Artificial Intelligence

  • Surveys of in-house legal departments recently released by CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) and Altman Weil underscore the threat that alternative legal service providers (ALSPs, e.g., Axiom and Elevate) pose to traditional law firms. AI permeates the world of ALSPs and its influence is growing.


  • Above the Law is very excited about the idea of Push Research, legal research that isn’t just reactive to your requests, but that anticipates what your legal research needs will be. This is a fascinating discussion of the topic, concluding with:

“Within the next few years, it will feel just as natural to have our technology sharing information with us before we type in a search term. Just as PageRank transformed the way we access information, it’s difficult to overstate how transformative Push Research will be, especially for the legal profession. Law firms leveraging this technology will be able to, for the first time, truly do more with less, and provide their clients with the highest-efficiency, highest-quality representation.”


  • In this thought piece (“I, ROBOT LAWYER: artificial intelligence v Keystone Lawyer”), Lyndsay Gough of the UK’s Keystone Law discusses the future of AI and law. At least in the short term, she’s not too worried.


  • In this podcast, Jones Day partner Bob Kantner interviews Romelia Flores, IBM Master Inventor, and Dave Copps, CEO of Cyxtera’s Brainspace division “to talk about the current state of artificial intelligence and explain what’s coming next for this rapidly advancing technology.”


  • DLA Piper weighs in on “How to gather snowflakes: big data, AI and predictive analysis of customers.” The post gets into such issues as “who owns the data” and why you should think carefully about using customer data even when it’s permissible. (And then there’s the looming GDPR.)


  • With support from Microsoft, Google, NYU, the NAACP, among others, the “AI Now Institute,” was announced yesterday. It’s “a research organization to explore how AI is affecting society at large.” … “AI Now will be cross-disciplinary, bridging the gap between data scientists, lawyers, sociologists, and economists studying the implementation of artificial intelligence.” Guided in part on this report. the institute will initially hire almost 100 researchers.AI Now will focus on four major themes:
  1. Bias and inclusion (how can bad data disadvantage people)
  2. Labor and automation (who doesn’t get hired when AI chooses)
  3. Rights and liberties (how does government use of AI impact the way it interacts with citizens)
  4. Safety and critical infrastructure (how can we make sure healthcare decisions are made safely and without bias)


  • This review of Google’s Pixel Buds in-ear translation reports that while the initial press release wasn’t exactly false, the practical functionality is much less than one might hope. This one too.


  • Here’s a “Complete List of Chatbot, AI & Data Science Conferences in 2017” and 2018.

Y’all come! I’m be speaking on my home turf, the southeast, at LMA luncheons in Richmond (today), Nashville (Thursday) and Atlanta (Friday) this week. As always, I’ll present the latest in AI generally, and especially as related to the legal industry.


  • AI is not just for huge, IT-savvy entities anymore. Many are now providing “Artificial Intelligence as a Service” (AIaaS). This makes entry affordable for just about anyone, including law firms outside the Big Law ranks.


  • But back in the world of the huge, PwC, EY and Deloitte are making serious use of AI in ways relevant to law. These include: natural language processing (NLP), anomaly detection and report writing. All “better, faster, cheaper.” Speaking of EY, here’s more from Artificial Lawyer about their AI strategy.


  • Seal Software is grabbing a large slice of the healthcare world’s need for contract AI through a strategic partnership with TractManager Inc. (MediTract). “One quarter of all US hospitals use Meditract for compliant contract management.”


  • ALM reports that “Large law firms should learn from the growth of alternative legal service providers, according to a new survey by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium.” (This story requires subscription.)


  • Speaking of subscriptions, why in the world would Holland & Knight limit demonstration of their AI expertise with a story like this (“AI in Discovery: The Future Is Now”) by putting it behind a subscription barrier?



  • Artificial Lawyer reports that “Global law firm Allen & Overy’s online subscription business, aosphere, has unveiled a new range of legal and RegTech apps built using the platform of expert systems pioneer, Neota Logic.”


  • Here’s a clever marketing ploy: promote the new generation of AI-enabled phones, not as “smart phones,” but as “intelligent phones.”


