Law firm, Lander & Rogers has partnered with Monash University to launch the first artificial intelligence (AI) clinical placement program.
We were a team of five law students embedded in the firm as “AI investigative agents” in a program overseen by Courtney Blackman from the firm’s iHub innovation function, Stan Chua from the technology team; and Dr Jacqueline Weinberg from the Monash Law Clinical Program.
The hands-on exploration also saw our AI team actively engaging in demoing and testing new applications and platforms, including participating startups and scaleups from the 2023 LawTech Hub as we explored unique use cases specific to the legal industry.
The power of law AI
Australian law firms are harnessing the power of AI to streamline operations, improve productivity, and deliver more efficient services and there are seven AI frontrunners, including some Australian startups, leading the way, sparking innovation, redefining workflows, and setting the stage for a seismic shift in how legal services are delivered.
They are: ChatGPT, Luminance, Josef Q, Halisok, Jasmine, Microsoft Copilot and Harvey. And here’s how they fit in
ChatGPT, a sophisticated language model from OpenAI, is not just a useful tool in the legal sector but a true leader in the AI space.
It can assist with a range of tasks from drafting memoranda, composing emails, and brainstorming case strategies to summarising legal documents and creating presentation slides. ChatGPT’s capabilities can go even further presenting limitless possibilities for its application.
This boundless potential really sets ChatGPT apart, enabling it to streamline operations, automate routine tasks, and even drive innovative solutions to complex legal problems. The breadth of ChatGPT’s use cases continues to grow as technology evolves, cementing its position at the forefront of the AI industry.
Still, despite the ambit of ChatGPT’s potential, firms should be aware that ChatGPT is not designed to understand legal nuances or replace human judgement in complex legal scenarios.
It also lacks real-time updates and access to proprietary databases, limiting its effectiveness as a complete legal research or case management tool. Nonetheless, within its defined capabilities, the “AI Wordsmith” can provide invaluable assistance to legal startups.
Luminance, an innovative player making waves in the legal tech landscape, is trusted by many major firms and organisations.
Employing advanced AI and machine learning technologies, this platform dramatically improves the document review and due diligence process. Luminance optimises productivity by quickly scanning and analysing an extensive array of legal documents, extracting crucial data, and flagging potential risks.
Additionally, Luminance boasts the ability to understand, learn from, and respond to different languages and legal jurisdictions, marking it as a valuable resource for international law firms.
By streamlining the review process, Luminance not only enhances efficiency but also bolsters the accuracy and quality of legal work, reinforcing the foundation of trust that law firms establish with their clients.
While Luminance offers notable benefits to the legal profession, its application still has limits. For example, it can struggle to correctly interpret older, hard-to-read contracts, some dating back to the 1950s.
That being said, these limitations fit with the company’s goal of keeping lawyers actively involved in the projects rather than turning them into mere spectators, which in turn maintains a certain degree of human oversight.
Halisok, an Australian startup, has joined forces with the LawTech Hub to develop advanced machine learning-based products for the legal industry.
These collaborative efforts aim to provide a boost to the legal industry by helping law firms enhance productivity and significantly reduce operational costs. Their specialised tools are designed to efficiently extract key data points from vast volumes of unstructured documents, enabling law firms to make more informed decisions and streamline their processes.
While Halisok offers innovative solutions for the legal industry, it is not without its limitations.
Like many AI-based systems, occasionally suffers from “hallucinations” or instances where the AI may generate information that is not entirely accurate or relevant. While these limitations do not diminish the utility of Halisok, they are important considerations for users seeking to integrate the platform into their workflows.
Hailing from the USA, Harvey is an AI platform that is making significant inroads in the legal tech world. Harvey uses AI to deliver legal assistance in an easily understandable format. Its ability to automate legal processes and document creation saves considerable time and resources for law firms.
Ultimately, while AI tools like Harvey can assist with drafting simple documents and provide insights, it cannot entirely replace human judgement and may not be suitable for more complex scenarios.
