Machine learning to speed up document analysis - boost to litigation
In the 1990s, Professor Richard Susskind anticipated the rise of the “legal knowledge worker” whose skills lean towards IT rather than law. As outlandish as that sounded at the time this trend is certainly bedding in as City firms such as CMS use data visualisation technology to speed up document analysis.
Advanced machine learning and visualisation allows firms to swiftly identify themes and word patterns and review the scale of and relationships between documents as well as the people communicating those concepts.
As law firms feel compelled to become more streamlined in the face of competitive pressures, proponents of tech advancements see the benefits of lawyers being able to focus more on income-producing strategic tasks rather than poring over the law.
Litigation in particular looks set to benefit from tech adoption as CMS employs machine learning software ‘Brainspace’ to “dramatically accelerate data analysis and review in litigation, arbitration and investigations”, the firm predicts.
Such big technological investment is being delivered for its impending merger with Nabarro and Olswang in May 2017 which will catapult CMS into the £1bn revenue bracket to become the world’s sixth largest law firm by employee numbers.
Other magic circle firms are also investing in technology with Slaughter and May piloting Cambridge-based Luminance software that has been developed to “think like a lawyer” for due diligence matters. Reed Smith has also stated its intention to make greater use of enhanced automation for transactional work following a well-received pilot in its London office.
To suggest that technology is a disrupter is an understatement and no longer the stuff of science fiction. Though the legal world has historically been slow on the uptake restricted by its conservative culture and reverence for paper, the large City firms with their large budgets, are beginning to use technology (whether strictly AI or simply smart tech) as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors and staying several steps ahead in the eyes of global clients.
Technological advances in the legal world enhance the way we work, but also the way services are delivered to those clients. We should take a leaf out of the book of corporate business and stay agile in tough market conditions.