  • There have been several stories in the last few days about AI systems, including necessary data, getting compact enough to put on a mobile device without direct/continuous Internet access. Here’s one such report. And another.
  • This article from the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology (Regulating Artificial Intelligence Systems: Risks, Challenges, Competencies, and Strategies by Matthew U. Scherer of Littler Mendelson), is a bit long and complex, but it is the most thorough treatment of the issue (regulating AI) I have seen.


  • In Darwin, Australia, Ailira (Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant) is the latest development in A2J providers. “It can help clients with consumer legal advice from wills to business structuring and asset protection, as well as tax professionals for tax law research. With a few clicks of a button, a client can enter their details and will then be asked a few simple questions by Ailira, before the robot generates a fully certified will.” Cool.


  • Canada’s Stikeman Elliott has engaged iManage for work product management.


  • “As if the mere phrase “killer robots” weren’t scary enough, AI researchers and policy advocates have put together this 7-minute video that combines present-tense AI and drone technologies with future-tense nightmares.”


  • From the NYT, “5 Technologies that will Rock your World,” and they’re all AI-related.


  • Here’s a thorough update on AI surveillance systems ending with the admonition, “the use of AI systems in criminal justice calls for scrutiny to ensure legal safeguards, transparency and procedural rights.”
  • DoNotPay and other Access to Justice (A2J) initiatives certainly bear watching, not only as A2J gateways, but as threats to traditional law firms. Here’s a good update on DoNotPay after its latest cash infusion. From the founder, “Divorce, immigration, small claims, property tax and more corporate takedowns are on their way, and perhaps the last app that everyone downloads is the one that solves all of their problems for free.”


  • Here are some interesting thoughts on the future of the business of law from Ron Friedmann, one of the leading thinkers in our industry. Regarding change, Ron believes it will be “deep,” but it’s coming slowly.


  • Legal AI is coming to Mexico. Artificial Lawyer reports that “… Mexican legal tech start-up Laboralisto is building a case management platform for employment disputes that will eventually provide the data for case prediction capabilities.”


  • I have not read Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark, but this review by my friend and legal marketer, Jonathan Groner, suggests that I should. Jonathan comments, “This is the book to read to understand what artificial intelligence is – how, in Tegmark’s words, matter can turn intelligent. It’s not the book to read to understand all the vast implications of AI for the law. But Tegmark does provide some challenging insights on legal matters.”


  • Want to convince your clients that you “get it” regarding AI and related technologies? Follow Norton Rose’s lead with this. (By the way, there’s actual useful content!)


  • Again, with AI, it’s all about the data. A restatement and explanation of that refrain here.
  • Spanish law firm Garrigues announced a Spanish-speaking artificially intelligent “robot” called “Proces@,” a tool capable of indexing and analysing the documents from courts or clients in almost any format (audio, video, text images, electronic documents, etc.).


  • Legal Marketers in particular should check out this post about AI CRM leader Salesforce (myEinstein) and relevant developments re the GDPR, and many other leading players.



  • Also from Artificial Lawyer, “A new cryptocurrency exchange, Cobinhood, is to offer legal review and underwriting for the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) it provides to investors, in what it says will make it the ‘crypto Goldman Sachs‘ of the ICO ecosystem.”


  • Remember “Google Glass” (shown here) and Pokemon Go? In a slightly related move, the same Apple team that developed the augmented reality (AR) functionality of iPhone X is developing an AR headset. Bloomberg thinks this is important, and it may be introduced around 2020.


  • It’s Friday, so here’s an interesting thought piece by Katharine Dempsey from The Nation titled, “Democracy Needs a Reboot for the Age of Artificial Intelligence.” “Educating the public on the impacts of AI is an important challenge. … The objective must be to create wide-ranging interest and at least a basic orientation of the societal, ethical, and economic effects of artificial intelligence.”
  • eDiscovery for audio and video files: “The MCS Group is one of the latest companies to partner with Veritone to revolutionize the legal industry by adopting its innovative and unique AI-based processing and search technology to afford a secure, scalable and cost-effective platform for enriching and managing audio and video data in litigation discovery and compliance processes.”


