Can Artificial Intelligence Help Improve Legal Department Performance?
Artificial intelligence can be a valuable tool for legal departments when they use the right technology for the right task. What should GCs know about AI to ensure they can take advantage of its benefits?
The constant evolution of legal technology can make it difficult for GCs to know which innovations they should focus on. Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, the global leader in transformational technology and data-based solutions for the legal industry, helps legal departments drive toward their goals every day.
Legal Departments have now widely adopted eBilling, matter management, contract management, document automation and other Enterprise Legal Management technologies. Many are now hearing that artificial intelligence (AI) is the next step, but why should GCs consider AI tools?
The Perfect Fit for Legal
It is almost universally agreed that GCs are in a world of ever increasing complexity and regulation, with legal teams under pressure to do more work without more people. Automating repetitive and administrative tasks will allow lawyers more time to apply their legal knowledge in service of true, high value legal work and is an important part in GC’s keeping pace with the increasing workload burden on their teams.
The business of law involves a huge and ever-increasing amount of data. Within this often unstructured data are valuable trends and answers that can enable quicker or better advice. AI is perfectly positioned to help analyse these large volumes of information to quickly find meaningful associations, patterns and trends, and present them to the lawyer. In addition to saving time and effort, this information feedback loop is key to continuous improvement, allowing AI algorithms to become more effective over time, providing better-quality insights and recommendations.
Selecting the Right Technologies
Most legal professionals and technology experts I talk with agree that AI will become highly prevalent in legal departments. The open questions are the pace of adoption and where and when specifically there will be a return on investment. I’m often asked which current technologies have proven ROI today, and what should be the first investment.
I’m also commonly seeing in-house corporate technology teams running AI programs that the business, including Legal, can leverage. Legal software vendors are also investing significantly in these technologies, which will result in more use cases with ROI.
AI is exciting with high potential as transformative technology. Many are talked about, but in my view, the most effective solutions today are those that are:
• Legal task- or function-specific, such as contract review or legal bill review
• Underpinned by rich, robust data for specific tasks, as AI tools are only as good as the data they leverage
• Easy for lawyers to adopt, providing immediate value, with ongoing data and feedback to enable continuous improvement
• Addressing a workflow with the volume and efficiency gain potential to justify the initial investment
A good example is legal bill review. It’s not high value to the company for lawyers to spend time reviewing legal bills in detail when AI can perform this task well. ELM Solutions has access to nearly 85 billion euros in detailed and anonymous client-permissioned legal billing data. Because of this, when we leverage AI in offerings such as LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer, we can build algorithms that “learn” from this industry data alongside our clients’ own data. This enables effective flagging of line items that violate billing guidelines, which people or traditional technology cannot identify. Ensuring billing guideline compliance in this way saves in-house teams time and results in proven financial savings.
The GCs I talk with are eager to keep their legal departments operating efficiently and achieving the best outcomes. AI is a hot topic, written and spoken about often, and it will be important to select the right technology. Applying it effectively will drive the best efficiencies and outcomes to support legal teams now and in the future.
Over de auteur:
Mark Stapleton is Managing Director, EMEA, at Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions. Mark joined the company in 2013 as the regional head of the business in EMEA and is responsible for leading its continued expansion as the Enterprise Legal Management market continues its rapid growth and development. Mark has spent the last 18 years in the B2B information and software markets, previously working for Reuters and Dow Jones. Mark has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics.