Generative AI Revolutionising Legal Tech, Pioneers Lead Industry Transformation

The legal technology sector is undergoing a seismic shift due to the advancements in generative AI. These developments are not just changing the way legal work is carried out, but also creating opportunities for new products and services. The industry’s trailblazers are leveraging this technology to meet the rapidly evolving needs of businesses, as highlighted in the FT’s Accelerating Business series, supported by research partner RSGI.

One such pioneer is Sandeep Agrawal, a partner at PwC UK and a leader in legal technology. Agrawal played a significant role in launching Harvey, a generative AI tool developed by a legal start-up backed by OpenAI. By October, nearly 6,000 PwC lawyers and tax specialists were generating approximately 30,000 queries on the platform every week.

While there are areas where Harvey excels, Agrawal acknowledges that it requires a human touch to refine and add a legal advisory layer on top of its responses. To support its users, PwC has created an intranet page with information on how to use the tool effectively, including tips on reducing errors and protecting personal or sensitive information.

PwC is also working on a generative AI foundation model in partnership with OpenAI and Harvey. This model aims to support different applications, such as chatbots or drafting and translation tools. The firm has also invested in other legal tech vendors, including ContractPodAi, whose Leah legal assistant tool is used for contracts. Agrawal predicts that every large organisation will have two or three options for using generative AI internally within the next year.

Daniel Katz, a law professor at Illinois Tech’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, has been pushing the boundaries of what generative AI can achieve. His team successfully challenged Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s GPT-4 to pass the bar exam, scoring in the 90th percentile. Katz is also the founder of legal tech consultancy 273 Ventures, which develops tech and services that help law firms and legal departments connect all their data sources. This data can then be used in conjunction with generative AI platforms.

Sarvath Misra, a former M&A lawyer, recognised a gap in the market for technology applications for contract management. He co-founded legal tech start-up NewGalexy and later ContractPodAi, which launched Leah, a tool that applies generative AI to contract-lifecycle management. Misra is impressed by the scalability and immediate impact of AI tools like Open AI’s ChatGPT iterations. However, he believes that adaptability will be crucial as the technology continues to advance rapidly.

Meanwhile, Mary O’Carroll, chief community officer for legal tech company Ironclad, advises caution when adopting generative AI. Speaking at a legal operations event in May, she warned that the technology’s impact on the industry could be daunting for some.

Generative AI is undoubtedly transforming the legal technology industry, offering solutions for CPD accreditation and self-accreditation for education providers. However, as with any technological innovation, it requires careful implementation and continuous monitoring to ensure it delivers the desired results. As the cost of accreditation continues to rise, digital CPD certificates generated by AI could offer a cost-effective solution for professionals seeking to further their development.

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