Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction and there is a lot of efforts going on to apply this technology in different industries, including the legal industry. Someone who has followed this development for a while is Richard Tromans, the founder of Artificial Lawyer and one of the key note speakers at Nordic Legal Tech Day.
LW: Tell us about Artificial Lawyer?
Richard: Artificial Lawyer is a site that covers the new wave of legal technology that is now being adopted by lawyers around the world, especially where it is using AI and/or automation.
The site started last year after it became clear that AI and automation was now of real and strategic importance to law firms and clients. It was no longer ‘the future’ and so someone needed to start really writing about just this area. So, I decided to do this in addition to my main job, which is advising lawyers on business strategy and innovation.
LW: What is your background and how come you started to work with legal tech and Legal AI?
Richard: I started life as a teacher, then became a legal journalist covering law firm strategy around the world. Over the last decade I have been a strategy and innovation consultant to lawyers.
Legal AI is now part of that strategic picture and I help law firms to shape their thinking and make the right choices with regard to understanding and then adopting different types of AI systems. This work goes hand in hand with my more ‘traditional’ advice and guidance on matters such as business growth and defining firm strategy.
I have also begun to provide advice to legal tech companies, as they benefit from my knowledge of the legal market, of business strategy and also, I have some understanding of what they are trying to achieve as start-ups and entrepreneurs in the legal world.
LW: Your hear a lot about AI nowadays but where are we – in the experimental or industrialization stage? Isn´t a very expensive technology?
Richard: Legal AI is seeing healthy adoption among many law firms. Not all of them are large. I have seen very small firms make use of AI systems for legal research, for example and also medium-size firms use AI document analysis systems for corporate work.
Therefore, this is no longer an experiment, this is real adoption. It is also around the world, not just the US and UK, but across Europe, including Scandinavia.
AI is not expensive. Lawyer salaries are expensive, AI is not. There is a huge productivity gain from using AI that it easily pays for itself very quickly. Also, many systems are ‘pay what you use’ so smaller firms can afford to use it, even if they don’t have huge volumes of matters
LW: What are the trends in other industries – is there any examples of where AI is changing the game?
Richard: First, there are many different types of AI. But we see its use in retail, in advertising, in areas where modelling patterns of data is vital, such as in investments.
At present, use, as with the legal world, remains at the early stages, but it will grow.
LW: How long will it take until every business lawyer is using some sort of AI application on a regular basis?
Richard: It will depend on the firm, but it would be realistic to say within 10 years most medium or larger business law firms will have some form of legal AI technology that they make use of. Some smaller firms may hold out, just as they have avoided making use of other already established technology. But, the firms that are competitive, that are really focused on client needs, as well as on boosting their productivity will steadily adopt the use of AI. Why….? There is a simple answer: because it works.
On September 21, 2017, Richard will speak at the Nordic Legal Tech Day in Stockholm about “Legal AI – Where it Stands Today and What it Means For Lawyers and Clients”. Please read more here.