The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that in the next few decades, half of the work performed by humans today will be executed by “robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.” Recognizing that “machines match or outperform human performance in a range of work activities, including ones requiring cognitive capabilities,” the McKinsey report projects how increased automation will impact a variety of global industries.
For the legal industry, exactly how technological innovation will transform the workplace is subject to much debate. What is beyond question, however, is the growing trend of law firms investing significant resources to advance the integration of innovative technologies and methodologies across their practice groups. These law firm leaders of legal technology are not only differentiating themselves by driving innovation, but also developing the legal services model of the future. This article looks at three firms at the vanguard of the tech movement to identify cutting-edge service trends and how they provide value to both the firms and their clients.
The Rising Tide of Data
To appreciate the importance of tech innovation in the practice of law, one must understand the staggering volumes of data (i.e., electronic documents) that businesses generate today. The Coordinator of Corporate Litigation for ExxonMobil reported that the company’s employees generate 5.2 million emails every single day. While significant, that number only represents emails and was reported over a decade ago (in 2005). With increased connectivity and the spread of smart phones, companies today generate exponentially greater volumes of emails, text messages, IMs, chats and social media postings than ever before. In fact, more data has been created over the last few years than in the entire prior history of the human race.
Most business verticals respond to exploding data volumes by trying to identify the best way to extract actionable operational intelligence from their growing data ecosystem. For the legal sector, however, inflated data volumes present a different challenge. Legal advice is only as good as the information upon which it is based, so in order for information to be useful, it must be accurate, up-to-date and complete (“garbage in, garbage out,” as a colleague likes to say). Thus, the modern lawyer must be prepared to sort through its client’s voluminous digital infrastructure to find the proverbial needle(s) in the haystack in order to provide reliable and accurate legal advice based on the best information available.
Whether conducting due diligence for a M&A transaction or responding to a Civil Investigative Demand issued by the Department of Justice, the present-day lawyer must wrestle with this challenge and strike the appropriate balance between speed and thoroughness...
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