How They Use AI: Berry Appleman + Ogletree

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By Aebra Coe

Law360 (August 27, 2019, 3:49 PM EDT) — Many in the legal industry bemoan the hype surrounding artificial intelligence and its use in the practice of law, but underneath the fanfare there are a slew of real-world examples of AI being implemented by law firms for practical and useful purposes.

While there may never be a law firm populated by robot lawyers, the use of AI by law firms has transformed the way some approach certain legal work, and many say it has allowed lawyers in those firms to save time and get their jobs done more efficiently.

Here, in the first of a two-part series, Law360 takes an in-depth look at two real world-examples of how AI is being used right now by law firms and the impact it is having.

Berry Appleman & Leiden

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP is a global immigration law firm that uses AI to, among other things, extract information from documents and draft responses to certain common government requests it frequently handles for corporate clients.

[AI] gives us tremendous efficiency, accuracy, quality, but most importantly I think it gives us the gift of time and that allows us to focus on our relationships with clients.

One AI system the law firm has in place helps attorneys respond more efficiently to U.S. government requests for evidence, or RFEs, in the visa application process on behalf of clients, according to Chief Information Officer Vince DiMascio.

“It’s a tremendous time saver and really cool capability both from the reading and interpretation side and the drafting side,” he said.

When the law firm receives an RFE, its systems can read the letter, interpret what it is requesting, search a library for potential responses and then draft a response based on what was said in the initial RFE.

That draft response is then reviewed and edited by an attorney before being mailed back to the government.

According to Edward Rios, managing partner of BAL’s Boston office, government RFEs have been increasing “tremendously” in recent years, making the new technology especially useful.

“Clients need us to be able to quantify those attacks very quickly and respond with the best counterarguments we have based on our understanding of the industry and the filing,” Rios said. “This system allows us to do that.”

Because the law firm focuses exclusively on immigration work, it is a repository for mass amounts of data on immigration law. That means AI is a good fit for trimming down on the human labor involved in accomplishing certain work the firm does, DiMascio said.

Mass amounts of data are key in training AI systems to spot patterns, which allows it to be useful to users.

“We have a data advantage” in training AI, DiMascio said, pointing to the law firm’s “decades” of passports and similar records from which it has extracted data to feed its AI systems.

Rather than buying off-the-shelf AI tools like many law firms, BAL has used open-source software and software libraries like TensorFlow, PyTorch and Tesseract OCR to build many of the tools it uses internally, he said.

The firm employs a “fully staffed” team of legal technologists, made up of developers, quality assurance professionals, product development staff, support staff and others, and also taps into the contract and freelance work pool when needed for extra help on a project, he said.

“[AI] gives us tremendous efficiency, accuracy, quality, but most importantly I think it gives us the gift of time, and that allows us to focus on our relationships with clients,” DiMascio said.

Ogletree

After launching a pilot program last year in which a handful of the law firm’s attorneys began using AI provider Legalmation’s technology, this January, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC officially agreed to partner with the company to implement the technology more comprehensively.

“It’s a win-win situation for us and the client. Everybody saves money and we get the work done faster.”

Legalmation provides Ogletree with a web-based AI tool that generates automated litigation documents like answers, discovery requests, discovery responses and captions for use in federal and state lawsuits in five jurisdictions: New York, California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas.

Under the agreement, Ogletree is the only large labor and employment law firm that will have access to the technology for a set period of time, according to Ogletree’s Chief Knowledge Officer Patrick DiDomenico. In return, the law firm is offering up its vast collection of labor and employment law data to help train Legalmation’s systems, and the firm is offering input with regard to the product’s development.

To use Legalmation, the law firm’s attorneys can drag and drop a PDF complaint or other legal document onto the website. The technology then translates the PDF into text, reads it and analyzes it, and within minutes it generates a draft response.

“It kind of seems like magic,” DiDomenico said. “You have all of this output based on an uploaded complaint in two minutes. The documents are draft documents, but all in all the tool does about six to eight hours’ worth of work in two minutes.”

After receiving the draft response, a lawyer then reviews and edits the resulting document and then submits it to a senior attorney for any further review or revisions.

Although the tool is simple to use and does not necessitate lawyer training, it does require education and promotion on the part of the law firm in order to make sure attorneys are aware of its benefits so that they engage with the technology and make use of it, DiDomenico said.

“Quite frankly, some people are either not aware of certain technologies or
maybe haven’t seen them so they don’t necessarily trust them,” he said.

