The legal profession, as with most other knowledge professions, is changing through the use of machine learning tools applied to ensure that legal information is leveraged and disseminated efficiently to lawyers to fulfil their tasks more quickly and more accurately, law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) director and Knowledge Management head Retha Beerman says.
CDH’s new enterprise search engine, Insight, allows it to effectively leverage its wealth of institutional knowledge. It was customised and falls under the umbrella of services offered by information management service provider iManage and uses the technology created by one of recently acquired RAVN Systems.
The Insight system creates logical connections between experts in the firm, its clients, its matters and documents, she explains.
The search and surface system, which restricts access to information based on user access rights, confidentiality requirements and various security protocols, will supplement the firm’s document management system, reducing the time it takes to find information and placing that information in its proper context.
CDH Knowledge Management director Neil Comte detailed how the Knowledge Management team used a comparative analysis of 394 searches done on CDH’s traditional systems and on the Insight system and measured the time and cost impact for the firm.
Based on this analysis, he said, the team could show a clear return on investment, which was difficult to establish with many knowledge management products.
“Efficient knowledge management aided by artificial intelligence (AI) can help reduce costs to clients. As a department, we are responsible for streaming knowledge to our lawyers. However, raw information is insufficient; this information must be available in usable form to the people who need it,” says Beerman.
“If we can find and present it to the teams of lawyers quickly, accurately and enriched by context, we can leverage knowledge again, we become better and this has associated benefits for our clients.”
iManage-Ravn commercial director David Fisk highlights that most of the data systems used in the legal, medical and financial industries worldwide use components of AI, which are grouped mainly under machine learning. These include deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing, classification, clustering and information extraction.
“We consider the Insight system an information platform. It is an approach to leverage information repositories and historical information within a firm to provide better service rapidly and cost ffectively.”
The datasets are connected to one another and relationships are built between the data to enable relevant data to be surfaced for consumption.
CDH director and forensic investigation specialist Zaakir Mohamed indicates that, for his practice, AI tools are indispensable to cull the large volumes of information that might be relevant to an investigation into a more relevant and poignant subset of information, with time and cost savings for clients.