  • Is AI Sci-Fi? Some folks I talk with still believe AI is something in the future — maybe. A good example of how it’s here, now, is autonomous vehicles. The Tesla 3 is a radical revolution in driver (user) interface. It’s all about the passenger (not driver) experience. Meanwhile Uber has self-driving vehicles on the road, and Waymo’s vehicles are driving around Phoenix with no one in the driver’s seat, no one, now.


  • More automotive AI news: “As part of the tie-up between the two firms, Google will provide VW with access to devices that process information by using the principals of quantum mechanics. Before reaching an agreement with Google, Volkswagen used quantum computing in March to optimize traffic for 10,000 taxis in Beijing.”


  • “The Digital Finance Institute, a leading think tank in financial innovation and technology, is holding the AI World Forum conference on artificial intelligence and machine learning in Toronto from November 27-28, 2017. Details here.
  • This may be a clickbait title: “Is the NZ lawyer of the future a robot?” but the article is an interesting discussion of who will make a good lawyer in the future and how they should be trained.


  • The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in 197 days. It will have major impact on AI’s training data (among many other things). Orrick has a cool “EU GDPR Readiness Assessment Tool” to help companies prepare. (HT to @HelenaLawrence for the link.)


  • Meanwhile, as the EU is taking extraordinary steps to protect individuals’ privacy, China has deployed 20 million cameras in public places and “… in the name of public safety, the Chinese government will have cameras everywhere in every single corner that can track movements, objects and people so it can build huge database analytics to train artificial intelligence….”


  • WHAT?? To protect your privacy, Facebook suggests that you upload nude pictures of yourself. No, really, our world is getting that strange. Details here.


  • One last note about AI protecting you, On the Move Systems (OMVS) subsidiary Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD) announces “first security guard Robot deployment.”


  • This excellent piece by McKinsey echoes a couple of my favorite admonitions (e.g., don’t start by trying to fit in a way to use AI, instead start by inventorying your strategic challenges and decide whether AI might help address one or two). It’s a good primer on how an why to use AI in a commercial enterprise.


  • Bryan Cave continues to show it ‘gets it‘ regarding all this future tech stuff: “Bryan Cave Chief Innovation Officer Katie DeBord will join a panel presentation at the Forum on Legal Evolution, an invitation-only group comprised of legal innovators and early adopters, organized around a shared interest in the changing legal market.”


  • Joe Lynyak, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney, will be moderating a panel titled “Artificial Intelligence and Bank Enforcement: A Sword or a Shield?” at the Fourth Annual Federal Enforcement Forum on December 6.


  • During my presentation in DC yesterday, some of the more interesting discussion centered on AI measuring and tracking emotion, also known as “sentiment analysis,” an important aspect of any brand, including a law firm’s. Here’s a good overview of the field.


  • Legal Marketers: This is an interesting study of consumer customer loyalty, but it is relevant to law firm clients. Consider, for instance, these four loyalty determinants (they sound about right to me):

Does the experience adapt to my individual needs? Is it predictive?

Is the service available when and where I want? Is it prevalent?

Does the vendor help me to filter choice?

Does the experience delight me? Is it differentiated?


  • Finally, a few bits of news regarding the future and the whole ‘end-of-the-world’ kerfuffle.
    • AI robot and Saudi citizen Sophia says she really didn’t mean it when she threatened to “kill all humans.”
    • And, not to worry, this prognostication says all will be fine in about 30 years, as we’ll be loving life and working four-hour days.
    • In fact, thanks to AI, in only 10-20 years air travel will once again be the joy of ‘jet-setting.’
    • This article from Wharton quotes several of the best AI thinkers and suggests that while a household helper like the Jetsons’ Rosie is quite a way off, a bit of progress may appear in time for this year’s Christmas shopping. (There’s also a lot of good serious thinking in the piece and in this one.)
    • But Stephen Hawking is back in the news warning that we’d better get ready for The Singularity: “Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it.”
    • And Ray Kurzweil, one of the seminal thinkers on the subject, still believes that “intelligent machines will enhance humans, not replace us.”
    • Meanwhile, this survey by Sage reports that 43% of Americans “have no idea what AI is all about.” (My guess is that the actual number is quite a bit higher.)
  • Read this. HT to Michael O’Horo for the link to this HBR article by Michael Porter and James E. Heppelmann. Augmented reality is an important innovation that will have (and is having) major impact on many industries. I wouldn’t rate its importance as comparable to AI, nanotechnology, Blockchain or genetic engineering, but it’s important. Now back to AI.


