Streamlining disclosure has been the ambition of the Disclosure Pilot Scheme since its launch in 2019. Running until 31st December 2022, it’s useful to remember that, at its core, the pilot was a response to an ever-expanding pool of potential and disclosable digital data capable of overwhelming legal practice, the consequent proportionality of costs, and a hopeful recognition that technology, particularly AI-powered technology, might assist. Consequently, AI-powered edisclosure tools have come under increasing scrutiny for what they can do to help lawyers fulfil their disclosure obligations. However, the equation that fuels the pilot is true regardless of the pilot — if data growth creates a problem, AI-powered technology can create a solution.
The great AI myth
There are far too many myths around the science and application of AI and machine learning (ML). But, knowing what makes AI great helps when it comes to understanding what AI can actually do. AI-powered edisclosure tools help lawyers find what they want and possibly more importantly, what they don’t want from vast oceans of data. For lawyers, the whole point of a truly great AI is to get more time back to do what you went to law school to do without spending so much time sifting through and analysing data. At DISCO our AI learns and adapts to our client's behaviour and decisions so as to reduce total time expenditure by an order of magnitude. Like all great AI systems built by experts, it helps you get to the truth faster and at scale.
AI-powered legal technology needs lawyers
The value of lawyers to the function of AI-powered technology is still dismissed as a sales pitch, a bit of marketing wizardry designed to conceal an all-powerful AI capable and intent on replacing lawyers. This doom-call for the legal profession in the advent of “robo-lawyers” is the easiest myth to debunk. The importance of lawyers to the legal process cannot be overstated, even an AI-informed legal process.
Without lawyers, even great AI-powered legal tools would lack the ability to do anything but the most mundane, process-driven tasks — and even then there would be no guarantee they’d do those well enough to justify continued use. Without expert input, operation and control, AI is little more than a series of checkboxes designed to take you in binary fashion from point A to point B — think chatbots designed to help resolve repeating, formulaic problems.
Automation empowers lawyers
Great AI in combination with the right workflows and human input can automate and accelerate data-intensive processes, particularly across activities relating to document review and disclosure. AI can transform critical, data-driven processes to create time efficiencies that let your teams focus on expert legal work. AI-prioritised reviews speed up the time to finding those critical few documents that make your case (maybe even that one silver bullet that search terms alone wouldn’t have surfaced). With the time pressures of modern legal practice, AI tools can create potentially game-changing time savings and analytics that can set you and your clients up for even greater success.
If that sounds like AI-hype or another AI myth, it’s not. If there’s one thing AI-powered tools can do, it’s analyse and process at scale. AI has helped law firms around the globe transform their review and disclosure timetables and budgets with methodologies that have stood up in court and trained lawyers in systems that have delighted their clients.
Not all AI was created equal
It’s important to dispel the myth that all AI is the same and that all AI-powered solutions can make the same level of positive impact. Great AI-powered tools don’t stop at the implementation of strong machine learning, they are designed to take advantage of AI as easily as possible — think intuitive dashboards, visual analytics, easy enablement, engaging training, and robust support. They’ll facilitate matter oversight and complete process transparency with deliberate and definite security. They’ll have thought about repeatability and provide AI that can be used in multiple cases across similar case types or clients, which will allow your firm to leverage the knowledge and insights gained from previous disclosure projects and deploy them in forthcoming work. Rather than reinventing the wheel every time, lawyers will be able to make use of their unique business insight to provide clients with better value and service.
Innovate with confidence
The case for transforming your key practices with AI-driven legal technology is strong. However, we also understand that change can feel risky, especially when we talk about data and the cloud. Not all clients are at the same point of the innovation journey and the prospect of new technology can raise questions or concerns especially in light of increasingly strict global privacy regulations. The solution? Ask your vendor and ensure they apply and enforce the necessary degree of security protocols that give you total confidence. DISCO Ediscovery, for example, lives on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This allows firms to take full advantage of the stringent security provided by AWS — one of the world’s leading technology companies, whose primary value proposition is centred around security — in addition to the security provided by DISCO validated by industry-leading third-party certifications to further protect clients’ data.
There’s a lot of information about AI in the context of legal practice — not all of it helpful. Accordingly, consider the following when considering whether to believe the myths or believe the hype.
Great AI-powered legal technology can:
- help lawyers perform and exceed client and business expectations by overhauling disclosure and document review processes and analysing vast quantities of data
- can create more opportunities for teams to perform value-add work — the work they trained for; and
- secure data, no matter where or when ingested.