Litigation giant bringing in PhD students to realise AI dream
The UK’s largest medical negligence law firm has teamed up with the University of Liverpool, with the aim of creating the world’s first clinical negligence robot lawyer.
Embracing the mysterious world of artificial intelligence (AI), Fletchers — which has offices in Manchester and Southport — has launched the ambitious project with the support of a £225,000 grant from government-backed funder Innovate UK.
As part of the project, the firm will hire two PhD students to work alongside its in-house software team. With additional support provided by the tech-savvy bods of Liverpool Uni’s computer science department, the firm hopes to create an AI system that is able to “perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence”.
Aiming to become one of the first law firms outside the City to utilise AI, Fletchers — which will match the investment provided by Innovate UK — hopes the project will lead to improvements in efficiency, and as a result provide a better service for its clients.
Commenting on the plan, Fletchers CEO Ed Fletcher said:
As we move towards a more innovative legal sector, we believe that AI will grow in importance. That is why our partnership with the University of Liverpool is such an exciting opportunity for us to pioneer the way towards greater innovation and development. As a forward-thinking law firm, we strive to remain at the forefront of our industry, challenging the traditional way of doing things to pave the way for positive change.
The news of a possible clinical negligence robot lawyer comes as a number of City firms embrace the sci-fi style tech.
Back in September, uber-traditional law firm Slaughter and May revealed it had punted for a robot named Luminance. According to its creators,
he she it will be able to handle (and understand) hundreds of pages of complex legal documentation every minute.
Opting for the more menacing sounding RAVN, Linklaters claims its robot can — a bit like a paralegal — undertake a number of automated tasks. Meanwhile, Clifford Chance’s charmingly named Kira can not only help its lawyers quickly analyse contracts, but also identify potential legal issues.