  • Technology and talent retention have been identified as two of the main challenges facing law firms, according to research from professional services firm Smith & Williamson – findings which are backed up by new Law Society data that suggests the profession could lose up to 20% of jobs as a result of new technology. Law firms’ favorite approach to any business challenge (“wait and see what happens”) probably isn’t the optimal way to deal with these challenges.


  • OCBC’s chatbot ‘Emma‘ (available on desktops, laptops and smart mobile devices) has helped customers sign S$70m in home loans.


  • Earlier this year, AI-driven CRM leader Salesforce introduced its Einstein AI technology. Now it’s adding more high tech capabilities through a new product called myEinstein. I would take a hard look at Salesforce before implementing any new CRM. (More details here.)


  • I’ve been urging law firms to launch AI “industry teams” for a while now. Here, the vice-chairman of Nasdaq lends credibility to the idea.


  • And here are a couple of law firms already practicing in the AI space:

Foley Hoag has represented Body Labs in its acquisition by Amazon. Body Labs “offers artificial intelligence that uses body data and computer vision to scan 3D human motion and shape.”

Jackson Walker’s Chris Rourk comments on “Patent Eligibility in Asia IP.”

Bryan Cave’s Denver associate Ivan London will present Nov. 15 on artificial intelligence in legal services in their Denver office.

And I’ll wager some law firms have been involved in this: “Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Deals in the Energy Sector Are Up Tenfold in 2017.”


  • This press release may set a new benchmark for the most jargon per sentence, but here’s the deal:  IPsoft (remember the bot “Amelia?”) has launched a platform called, 1Desk™ which “will draw on a digital labor pool of cognitive agents, virtual engineers and virtual administrators to automate entire end-to-end processes, from HR and IT, to Finance and Administration.”  If you’re thinking of using AI to automate processes/workflows, it’s is probably worth a look.


  • In previous posts I’ve mentioned that one of the necessary steps in reaching The Singularity is AI creating/programming more AI without human intervention. Some of the major AI players are making progress in that direction. More here.


  • More than a hundred experts in artificial intelligence have signed an open letter calling on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to push for a worldwide ban on autonomous lethal weapons. Nice idea, but once one country (or bad actor) goes there, everyone will be forced to follow.


  • A bit more on countries and cities committing to being AI leaders: China (again) and Montreal (agIan).
  • “Keoghs has launched what it calls the “first true” AI insurance lawyer. … “Lauri,” will initially handle avoidable litigation cases. Keoghs says that this will provide insurers with transformative speed and ease of service while handing the power back to handlers and reducing cost in the process.” Much more here.


  • Here’s one reporter’s take on some of the AI sessions at the Future’s Conference. These are all about AI and the practice of law. The editor refers to the story thusly, “(i)t’s basically Artificial Intelligence for (Lawyer) Dummies.”


  • According to Finnegan Henderson, “WIPO’s (World Intellectual Property Organization) artificial intelligence-based translation tool for patent documents is now available in ten languages. The technology is able to translate all patent documents in one of the official languages of the PCT (Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese) into English and vice-versa. A link can be found here.


  • According to Artificial Lawyer, AI A2J innovator DoNotPay “has just gained $1.1 million in seed funding from … Andreessen Horowitz.”


  • More news re Robot Lawyer LISA. This time expanding into A2J.


  • Another player in the financial regulatory compliance space: “Financial regulatory compliance consulting firm Zurik announces the launch of Zurik Terminal, an artificial intelligence powered regulatory compliance platform offering subscription based regulatory data intelligence for global financial institutions.”


