IBM has come up with “Outside Counsel Insights,” a new way for Watson Legal, its specialized cognitive computing system, to benefit clients’ bottom lines. This tool can save up to 30 percent on annual spending for outside counsel, according to an article published by Law.com.
So far it’s been embraced only by legal departments in the financial services industry, according to the article. Don’t count on that exclusivity lasting.
What lawyer with business to distribute wouldn’t welcome very specific feedback on how much time an outside counsel spends completing a task, or how the lawyer prioritizes each phase of the work?
With such information handy, a fixed fee practically sets itself.
The technology could even help strategize. For example, Watson’s OCI can recall which motions worked with which judges. It can remind an interested observer how a lawyer scored on cross-examination—even if the cross-examiner would much rather forget.
Watson OCI can be a wonderful addition to a law firm’s toolbox. One size doesn’t fit all, so it may not apply to every client. But some certainly will benefit from it. While a traditional client might be reticent to try something like this, think of a savvy millennial entrepreneur. That client might well hire a mid-size firm or a boutique that not only has the best specialist for the job, but keeps up with technology usually associated only with Big Law.
A smaller law firm can only enhance its competitive advantage by availing itself of tools once thought cost-prohibitive and out of reach. Over time, as the market has developed artificial intelligence, it has become more affordable. Now everyone has a genuine shot at using AI to grow and to run a profitable business.
By giving the client the ability to see the steps and the amount of time it takes a lawyer to carry out a task, you’re educating your target audience. If the client hasn’t performed a task herself, it’s hard for him or her to guess how long it should take.
Importantly, the process delineates the case’s roadmap. It provides a 360-degree view of the lawyer’s theory of the case and why the task was addressed from one perspective and not from another.
This can foster long-term relationships because you’re able to build trust based on your expertise, which you’ve laid out for the client to see.
It’s all about creative thinking. We all want the secret sauce, when in fact there is no secret sauce. The real secret is hard work. So if the client sees a lawyer exploring different scenarios before settling on one, the client begins to trust the process and understand tactics that may at first seem eccentric or “out there.”
Watson OCI should not only be understood and accepted, but appreciated for all it can do. Some lawyers might be put off by the idea of measuring metrics without applying a human factor, but that’s a phantom fear. The technology can’t operate effectively without human intercession and oversight.
You always have the ability to say to a client, “I, the empathetic, passionate and zealous litigator, will represent you and Watson will parse out the matter at hand.” That’s a winning combo.
The advantage is obvious to the client, who gets the personal touch and nuance that only a human being can deliver, with the backing of a proven tool that can distill every figure, byte and word.
There will still be omissions that a machine would not pick up but a lawyer can and will. That’s the power of the human touch that can only be enhanced by a robot—not replaced by one. This should be every lawyer’s mantra: Keep up or become obsolete. Offer your clients customized solutions or they’ll look elsewhere to find them.
For more on Watson OCI click here.
IBM has come up with “Outside Counsel Insights,” a new way for Watson Legal, its specialized cognitive computing system, to benefit clients’ bottom lines. This tool can save up to 30 percent on annual spending for outside counsel, according to an article published by Law.com. So far it’s been embraced only by legal departments in […]
The last U.S. presidential election proves that social media has surpassed traditional media in impact and response. When the Russians sought to influence voting here, they went straight to Facebook and similar outlets to disseminate information. They didn’t take out any ads in The New York Times.
Lawyers, too, are realizing the value of social media. But, the audience lawyers are trying to reach – the general counsels, other potential clients and thoughtful peers – are still capable, unlike the general population that the Russians exploited, of separating real from fake news, like wheat from chaff. They have no problem ignoring the chaff in favor of well-cultivated wheat. More and more, these audiences expect to be fed a steady diet of the good stuff.
Lawyers as Publishers
Knowing this, some lawyers are entering the information superhighway with their blog posts, articles and videos. They’re providing some of the content that feeds social media. Remember, content isn’t self-generating, it has to come from somewhere. Shares of stories and opinion pieces by respected media like The Guardian and The Washington Post fill everybody’s newsfeeds. Without them and many other content-generators of all political stripes, the Internet would be an undisciplined babble of streamed consciousness.
Lawyers who write understand they’re not going to win Pulitzers. Still, they strive for at least contributing to the great, mythical unicorn story, as the one who stands out in a crowd of, uh, bulls.
Proven Methods of Attraction
They have good reason to keep practicing their prose skills. A recent survey, cited by Gina Passarella of The American Lawyer, shows that 91 percent of general counsels hire lawyers based on their articles, blogs and speeches. So, general counsel who used to comb through guidebooks for fresh outside talent, now look to LinkedIn. Instead of price lists and rankings in guidebooks, they now study lawyers’ professional profiles and writings on LinkedIn.
Interestingly, the same survey shows that only 7 percent of lawyers share content on LinkedIn. While approximately 70 percent use it, they don’t seem to appreciate that general counsels are reviewing their credentials and written content.
So, LinkedIn, and Twitter by similar accounts, have become effective tools to expand one’s audience, whether lawyers realize it or not. It stands to reason, then, that any marketing plan that leaves out attorney-bylined pieces is incomplete and likely to fail.
Information flows in many directions. Reporters for traditional media are reading social media to get tips, sources and data they can turn into stories. With everybody looking at everything, a lawyer could start out just writing a blog post and wind up featured in a respected journal. The firm appreciates the result, even more so when the lawyer seeds the cloud that brings a welcome shower of attention.
The opportunity is to go out there and brave the rough seas to expand your core practice area by presenting and writing articles, while seeking independent validation from reputable publications and industry guidebooks.
The last U.S. presidential election proves that social media has surpassed traditional media in impact and response. When the Russians sought to influence voting here, they went straight to Facebook and similar outlets to disseminate information. They didn’t take out any ads in The New York Times. Lawyers, too, are realizing the value of social media. […]