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of IBM, defeated the two greatest Jeopardy champions by a significant margin using artificial intelligence. You are probably thinking that if artificial intelligence can drive cars all over the United States, then it should also be able to provide me with the most intelligent, competent associate that a firm has ever thought about having. Not yet, although there are concerns that various functions performed by associates in large firms will be replaced by artificial intelligence software, thus decreasing the number of associates needed by large firms. At this time artificial intelligence appears to be available and practical for use in three areas of legal practice: searching documents in the form of ESI (electronically stored information), contract review and legal research. The transition from the usual associate activities in these areas to the use of artificial intelligence may well be coming at the speed of sound, if not the speed of light. NextLaw Labs, a subsidiary of Dentons, reportedly the largest law firm in the world, has a startup in the artificial intelligence field known as Ross Intelligence, based in Toronto, Canada. Ross Intelligence uses IBM's Watson cognitive computing system (of Jeopardy fame) to enhance legal research. "ROSS is essentially a super-smart legal research platform, allowing users to ask natural questions and get pinpointed answers, instead of reams of statutes and caselaw." A lawyer can ask ROSS a research question in the natural language the lawyer would use with a colleague and then ROSS processes the law, gathers information, and then draws inferences and returns with a highly relevant, information based answer. As is often the case with artificial intelligence, the program will continue to improve the more it is used. Case specific information regarding new developments that pertain to the lawyer's specific case can be kept track of by ROSS. What ROSS is to the legal research area, Beagle is to the contract review area of the legal practice. Beagle is a startup backed by Microsoft Accelerator. According to the company: "Beagle reads your contract in seconds and highlights who the parties are, their responsibilities, their liabilities, how to get out of the contract and more. . . Beagle can be trained to sniff for information important to your business. Over time, as contracts are edited, tagged and collaborated on, Beagle learns and begins highlighting information that's important to you." Again, as was the case with ROSS, we see that Beagle has the ability to "learn" and get smarter with use. Beagle is being marketed as a cost savings to businesses that have to review a large number of contracts each year, particularly those that have an in-house counsel who does not have a team of associates to review the contracts. A similar program for contract review is Legal Robot, marketed as an "automated contract review which helps you understand complex legal language and spot problems before you sign, without the time and cost of hiring an attorney." Fortunately Legal Robot does not try to cut out the lawyers entirely. At this time artificial intelligence appears to be available and practical for use in three areas of legal practice: searching documents in the form of ESI (electronically stored information), contract review and legal research. Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2017 11


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