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Slaughter and May becomes latest magic circle firm to embrace artificial intelligence

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New robot-style tech is designed to “think like a lawyer”

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Uber-traditional magic circle outfit Slaughter and May has become the latest firm to put pen to paper on a deal that will see it use artificial intelligence (AI).

The system (or cool robot as Legal Cheek likes to think of it) is called Luminance, and has been created by a team of lawyers and mathematicians.

Thanks to financial backing from Invoke Capital — a technology investment fund — and research and development courtesy of the University of Cambridge, Luminance will, according to its creators, “transform the legal due diligence process.”

Luminance, which appears to be some sort of super legal mind, will be able to read (and understand) hundreds of pages of complex legal documentation every minute. According to Luminance’s CEO, Emily Foges, the AI system will be “trained to think like a lawyer.” Continuing, she said:

With Slaughter and May’s help, we are designing the system to understand how lawyers think, and to draw out key findings without the need to be told what to look for. This will transform document analysis and enhance the entire transaction process for law firms and their clients. Highly-trained lawyers who would otherwise be scanning through thousands of pages of repetitive documents can spend more of their time analysing the findings and negotiating the terms of the deal.

Having piloted the system for a number of months, Slaughters has embraced the futuristic tech, signing a deal with Luminance’s creators. Details regarding the length and terms of the contract are still not clear.

Steve Cooke, senior partner of Slaughter and May, described the firm’s step into the weird world of AI as “an exciting development”. He continued:

We are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to optimise our offering for the benefit of our clients.

And Slaughters isn’t alone. Fellow magic circle players Clifford Chance and Linklaters have also signed similar deals.

Earlier this summer Clifford Chance unveiled it was teaming up with Canadian software provider Kira Systems. According to the Wharf-based outfit, the tech will not only help its lawyers quickly analyse contracts, but it can identify potential legal issues and improve all round efficiency. DLA Piper also signed up to Kira back in June.

Meanwhile Linklaters has punted for a similar system called RAVN. Produced in London, the online service will, according to the firm, undertake a number of automated tasks.

9 Comments

Anonymous

If it has really been taught to think like a lawyer, they’ll know they’ve been successful when it starts correcting their grammar then sends the programmers a bill at the end of the month.

(10)(0)

Whoopie US Associate

Cutting down costs whilst…. not increasing NQ salaries…

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Isn’t this sort of work given to people looking to forge a career in law? I suspect there will be far fewer doc review paralegals once this software becomes the norm for the profession.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Not just paralegals, it eats into tasks given to trainees and NQs, especially due diligence. Given, with this software they could focus on higher level issues but there will definitely be less need for so many lawyers!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I read a few articles about AI in the law that would disagree with this point. Developers at the AI provider for Clifford Chance viewed their programme as a way to decrease the amount of administrative work trainees and NQs did, so their training can return to real lawyer work. This would lower the ridiculous levels of leveraged legal services, prompting a quicker rise to senior associate/partnership levels. The amount of entry level positions will still remain attached to the needs of the client base and general legal market. An optimistic outlook would be to view this as a way to change training for the better, rather than thin out the legal services market. However, when have lawyers ever been optimists?

(5)(0)

Future Trainee

Could they please also embrace proper MC-level salary increases?

(7)(2)

Anonymous

For as long as anyone can remember, Slaughters has used (as an alternative to human fee earners) pitiless androids covered with human skin and sent back through time to await the apocalypse. It is a natural move for this MC firm to close the loop in causality by developing the artificial intelligence which will eventually destroy us all.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Slaughters is a shit-hole

(1)(6)

EC

Hi, do you know if the product is set to be launched in North America? Also, any idea about other clients?

(0)(1)

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