Save the Lawyer: AI technology accelerates and augments legal work

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Law firms are under tremendous pressure to innovate to provide better value to their clients, who demand more value for their legal dollars. Providing higher-value services in turn boosts firms’ competitiveness.

(Originally published by IBM Client Success Field Notes Blog.)

However, much of the day-to-day work of any legal office – whether it’s in-house counsel, a boutique firm or one of the largest legal power houses – is the tedious, repetitive work of reading and preparing answers to complaints. Larger firms may have armies of junior associates do much of this necessary but mundane case-preparation work. At smaller firms, partners and senior associates are often involved in all stages of litigation. Preparing responses is time-consuming. It can take several hours to a full day to complete. Those are hours that both attorneys and firms would prefer to use tackling more strategic legal work.

We asked ourselves, what if, instead of taking hours, those high-volume, repetitive tasks could take a couple of minutes?

The legal profession: ripe for disruption

At LegalMation, we envision a future where every legal professional can provide more value, in less time and with powerful outcomes for their firm and clients – thanks to help from artificial intelligence. As owners of a small legal firm, we already knew that technology can be the great equalizer between small firms with only a few employees and large ones with deep pockets and more resources. We also had a feeling that (AI) could not only further alter that playing field—it could turn the industry on its head to everyone’s benefit.

We decided to explore these ideas by teaming with AI technology leader IBM. AI and machine learning are perfectly suited for high-volume, repetitive processing tasks such as drafting responses and completing initial discovery requests, which typically take six to eight hours or more to complete.

AI accelerates value-creation for legal professionals

Tapping the power of IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding, which can quickly comprehend and analyze structured and unstructured information in legal documents, we created the LegalMation AI solution for the legal profession. Augmented by our own neural network, Legalmation uses simple drag-and-drop functionality to create early-phase response documentation to draft responses to claims in just two minutes, letting attorneys spend more time on work that adds value to client relationships.

Because the legal industry has its own jargon, its own vernacular, all the big data processing and natural language processing in the world will ultimately fail if the AI solution doesn’t understand legalese. Watson Knowledge Studio allowed our legal subject matter experts to teach Watson the language of the legal profession with no coding required. We then uploaded thousands of lawsuit complaints and responses and taught Watson to analyze, understand and draw upon relationships and concepts to formulate early-phase documentation. We’ve done the heavy lifting so that anyone from in-house counsel to the largest firms can harness the power of AI in their practices.

Creating legal documentation at jaw-dropping speed

We’re rolling out our LegalMation solution, and it’s a big hit so far. It quite literally creates a jaw-dropping effect when users see that a day’s work can take less than two minutes. This speed translates into cost savings – up to 80 percent when compared with the typical cost of creating this documentation. And our consistency and accuracy are on par or even better than what an associate can produce.

Faster results, lower costs and improved accuracy provide significant benefits to companies that pay for outside counsel. Recently, Walmart licensed our product to draft responses and initial discovery requests for employment and slip-and-fall suits filed in California, with plans to expand it into all 50 states. We’re able to work with giants like Walmart to extend the scope and reach of the Legalmation solution thanks to our membership in the select IBM With Watson™ program, which gives us exclusive and fast access to select Watson technology experts at IBM.

AI disruption – boosting firms, and attorneys, to the top of the profession

Automating one of the legal field’s more tedious, time-consuming assignments has enormous transformational potential for individual firms. It also comes with entirely new ways of thinking about revenue and value within the entire industry. While legal firms compete on the value they provide to clients, they also rely on a range of traditional revenue streams and services. What we’ve done with the Legalmation solution is turn some of those traditional revenue streams on their head.

Legalmation makes it so much simpler and cost-effective to respond to briefs, that firms are now faced with the challenge – and opportunity – of redirecting their junior resources away from one workstream to others that deliver greater value to clients. Furthermore, because firms also compete for the best talent coming out of top-tier law schools, implementing AI tools that reduce the repetitive work traditionally given to new graduates will make firms more attractive to the best, new legal talent. As they adopt the Legalmation solution, some firms may fear a loss of billable time. However, with associates at all levels concentrating on more complex, higher-value work and leaving the repetitive, data-intensive work to AI, firms can also take on more work, and thus increase revenue, without unduly overburdening their staff.

We believe AI is the greatest technology disruptor the legal field has seen. The firms that adopt it are going to rise to the top of a very crowded field of professional legal options. Ultimately, firms that don’t embrace tools like this to become more efficient and cost-effective are not going to be around for very long.

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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..

LegalMation distinguishes itself from other Artificial Intelligence products in several key aspects.:

  • LegalMation is the first Artificial Intelligence company to focus solely on using AI to automate and enhance litigation tasks.
  • LegalMation uses cutting-edge AI to power its platform and, unlike some other legal tech platforms, LegalMation requires no human involvement to generate its output.
  • LegalMation is not a template generator, form-filler, or other Q&A-driven tool. Rather, our A.I. solutions generate actual work product--caliber drafts of legal documents comparable to that of an attorney or legal professional that only require minor editing and basic review before filing/serving. Drafting these documents from scratch often takes an associate attorney or paralegal an entire day, but our products can produce comparable high-quality drafts in mere minutes.
  • LegalMation’s solutions are ready to use out-of-the-box. You can be up and running on our platform in a matter of minutes.
  • LegalMation’s solutions are fully customizable to your needs. LegalMation can customize the style, content, and strategy behind how its output is created to mirror your current output.
  • LegalMation’s solutions are easy to use and require no computer knowledge besides how to use a mouse and keyboard. Our products are browser-based; there is nothing to download or install. The interface is simple and clean, and designed to be accessible to even the least tech-savvy. As a result, the adoption cost for integrating LegalMation to an existing organization's workflow is very, very low.

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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John Smith,
Company Name
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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