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LegalMarch 26, 2024

Four key points to stay informed about AI in legal operations

Corporate legal professionals across industries, along with their counterparts in other functions of the business, are being inundated with new products – and new features of existing products – built around AI algorithms. With so many new AI offerings on the legal technology market, many are seeking to learn more in order to make well-informed decisions about how to leverage the technology in the best way.

In an effort to fill this knowledge gap, Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions recently offered a webinar featuring two of our in-house AI experts to present some helpful information on AI in the legal space. Our presenters, Jeffrey Solomon, Vice President of Managed Services for LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer, and Jeetu Gupta, Director of Data Science, provided perspective on how to best leverage both traditional and generative AI (GenAI) with low risk. Here are four of the key takeaways from the session:

1. Legal teams are focused on AI

We began by asking participants how they would describe their department’s relationship with AI. Half of the respondents said that they see the value of AI and are researching AI solutions that have practical applicability to their legal department operations. Just over one-third answered that they are not sure how AI can help them, but they are willing to learn more. Another 14% have already implemented AI in their department. Only 2% have no plans to implement AI.

These results show that legal professionals understand that AI has the potential for a significant positive impact on legal operations and that they need an understanding of how to harness that potential. Without it, they risk missing out on helpful tools that their peers and competitors will utilize or – perhaps even worse – wasting their limited technology budget on AI tools that add little or no value.

2. Don’t forget traditional AI

The spotlight on AI since 2023 has largely been dominated by the advancements and capabilities of GenAI models that can produce human-like output. However, it's crucial not to overlook the enduring significance of traditional AI approaches within the legal technology landscape. While GenAI garners most of the media attention, traditional AI methodologies continue to play a pivotal role in driving law department efficiency.

Traditional AI includes familiar technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, with applications in the legal function, like predictive analytics, invoice review, and invoice conversion, which can streamline processes for legal operations professionals. These applications are already widely used within the legal function, delivering proven results in established solutions.

3. GenAI has potential, but risks need to be mitigated

With GenAI's advancing capabilities and impressive outputs, corporate legal teams are right to explore its benefits, but enterprises must prioritize mitigation of the risks inherent in its use. The large language models (LLMs) that power GenAI use much more data behind the scenes than traditional AI does. This makes LLMs difficult to create and update. They also tend to be based on publicly available data without any domain-specific understanding of the corporate legal function or the industries that companies operate within. These challenges can lead to less valuable results or even outright errors such as data hallucinations.

Enterprises can take steps to reduce these risks. For example, they can:

  • Invest in their prompt engineering to generate custom queries that result in better, more relevant responses
  • Provide their own enterprise data to an LLM
  • Fine-tune an existing LLM or train a brand-new model on their internal data
  • Partner with a vendor that has strict controls and guardrails in place around the data they use

These measures require differing levels of time and financial investment with variations in their potential benefits, so decisions about these approaches will be very specific to a particular company’s needs, resources, and internal policies.

4. ELM Solutions is taking a measured approach

In all of our efforts, ELM Solutions is focused on driving better outcomes and creating efficiencies for our customers. One way we do this is by using traditional AI with our well-established solutions:

LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer: Brings AI into the invoice review process, which had previously been overwhelmingly manual, decreasing legal spend and increasing billing guideline compliance

Intelligent Invoice Conversion: Converts paper invoices, usually from smaller firms, to the LEDES format, bringing automation and visibility to this portion of legal spend

Predictive Insights: Uses AI to compare a matter’s likely cost and timeline across various firms, generating a ranking that helps legal staff choose the best outside counsel for specific matters

Meanwhile, we are also hard at work on new uses for GenAI on our ELM platforms. Our process brings together domain experts, data scientists, and design strategists to take a human-centered approach to AI with a focus on desired business outcomes. The team adheres to Wolters Kluwer’s extensive framework of controls, which ensures ethical AI development that is secure and transparent. Moreover, ELM Solutions proactively evaluates our AI solutions continuously via a rigorous process that maintains and enhances our AI technology to keep it performing optimally.

To learn more, watch our webinar Responsible AI in Legal Operations.

Enterprise legal management
Market-leading provider of enterprise legal spend and matter management, AI-powered legal bill review, and legal analytics solutions
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