competition risks, whilst also identifying any areas that required urgent attention and assessing the company’s overall compliance. With Luminance’s powerful searching and filtering tools, Ellex reduced the dataset under review from 70,000 documents to just 600 documents in a few days. The team worked seamlessly with Estonian, English and Latvian documents during the review due to Luminance’s language agnosticism, whilst the platform’s workflow tools facilitated collaboration across the team. Luminance’s efficiency and time saving capabilities are examples of ground-breaking innovation streamlining the legal automation process.
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