Lexpo 2017 - All AI, All the Time

May 16, 2017 5:08:32 PM

Top Takeaways from Lexpo ‘17

This year was Yerra’s first time attending Lexpo. The Legal Innovation event is packed with top quality speakers and topics. We met some fantastic people and learnt much from the subjects on offer. The event had a large leaning towards the impact AI has had and will have on the legal industry. Here are our top takeaways.


Part I – AI Winter is Coming

It is clear to see that AI is having a big influence on legal, and it will continue. This has some people worried about “Robot Lawyers” and whether lawyers will fall victim to job losses. However, despite many theories and reports to the contrary, it seems more that AI is here to augment not replace the lawyers. This is the same point that Professor Burkhard Shaffer made at Yerra Conference last year. Natural Language Processing can carry out certain tasks but negotiating and advising seem out of the capabilities of machines. Gone will be the days of junior lawyers reviewing endless amounts of documents for due diligence, compliance, etc. Machines can now do in a day what takes 50 lawyers one month to do. These junior lawyers will instead have a role in administering the machines, reviewing the output, and carrying out the actions required on the results. AI shrinks the task, thereby increasing efficiency, and releasing lawyers and other legal service providers to deliver better results for our clients. We are already seeing the positive results of this in our own business at Yerra. It was repeatedly stressed that the best AI output would come from “blending the streams of intelligence” coming from lawyers and machines...something we are fully embracing.

Part II – To Infinity (AI) and Beyond

We all know now of AI’s capabilities in document review and analysis. There are a host of systems already available to do this well. However, there are also great opportunities for the use of AI across: eDiscovery, Compliance, Knowledge Management, Spend Analysis, Legal Research, Case Prediction. AI can be used to automate processes, increase transparency, predict outcomes, predict and spot rogue behaviour and thus advise on best cases. There is great opportunity within a market so desperate for increasing efficiencies – and these efficiencies can be massive. There was a large interest amongst all attendees in innovation options and how the legal industry could adopt more innovative practices to provide a greater output.

Part III – AI is not the Messiah

Despite everything I have just said, it is not the case that AI can resolve all problems we face. It was clear from the panel discussion on Day 2 that although everyone is pro-AI, it is not the answer to every question…not now anyway. AI is currently only in place for single purpose (Expert System) tools in legal, for which they work well once programmed to read the patterns required. However, outside of these tools, there is no clear roadmap or proof as to how it will meet the ever-growing demand on legal and compliance departments and their law firms and service providers. Progress is encouraging but measured. Surely, AI will be a hot topic for years to come and it was covered well at Lexpo!

If any of these topics are of interest to you, please consider attending Yerra Conference this year in London or Singapore.

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