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Riverview Law to give in-house counsel ‘virtual assistants’

Will help them to make 'much quicker and better decisions', says Karl Chapman

1 September 2015

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Riverview Law has bought a business that will enable it to create 'virtual assistants' for in-house counsel, it has announced today.

The purchase of CliXLEX for an undisclosed sum forms part of the firm's plans to leverage artificial intelligence in legal services.

The technology covers new instructions, triage, case management, document creation and storage through to alert triggers, workflow creation and forensic audits.

"We were shocked when we saw its potential," Karl Chapman, chief executive of Riverview Law, told Managing Partner.

The cloud-based platform provides corporate counsel with automated case management processes for new instructions, enabling work to be allocated to the right person based on previous behaviours.

"It is learning over time that these are the right people that this should be allocated to", he said, "or it is providing you with the right answers without legal support because it is automating the work".

The customisable platform also automates process-based legal work, with the ability to quickly organise and analyse a large volume of documents.

Chapman gives the example of asking the system to sort hundreds of contracts by the order in which they should be renegotiated.

"It would take lawyers days or weeks to do this, but you can just press a button and have it done in front of you. What you are then doing is determining if that is an effective strategy. So, it is effectively creating a proxy for you to work from," said Chapman.

"What we are giving each lawyer is a virtual assistant. The technology is doing all of the work which historically had been done by numerous people analysing all of the contracts in detail. Suddenly, you press a button and it is done.

"At a very high level, it is actually helping in-house lawyers to make much quicker and better decisions."

The founder and main stakeholder of CliXLEX, Richard Yawn, will serve as a director and chief technology officer of the now-subsidiary business. He is charged with further developing Riverview Law's investments in artificial intelligence, process automation and other technologies.

Developments in artificial intelligence for lawyers

In early August, global law firm Dentons announced that its collaborative innovation platform, NextLaw Labs, would be investing in pre-artificial intelligence for lawyers, powered by IBM's Watson. Dubbed 'ROSS', the legal advisor app is expected to streamline legal research, saving lawyers time and clients money.

Later this month, a global law firm is expected to announce that it is using the cognitive computing services of tech start-up RAVN to automate high-volume legal work.

With adoption of cognitive computing increasing in the legal sector, Chapman believes artificial intelligence will be the norm in law firms by 2020.

Asked how Riverview Law's AI-enabled services will be different from those of IBM's Watson, RAVN or other technology providers, he said: "It's not different in one sense and it is in another."

"So, if you look at all of these technologies, they all approach in a similar way the question of 'how do we make sure that people can make quicker and better decisions?' Which is why they are similar concepts.

"Artificial intelligence platforms - whether IBM's, ours or other people's - have different ways of delivering that… The issue is how do you use it, how do you exploit it and the culture of the organisation?"

He continued: "Where I think we are slightly different is in our domain expertise. If you think about IBM's Watson, that's generic; if you think about Riverview Law, it's specific.

"The big difference with what we're doing is we are remarkably focused on the legal and the risk and compliance marketplace. We bring to the table phenomenal domain expertise as well as technology which is very much focused on these in-house functions - it's very specific.

"We are using technology in a very focused way and our domain expertise comes to bear, that's where our power is."

The news follows Riverview Law's January 2015 announcement that it had formed a knowledge transfer partnership with the University of Liverpool to develop tools to automate in-house legal work.

 

 

 

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