Furthermore, questions arise about the application of an American-developed tool like Harvey in the context of Australian law.
Harvey AI has not been released but is set to launch sometime in 2023.
Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered tool that is transforming the professional landscape, including the legal field. Its machine learning algorithms provide advanced, context-based assistance in real-time.
Though not explicitly designed for law, Copilot’s versatility shines through in legal tasks such as document management, contract drafting, slide-making and reviews. By automating these routine tasks, it allows legal professionals to focus more on critical legal work, thus increasing productivity and enhancing client satisfaction.
While the advent of Microsoft Copilot is indeed thrilling, it is important to recognise that it was not designed explicitly for the legal industry. Therefore, its broad focus may not cater to some specific needs of legal professionals.
Additionally, while Copilot has collaborated with law firms to develop custom plug-ins for contract drafting, many of these plug-ins are based on U.S. law and may not be completely applicable or accurate in Australia. During these early stages of implementation, law firms should remain vigilant and discerning to ensure the tools align with their specific needs and local regulations.
Microsoft Copilot has not been released, however is set to be previewed in Windows 11 in 2023.
Yet another game-changer in the field of legal tech is Jasmine, an innovative AI platform powered by Jade.io.
Tailored specifically for the legal sector, Jasmine is designed to deliver an advanced and comprehensive legal research experience. This AI-powered system seamlessly sifts through a vast array of legal judgements and case law, helping legal professionals find relevant information with ease.
Jasmine’s strength lies in its precision and speed, dramatically reducing the time lawyers spend on research, thereby allowing them to focus more on case strategy and client interaction. As a digital legal research assistant, Jasmine is redefining how law firms approach case preparation and due diligence in today’s digital age.
While Jasmine shows great promise, it is worth noting that it is still under active development. As such, Jasmine does not yet encompass all court decisions in its database.
However, despite its current limitations, Jasmine’s future potential is significant. As its development continues and its coverage of court decisions expands, Jasmine is poised to become an extremely valuable tool for the Australian legal industry.
Josef Q is an AI bot developed by Josef, an Australian legal tech startup and alumnus of the LawTech Hub. Its aim is to revolutionise client interactions in the legal field.
By guiding clients through complex legal processes, Josef Q makes legal advice more accessible and easier to understand.
One of the standout features of Josef Q is its ability to be trained on specific questions. This feature is highly advantageous as it significantly reduces the occurrence of “hallucinations” or instances where the AI may generate incorrect or irrelevant information. As a result, it ensures a higher level of accuracy and relevance in the responses generated, making it a powerful tool for enhancing client service in the legal profession.
Josef CEO Tom Dreyfus said: “For teams like legal…which are constantly under pressure to do more with less, Josef Q gives them the power to deliver instant answers to questions about policies and other complex content.”
While the development of Josef Q is undeniably exciting, it is important to remember that the platform is still in its beta stage and has some limitations. One notable limitation is that it currently accepts only text-based input, which might restrict the scope of interaction or the kind of tasks it can manage.
Furthermore, there is a maximum limit on the amount of input Josef Q can process at any one time. However, as the product continues to evolve, we can expect improvements and expansions on these initial capabilities.
Transforming the legal landscape
AI technology, while still in its formative stages, is poised to transform the landscape of the legal profession.
The seven AI tools we have discussed demonstrate a range of applications and potential benefits, from improving productivity and decision-making to offering innovative ways to interact with clients.
We must also acknowledge the existing limitations of these tools, such as restricted data inputs and occasional system inaccuracies. Despite these challenges, the potential of AI in legal practice is immense. For Australian law firms, now is the opportune moment to begin integrating these tools into their workflows.
The future of law is digital, and those willing to ride this wave will undoubtedly be at the forefront of the evolving legal landscape.
Authored by Angelina Lau, Kyla Tay, Johanna Frauenberger, Annie Jain and Patrick Hatzipavlis, participants in the AI clinical placement program, an initiative by Lander & Rogers in collaboration with Monash University’s Law Clinical Program.