While the futuristic notion of a world filled with humanoid-robots catering to our every whim remains fantasy, pragmatic artificial intelligence (AI) is moving full-steam ahead. But where does the opportunity lie for law firms?
Law! What is it good for?
Law firms are institutions built on knowledge and reputation. Without the former, you never achieve the latter, as expertise is the cornerstone of legal success.
Whether directly or otherwise, your firm sells solutions to clients’ problems based on the combined knowledge of your staff. But where once the role of partner was a job for life, today that culture is all but dead and gone.
This brings with it several challenges.
Becoming a partner used to mean joining an esteemed rank of peers that breathed the firm air and bled the firm blood. Job security was virtually guaranteed, and jumping ship to a rival organisation was unthinkable.
Times have changed. Today, even managing partners may jump to a competitor for the right price, bringing as many clients with them as possible on the way out. But more detrimental still is the knowledge they take with them — insights they’ve cultivated over decades of practical and theoretical study — is gone in the blink of an eye. When senior associates leave, there’s also the risk of them taking not only the client, but their subject matter and technical expertise for the use of disclosure technology and AI.
This problem doesn’t just lie with these departures either. Senior lawyers who remain loyal, receive their golden watch, and retire to the country also leave behind a knowledge gap that, despite any firms’ best efforts, remains impossible to fill.
So, how can firms retain institutional knowledge even in the face of retirees and employee migration?
The answer lies with data intelligence.
A deep dive into data intelligence
Data intelligence refers to the practice of using AI and machine learning (ML) to transform vast reams of data into intelligent and actionable insights – and it’s a growing discipline within the legal industry.
According to Thomson Reuters, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is just beginning to come into its own in terms of its use by lawyers and within the legal industry.”
Meanwhile, LexisNexis claims that “artificial intelligence-powered legal research is a game-changer for lawyers and their firms, helping them find relevant information faster, more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
More and more firms are seeing the value of data intelligence not only in combating knowledge loss as employees migrate, but also as a differentiator for their services as competition for clients escalates. Increasingly, data-rich firms are employing analytics to guide decision-making and, as a result, are improving the client experience and delivery.
For example, global law firm Kennedys was able to go from collection to disclosure with 1.4 million documents in just 11 days using AI models.
A construction-focused litigation boutique reduced its review population by 75% using an AI-powered prioritisation workflow.
The practical application of artificial intelligence is growing significantly across all stages and regions of the legal sector, from review to appeal and from corporate to construction – as well as in highly competitive sectors such as trademark infringement, where AI is increasingly seen as a differentiator in the field.
By this point, you may be thinking, “This is all well and good, but what’s this got to do with knowledge loss?”
Well, it’s more closely connected than you might think.
AI-powered knowledge management
So far, much of the data intelligence that’s been discussed has been focused on the ability of AI to rapidly and accurately analyse litigation and investigation data to accelerate review processes.
But, in each individual case, the AI has been applied fresh at the beginning of the process.
What if every case you worked on for a client built on the one before — even if a completely different team works on it? What if you could look at documents and identify key trends to help your clients before a legal proceeding? What if you could take all the learnings from past matters and apply them to your new matters from the start?
This is the real power of data intelligence.
By unifying AI and ML capabilities with cross-matter AI, you can kickstart tag predictions for your new matters as soon as you spin up a case. Then, as you continue to build models over time, clients come back to you again, not only for your legal expertise and customer service, but because you’re able to resolve their matters faster and more intelligently than your competitors.
Whether it’s privilege, classifiers, or work in a particular practice group, you can get a head start on document review and start identifying documents faster and with higher accuracy.
Best of all, with a self-learning algorithm, every tagging decision you make improves tag predictions for next time around – so your models continually improve.
In a world where law firms are losing essential insights as employees leave or retire, data intelligence holds the key to warding off knowledge loss in your firm and reducing the impact of legal leavers. To find out more about the magic behind data intelligence and how you, too, can adopt the moniker of “The World’s Most Data Intelligent Business”, talk to DISCO today.