Future Lawyer Blog

Legal Geek Thomson Reuters Takeover (Event Review)

In the world where even the shoes have gone virtual (through Snapchat’s AR ‘try-ons’ you can now test out Gucci sneakers for $12), the law students have had the privilege of attending numerous virtual law fairs, employer presentations and conferences – all from the comfort of their homes (wherever in the world it might be). Thomson Reuters takeover at Legal Geek was one of such virtual events. Here’s what happened and what we learned from the fantastic panel of speakers:

‘Covid-19 – Catalyst for change?’- presentation by Elizabeth Duffy, Senior Director at Global Client Services

The session kicked-off the with a poll question about how the pandemic affected our work. Interestingly enough, more than a half of the audience felt their work practices have improved as a result and the other half was torn between ‘stayed the same’ and ‘deteriorated.’ Lizzy was not surprised with the results, in fact, she noted that the research conducted in law firms and their clients reflected the same sentiments- only 15% of lawyers experienced deterioration of their work practices. As Lizzy presented further findings of the research over the course of presentation, I realised there’s a lot that can change in the next decade or so – 77% of partners are planning on retaining at least some element of remote working and the use of technology and innovation is becoming an increasingly bigger driver when considering law firms. Whether these numbers will provide real results, we’ll just have to wait and see.

HighQ Demo by Mark Reynolds and Tom McDonald

‘Work smarter. Faster. Simpler.’ being the mantra of the company, HighQ is a digital collaboration platform designed for law firms to boost their productivity. Ranging from transaction, litigation and compliance management to team collaborations and cloud-based secure file sharing, HighQ offers a wide range of services to the consumers. So, no wonder we see the likes of Clifford Chance, Allen and Overy and Linklaters in their clients’ list.

LegalTech and AI Ethics workshop

For this interactive part of the day I found myself in a small break-out room discussing AI Ethics and the challenges around it with a German product developer at Baker McKenzie, the senior associate from Columbia and a legal counsel from New York – very international and interesting crowd, I dare say. Discussion concerned mainly the issues of accountability and regulation in respect to the AI and ethical ‘feeding’ of data. In the main room, we discussed the application of AI in the legal domain for text summarization (did you know some of case summaries on Westlaw were produced by the machine?), auto-complete, classification, etc.

For the next breakout room discussions, we were asked to think of an example of successful application of AI in legal or any other field. There were many examples: doctors using it to detect the nature of moles, banks to determine the creditworthiness of a client, law firms using it for document review, etc. Many examples, but lots of challenges too. There were calls from the audience for some disclosure by the companies as to how they train their machines, calls for stricter regulations and concerns about the data privacy. However, everyone was certain that AI and LegalTech (or any other tech for that matter) was the future and though it might hold some uncertainty, it definitely held more benefits that we could all enjoy.

Many thanks to Mariam Loladze for this useful write-up of the Takeover event. Miriam is a first year LLB student at City Law School.

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