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 […]
It takes human intelligence to appreciate artificial intelligence, or AI. And you must have genuine smarts to use this futuristic technology effectively.
You’ve probably already read about how some global law firms and other mega-businesses are adapting AI to their needs. What used to seem like pure science fiction is becoming standard operating procedure at a rarefied level.
Bryan Cave is reportedly ahead of the pack in deploying a high-powered dashboard to navigate the rapidly changing financial-regulatory landscape. Australia’s Gilbert & Tobin has filed patent applications for homegrown computer apps that can shrink 20-hour marathons to two-hour tasks. And DLA Piper is said to be on the verge of employing Kira Systems’ machine-learning document review technology. It’s hard to imagine how much they must be spending, especially in start-up costs. But don’t think that only the big guys can afford to research and develop this fantastical stuff or even to acquire and incorporate it into their operations.
Boutique firms are potential AI pioneers. They can leverage AI as a marketing and business tactic that increases efficiency and profitability. Stay open to new ways of thinking and operating by pursuing new skillsets and capabilities. Avail yourself of multiple resources. Why put all of your eggs in one basket? If you recognize the value of fighting against the status quo, you will be able to manage change.
Consider, for example, a personal injury boutique and a tool called TAR (technology-assisted review). Many jurisdictions in the United States and the United Kingdom already approve its use in litigation for electronic disclosure.
TAR can do a lot more, though. It can direct a lawyer to specific pages of medical records for rapid review. It can evaluate medical outcomes to pinpoint statistically unassailable expert opinions. It can read the pleadings and predict the outcome based on previous case results and allowing for litigation risk. Once evidence-gathering is completed, TAR can help effectuate settlements.
Is this something no sane lawyer should encourage for fear of putting herself out of business? Hardly. No computer tool could ever replace a thinking flesh-and-blood human. PI work will always require empathy, trust and interpersonal skills.
Chrissie Lightfoot, a Yorkshire, England-based former lawyer and legal futurist, emphasizes that point as she publicizes, in the December 2016 issue of Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer (page 25), the robot she co-developed called LISA (Legal Intelligence Support Assistant).
Lightfoot (@TheNakedLawyer) is tapping a latent market of small businesses that have avoided legal service providers, scared off by what they believe are excessive fees. LISA can draw up a non-disclosure agreement or work on any number of collaborative tasks. And she never takes a day off. Wow! You no longer have to worry about your best asset walking out the door every night.
“It’s the world’s first truly AI lawyer that helps both sides of a legal matter at the same time,” Lightfoot has said. For more on her work and AI use in law firms, go to:
Looking to secure your position in the marketplace? Explore new technology. Learn to leverage AI as a marketing and business tactic that increases efficiency and profitability. Be authentic. Be bold. Be rich. Clients are in the business of hiring resourceful professionals.
It takes human intelligence to appreciate artificial intelligence, or AI. And you must have genuine smarts to use this futuristic technology effectively. You’ve probably already read about how some global law firms and other mega-businesses are adapting AI to their needs. What used to seem like pure science fiction is becoming standard operating procedure at […]
While you’re busy serving your clients and focusing on the nuts and bolts of practicing law, you may be paying too little attention to taking care of business.
As a result of the digital revolution and a myriad of other factors, your competitors are no longer other law firms, but business-minded service providers, corporate in-house legal departments–even robots.
The legal-services sector is falling behind the pace set by technology and the marketplace. Today’s clients demand legal services that are not only faster and cheaper than ever, but reflect intimate knowledge of the client’s business, Mark Cohen of Clearspire legal consultants recently noted in Forbes magazine. Cohen said these demands have contributed to the proliferation of in-house legal departments and the drop-off in work for outside counsel.
Given the evolution of the legal market, it stands to reason that lawyers and firms that stay flexible and adapt to changing trends will fare better financially than those that cling to brick-and-mortar, traditional approaches.
The better path is for law firms to strategize their own business development the way they develop courtroom strategies for their clients. By articulating a plan that includes a vision, a mission and core values, they can expose and illuminate their own blind spots.
For example, a law firm might call upon a business strategist to vet, draft and pitch a personalized marketing plan for the potential hire of a lateral partner. Partners are essential to a firm’s growth, but moving too fast or without sufficient reflection and discipline can be disastrous. Also, the new partner must be carefully integrated into the firm’s culture. The strategist can work confidentially and closely with the firm’s existing partners and the potential hire to clarify a unique purpose, defining the values and behaviors that are required to establish the true benefits of a partnership.
Fortunately, the need for lawyers remains strong and is growing for many practices. But only those who pay close attention to their clients’ needs and seek the help of dedicated strategists will thrive in this brave new world.
While you’re busy serving your clients and focusing on the nuts and bolts of practicing law, you may be paying too little attention to taking care of business. As a result of the digital revolution and a myriad of other factors, your competitors are no longer other law firms, but business-minded service providers, corporate in-house […]