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Is "Artificial Intelligence" in legal entirely new?

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In recent months there have been a number of articles in the press about the growing requirement for AI (artificial intelligence) within the legal market. Most of these articles concentrate on the removal of human involvement in a variety of repetitive and low value tasks.

AI is being touted as the next “big thing” in legal technology, but there is reason to believe that while the technology is still in its nascent stage and undoubtedly its application will expand – its origins already exist in some legal market focussed technologies.

The basis of any AI solution is that firms have the ability to configure the rules and processes within a system so that they can articulate the way the organisation works (or would like to work). The system is then able to apply the rules and propose decisions based on statistical analysis without human intervention.

At LexisNexis, we have over 30 years’ experience of delivering intelligent automation solutions to clients via our Lexis VisualFiles and SolCase applications. An example of AI-related functionality that we have developed for one of our clients is:

1. Automatic allocation

The system automatically allocates new cases to fee earners based on:

  1. their location
  2. their skill set
  3. their current work load.

The implementation of this system has improved the accuracy of work allocation at the firm – there is no longer the need for a person dedicated to the task of reviewing and allocating cases. The firm is also able to receive work electronically and from its website 24 hours a day.

2. Automated acknowledgements

The second phase of this project extended the system to include an automated acknowledgement of the case, the production of the client welcome pack and the setup of the client / matter in the firm’s accounts and document management system.

VisualFiles is also used for automating contract and complex document management creation. For instance, internal users of the system or external clients follow an automated wizard to provide key matter-related information. VisualFiles then creates the required contract / document, saves it in the firm’s document management system, raises a charge for the work; and if required, emails the document over to the client – all with little human intervention.

It cannot be refuted that AI is going to gather pace in the industry and perhaps be much more advanced in its functionality than what we have seen thus far. However, the seeds of the concept were sown a long time ago. Intelligent automation will continue and many lawyers and firms could be taking advantage of intelligent automation today to standardise and improve business processes; and enhance productivity and overall efficiency of their business.

About the Author:

Martin has been involved in Legal IT for over 30 years and has worked for companies such as Equitrac, Pilgrim, Pracctice, Visualfiles and LexisNexis. In his current role as Key Account Manager he looks after 50 of the largest Visualfiles / SolCase clients and is responsible for making sure his clients get the most out of their systems and are fully aware of the benefits.

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