Freshfields joins Clifford Chance and DLA Piper in embracing artificial intelligence software ‘Kira’

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By Thomas Connelly on

AI bandwagon gathers pace


Magic circle outfit Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has become the latest firm to embrace the strange and mysterious world of artificial intelligence (AI), signing a deal with Canadian software provider Kira Systems.

Freshfields — which will join Clifford Chance and DLA Piper in adopting the Kira system full-time — confirmed that after a successful year-long trial, the AI software will now become a permanent feature at its low-cost legal support hub in Manchester.

According to Kira’s owners — one of which is ex-Weil, Gotshal & Manges lawyer Noah Waisberg — she, he, it can quickly analyse contracts and accurately identify any potential legal sticking points. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the super-paralegal of sorts can actually be trained by Freshfields’ lawyers to meet firm-specific needs.

Commenting on the latest tech development at the firm, Freshfields’ director of legal services and innovation, Isabel Parker, said:

Kira can be configured around our own custom provisions, using our knowledge base, ensuring that it is perfectly tailored to clients’ needs. It complements our own legal expertise, and will further enhance the quality of work delivered to clients while helping to free up the Legal Services Centre team to focus on more complex areas of work.

In July, Clifford Chance — which confirmed last week it will be cutting its trainee intake by 20% — punted for a similar deal.

Revealing that Kira required very little set-up time before getting to work, the magic circle firm said the AI system would help increase all-round efficiency. Global giant DLA Piper also struck a deal with the Canadian firm back in June.

Less than two weeks ago, fellow magic circle firm Slaughter and May announced it too would be embracing AI tech. Opting for a system called Luminance, the creators claim it will “transform the legal due diligence process.”

Finally, Linklaters — the first magic circle firm to adopt the futuristic tech — chose a system called RAVN. Created by an AI specialist based in London, the lawyer-like software can undertake a number of automated tasks.