  • This is a very interesting post about separating the real from the BS re legal AI, and it finally gets into a very interesting discussion of “… LTC4 … the Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition, …a non-profit organization, that has established legal technology core competencies and certification that all law firms can use to measure ongoing efficiency improvements.” (Note: “3 Geeks and a Law Blog” is always worth reading.)


  • Another case of AI being granted citizenship. This time in Japan. Details here.


  • Financial Buzz: “Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security Market to Reach $18.2 Billion by 2023.”



  • One of the unfortunate unforeseen consequences of AI will be safer autonomous vehicles causing a decline in the number of organs available for transplant. The good news in that organs grown in vitro are likely to fill much of the need.


  • Estonia-based Blockchain company Neuromation‘s “explicit goal (is) to democratize AI.” This interview with their chief scientist distinguishes them from other related players and lays out their implementation plans through 2020. Neuromation calls itself “Distributed Synthetic Data Platform for Deep Learning Applications (where androids dream of electric sheep).”


  • Here’s more evidence that China is credibly determined to be the world leader in AI.


  • Here’s Ray Kurzweil’s keynote remarks at Council on Foreign Relations meeting. (An hour-long video with a lot of Q&A.)
  • This is a very thoughtful and balanced piece by Scott D. Bailey, of Squire Patton Boggs re the implementation of AI in law firms.



  • From Artificial Lawyer, this is the history of one of the players in the AI contracts world, Eigen Technologies.


  • ICYMI –> A good summary of several of the programs at last week’s AI-focused College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference.

And from Kira, here are “7 Articles to Help You Understand How AI Can Transform Your Legal Practice.”


  • Another good example of Osborne Clarke demonstrating its AI expertise: “Can copyright survive artificial intelligence?”


  • The Guardian warns that AI regulation is needed, especially regarding health care.


  • Retail/consumer-facing companies are a great source of AI best practices. Coca-Cola, for instance. Greg Chambers, global director of digital innovation has said “AI is the foundation for everything we do. We create intelligent experiences. AI is the kernel that powers that experience.” (It’s relevant even if you firm doesn’t have Coke’s 105 million Facebook fans and 35 million Twitter followers.)


  • AI-related financing/investments:

India-based AXISCADES will set up its North American headquarters in Indiana, investing $10 million and creating 500 engineering jobs by 2023. The “innovation centre will focus on new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and is expected to create a total of 2000 jobs for American workers by 2021.

Singapore is set to invest even more – over and above S$150 million – into AI under its Infocomm and Media Industry Transformation Map.

Ernst & Young announced yesterday a new lease agreement for 600,000 square feet at One Manhattan West, the 67-story, 2.1-million square foot office tower under construction on Manhattan’s west side. The office will focus on areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics process automation, blockchain, data analytics, digital, customer experience and cyber security.

Startups are said to have reached “unicorn” status when they have achieved $1 billion-plus in financing. Hong Kong AI company SenseTime Group has blown past that milestone at $1.5 billion, and they’re getting ready for their next round of financing by the end of the year. “The company has filed approximately 500 patents for its AI research that is applied for facial recognition, identity verification and smart city systems.”


  • Yesterday I posted that China is determined to lead the world in AI military within the next decade or so. Alphabet Exec Chairman Eric Schmidt and former US Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work agree that this is likely. “Our Artificial Intelligence ‘Sputnik Moment’ Is Now”


  • Stephen Hawking is again warning about AI: “I fear that AI may replace humans altogether,” as it will “improve and replicate itself” until it becomes a “new form of life that outperforms humans.”

But at least in the near term, Rob Kapito co-founder and president of asset management giant BlackRock believes “artificial intelligence will never fully replace humans in the investment world.” He expects collaboration/augmentation.


  • It’s Friday, so here’s a very good thought piece from my favorite publication, Scientific American. The Falling Walls Conference is an annual, global gathering of forward thinking individuals from 80 countries organized by the Falling Walls Foundation. Each year, on November 9—the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—20 of the world’s leading scientists are invited to Berlin to present their current breakthrough research. The aim of the conference is to address two questions: Which will be the next walls to fall? And how will that change our lives? The author of this essay is speaking at this year’s Falling Walls gathering. The Past, Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence.