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Demystifying and assessing AI for legal-services delivery

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On June 12, Daniel W. Linna Jr, Professor of Law in Residence and the Director of LegalRnD – The Center for Legal Services Innovation at Michigan State University College of Law, spoke about Artificial Intelligence for legal-services delivery at the first session of the recently launched, LawAhead Hub.

Artificial intelligence holds great promise for improving legal-services delivery. The first step is identifying and assessing these opportunities, which requires an understanding of artificial intelligence technologies and the importance of a disciplined framework for continuous improvement and innovation.

In this first session of the recently launched LawAhead Hub, Daniel W. Linna Jr., LegalRnD Director & Law Professor, explained how Artificial Intelligence can be used to improve legal-services delivery and what is needed in order to innovate and lead change in organizations and law firms. In this context, LawAhead Hub members, experienced lawyers and legal advisors who are leading their respective organizations, had the unique opportunity to exchange ideas, allowing them to expand their mindset, see innovation in a new and different light and think about the framework required to truly embrace AI for legal services delivery.

One of the main aspects discussed by Linna was the importance of creating a disciplined learning organization, where you can fail fast –and learn fast; where  failure is transformed into an opportunity to innovate and go that extra mile.

The idea is to use design thinking when conducting experiments, which helps organizations think about being strategic and know where they are going. You need leadership to empower the organization,” said Linna.

The lecture rounded up with an engaging discussion on the importance of innovation, the application of AI tools inside companies, legal departments and law firms and the different challenges each organization faces.

 

The use of AI for Legal Services Delivery

“AI is being used quite widely for reviewing lots amount of information. For example, for e-discovery and litigation matters or for due diligence and M&A”, explained Linna.

“One mistake that we make is to discount rules based systems, but there is so much that can be accomplished with these systems. We are seeing more done now with large sets of data, not only by recognizing patterns and documents but by using data to predict outcomes and litigation matters, for example”, he said and continued to explain how traditional machine learning is used in more and more areas. “There is enormous potential in the legal space in tasks that haven’t yet been explored.”

“We as lawyers should see this as an opportunity to find more and more ways to provide value to our clients and to society generally”

 

“The biggest threat of not innovating is that we become irrelevant”

According to Linna, the biggest threat of not innovating in the legal sector is that we become irrelevant. “Technologists and other professionals are far in front of lawyers, but we need to understand the issues around technology and to focus on improving the services we deliver to our clients”, he emphasized, and went on to provide some examples of how this is happening in the legal ecosystem.

“For example, if you look at law firms, corporate clients are doing more and more of their work internally, they are automating it, giving it to alternative legal service providers or to legaltech companies. We as lawyers should see this as an opportunity to find more and more ways to provide value to our clients and to society generally. If we don’t embrace change, we are at risk of becoming increasingly irrelevant”.

In this new paradigm, law schools have an obligation to address innovation and the use of technology to improve legal service delivery. “We have an obligation to our students, to prepare them for the future, and we have an obligation to society generally, to provide leadership and to look for ways to innovate; to use data, to use improved processes, design thinking, and to use technology not only to improve the legal services lawyers deliver but also to improve our systems. There are so many complex problems in the world today that instead of grappling with lower level issues that we sometimes find ourselves dealing with, we should find ways to innovate and come up with solutions to those problems so we can focus on providing value”, he concluded.

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