“Even as simple as this tool is, you still have to do promotion and training, you have to make sure people feel comfortable with it.”

According to DiDomenico, the impact of the technology is “clear”: There’s a time savings, which also saves money. He says his law firm shares those efficiencies with the client by charging them a fee for the technology’s use, while cutting six to eight hours of billable time off the client’s bill.

“It’s a win-win situation for us and the client. Everybody saves money and we get the work done faster,” he said.

–Editing by Rebecca Flanagan and Alanna Weissman.

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Platform Overview

LegalMation provides a suite of Artificial Intelligence tools to help practicing attorneys and legal professionals automate routine litigation tasks. Unlike existing template generators and form-fillers, LegalMation's ground-breaking AI system is able to dynamically produce responsive pleadings, discovery requests, discovery responses, and related documents that are tailored to the claims, allegations, and requests in the legal document uploaded, incorporating jurisdictional requirements as well as the attorney’s own style, formatting, and response strategy. Developed by a passionate group of award-winning litigators and highly accomplished software developers, LegalMation is focused on liberating litigators to allow them to focus on more valuable tasks in their practice..

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  • LegalMation is the first Artificial Intelligence company to focus solely on using AI to automate and enhance litigation tasks.
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Corporate In-House Case Study

A leading global retail giant achieves significant savings on legal fees on its high-volume litigation matters using LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool.

The Legal Operations group of a leading global retailer with significant litigation volume across the country was searching for technology tools to increase efficiency and consistency on its litigation matters, lower its legal spend, and obtain more value from outside counsel. Working with LegalMation, the retailer identified two litigation areas with large volume where the deployment of LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool could have a significant impact: employment and premises liability tort litigation.

The retailer conducted a pilot of LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool by asking select outside counsel to run complaints through the LegalMation Complaint Analysis tool and compare the outputs to those generated by the firm’s typical workflow.  LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool was able to generate an answer, requests for production and interrogatories that were almost identical to those generated by outside counsel and tailored to the facts and allegations of each.

Today, this global retailer has made LegalMation an integral part of its workflow and case assignment process. When a new lawsuit is served on the retailer in one of the jurisdictions where LegalMation operates, an in-house paralegal runs the complaint through LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool and sends the output, consisting of an answer, requests for production, interrogatories, and other jurisdiction or firm-specific output to the selected outside counsel for the matter.  Outside counsel then bills the retailer solely for the time spent reviewing and editing this initial output which generates significant savings for the global retailer.

Challenge

  • Increasing budgetary pressure to lower outside counsel legal fees
  • Obtain more value from hours billed by outside counsel
  • Lack of consistency in work product and quality from outside counsel

Solution

  • Deploy LegalMation internally to generate initial draft responsive documents in minutes
  • Integrate LegalMation into its initial case assignment process

Results

  • Up to 80% savings on outside counsel legal fees on key early stage litigation document drafting.
  • Reallocation of outside counsel time away from process/routine work to higher value strategic tasks.
  • Increased consistency and quality in work product

Large Firm Case Study

An Am Law 100 labor and employment law firm was searching for ways to become more competitive and capture more market share

Handling over 5,000 employment related litigation matters per year across the country, the Am Law 100 law firm (the “Firm”) needed a quantifiable solution to lower its servicing costs and provide more value to its national clients. The Firm engaged in extensive testing of LegalMation’s platform across multiple offices to determine its effectiveness.

Using LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool, the Firm was able to reduce the attorney time spent preparing answers, affirmative defenses, and initial written discovery (requests for production, interrogatories, and other jurisdiction-specific requests) from an average of 6-8 hours per matter, to less than 1 hour (including review time by an attorney). The Firm tested LegalMation’s tools across multiple types of employment cases across various jurisdictions and concluded that the resulting draft documents were not only produced incredibly fast, but were also consistent in quality.

Today, the Firm is able to offer more competitive proposals for its volume matters, which in turn allows it to obtain additional work from national clients.

Challenge

  • Downward price pressure in high-volume, lower-exposure matters
  • Making Alternative Fee Arrangements more competitive and yet more profitable
  • Differentiate from competitors during marketing pitches
  • Lack of work product consistency from associates/paralegals

Solution

  • Integrate LegalMation into volume litigation matters in the Firm’s busiest offices

Results

  • Up to 80% time savings on key litigation tasks
  • Higher profit margins on volume matters, particularly those on AFAs
  • More distinctive marketing
  • Higher levels of associate satisfaction

SMALL LAW Firm Case Study

A high-caliber general litigation boutique reduced paralegal and associate time and money expended on key early litigation tasks by 75%+

A general litigation boutique with around 40 attorneys needed to cut costs in order to stay competitive in a very crowded local market and also sought to minimize reliance on support staff.

Using LegalMation’s platform, the boutique law firm was able to reduce the attorney (and paralegal) time spent preparing answers, initial discovery (requests for production and interrogatories), and discovery responses, including objections, from several hours per matter, to less than 1 hour (including review time by a supervising attorney). The boutique firm tested LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool and Discovery Analysis tool across multiple practice areas and concluded that the resulting draft documents were not only produced incredibly fast but also with consistency and quality similar to its own junior attorneys and paralegals. In particular, the boutique law frim, which did not have the luxury of a large support staff, found LegalMation’s Discovery Request tool particularly helpful in dealing with burdensome discovery requests served on its clients.

Today, the boutique law firm is able to offer more competitive proposals for its matters and through the efficiency gained by LegalMation’s platform compete against national law firms with more resources.

Challenge

  • Downward price pressure due to a crowded local market
  • Limited associate/paralegal resources to handle routine drafting tasks
  • Compete against national law firms with more resources
  • Differentiate from competitors during marketing pitches
  • Lack of work product consistency from associates/paralegals

Solution

  • Deploy LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool to generate initial draft responsive pleadings, and the Discovery Analysis tool to quickly generate shells and responsive objections throughout the life of a case

Results

  • 70-85% time savings on key litigation tasks
  • Higher profit margins on volume matters, particularly those on AFAs
  • More distinctive marketing
  • Higher levels of associate satisfaction
  • Reduced staff overtime
 

Success Story

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James M. Lee
Co-Founder & CEO

James M. Lee is co-founder and CEO of LegalMation. He is a founding partner of LTL Attorneys LLP, a nationally recognized litigation boutique. As an experienced litigator, he has tried numerous cases in federal and state courts. He has been recognized as a top business litigator by various legal publications including the National Law Journal. James has served as lead counsel to a number of Fortune and multinational clients including Wal-Mart, Thomson Reuters, Symantec, and VIZIO. He was formerly associated with litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel before co-founding LTL Attorneys. He is a frequent and noted speaker and commentator in the field of AI and innovations in the field of law. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, and his B.S. from the University of Southern California. At LegalMation, James serves as the key driver of the Company’s vision and strategy.

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Insurance COMPANY Case Study

A national insurance carrier achieves significant savings on its high-volume, low exposure litigation matters through its adoption of LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool

A national insurance carrier with significant litigation volume across the country for its insureds, was searching for technology, tools, and processes to increase efficiency on its litigation matters to lower its litigation costs. This national insurance carrier partnered with LegalMation to identify an area of litigation where LegalMation could have a significant and immediate impact and decided to deploy LegalMation’s Complaint Analysis tool for all of its third-party motor vehicle tort litigation.

LegalMation worked closely with the national insurance carrier to customize the output from its platform to generate documents that mirrored the current output of the national insurance carrier’s attorneys and paralegals.  LegalMation was able to automate the creation of an answer, requests for production of documents, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and deposition notices, all tailored to the facts and allegations of each complaint and almost indistinguishable from those manually created by the insurance company’s attorneys and paralegals.  LegalMation was able to generate this output in 2-3 minutes—a significant time savings over the insurance company’s prior practice for generating this output.

Following a pilot program consisting of processing all of its complaints for a single jurisdiction through LegalMation, the national insurance company made LegalMation an integral part of its workflow for all jurisdictions where LegalMation currently operates. In these jurisdictions, when a new motor vehicle-related lawsuit is served on the insurance company or its insureds, the assigned counsel or paralegal runs the complaint through the LegalMation Complaint Analysis tool, downloads the initial outputs, which are then reviewed by the attorney or paralegal and finalized, all within a few minutes.

Challenge

  • Increasing budgetary pressure to lower legal spend on defense of insureds
  • Obtain more value from staff counsel
  • Reduce legal secretary/paralegal overtime

Solution

  • Deploy LegalMation internally so staff/captive counsel can generate initial response draft documents in minutes

Results

  • Up to 80% time savings on key litigation tasks
  • Reallocation of staff/captive counsel time away from process/volume work to higher value strategic tasks
  • Increased consistency and quality in work product

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