Legal Tech 2: The Importance of Intelligent Knowledge Management

The first article of this Series opens by prompting the reader to picture the stereotypical lawyer. We then went on to state that the most common stereotype that of Law professionals labouring over massive piles of paper has become somewhat redundant. Nowadays, they instead spend hours in front of computer screens, browsing through enormous databases, in search of relevant data. Intelllex promises to break this status quo; through the implementation of A.I. based knowledge management, they claim to substantially reduce the time Lawyers spend searching for and sorting data.

Knowledge and Data are critical to the practice of law; lawyers sift through extensive collections of case law and other legal documents, alongside an equal volume of court fillings, transactional documents and legal research they produce. The first wave of LegalTech digitalized data on large databases. Although this made Data more readily available, it did not yet make it accessible. To achieve accessibility, the knowledge must be managed effectively. Even when in possession of a vast and qualitative catalogue of knowledge, this intellectual capital adds little value if not handled effectively.

In the digital age, if not structured rigorously, the sheer quantity of data, lawyers are confronted with is overwhelming. Moreover, knowledge is more often than not collected in separate information silos with one firm, since work is organized by case or by field of law. By extension, individuals within one firm have access to differing knowledge, which causes duplicative inefficiencies. In consequence, due to high workforce volatility - if members of a firm leave, knowledge will often disappear with them.

Here, Knowledge Management becomes a necessity. Every Law firm does it – larger firms even have designated knowledge management lawyers. But, not only is manual knowledge management a tedious task, but it is also under incentivized by the billable-hours model. Clients cannot be charged for hours spent sorting, organizing and classifying data; ergo lawyers are more likely to spend billable hours searching through poorly managed data. Although the industry has grown accustomed to this, client pressures (among other factors) are making this less and less sustainable.

Document Management Systems

Document Management Systems (DMS) are the norm in the legal industry, although they solve some of the problems mentioned above, they are far from ideal. Foremost, these systems still require a fair amount of manual knowledge management work. Moreover, it does not adequately support knowledge sharing, since traditional DMS organize data only by client matter. And, it doesn’t reduce the amount of clutter lawyers need to search through to find relevant data.

This presents Law firms with a Dilemma of Labour allocation. Continuously curating and structuring a Firms Knowledge catalogue is time-intensive, time that can be better spend on client-facing tasks. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) provides a way out of this Dilemma. A.I. can be used to automate knowledge management processes. In doing so, it can integrate knowledge silos across the firm, producing one central, structured and most importantly dynamic knowledge repository. Such a knowledge repository will help free up labour across the board, enabling lawyers to focus on more critical tasks. As well as ensuring synergy of knowledge across the firm. The knowledge repository continuously grows and develops, creating institutional memory as well as reducing duplicative inefficiencies.

Whilst the vast quantities of data make manually establishing such a knowledge repository incredibly complex, A.I thrives when confronted with large amounts of Data. Machine learning enables lawyers to find relevant documents more quickly and precisely, ensuring that Firms can utilize their intellectual capital effectively.

One innovative product that applies A.I. to Legal Knowledge Management is Intelllex. The Singapore Start-up claims to make data meaningful for legal professionals. By leveraging Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, Intelllex codes knowledge into their search engine: SOURCE, and into their Knowledge Management functions: STACKS. By integrating both these programs in one user-friendly interface, they attempt to make knowledge management intuitive, enabling Firms to utilize their intellectual capital.

STACKS consolidate the knowledge from different Silos around the firm, whilst automatically organizing the central knowledge repository to ensure that knowledge is shared across the firm adequately and that law professionals harness relevant knowledge easily. SOURCE feeds this repository, dynamically updating the knowledge repository with relevant content from regulators, courts and law firms.

SOURCE and STACKS are built upon three underlying solutions. Firstly, the automated classification of files, based on a legal taxonomy [1]. A.I. classification models enrich the metadata of files, enabling uniform categorization and quick retrieval. Secondly, a holistic approach to knowledge management aggregates knowledge sources on one platform and bridges knowledge silos by fostering an interconnected knowledge graph. Finally, by employing the classification system, the aggregation of sources, and the interconnected knowledge graph Intelllex promises quick and precise information retrieval.

Ellery Sutano, head of business development at Intelllex, states that Intelllex can make knowledge work for lawyers, reducing research inefficiencies, increasing the quality of their work product and delivering greater value to their clients. While all this appears correct on paper Intelllex has acknowledged that the most substantial challenge they are faced with is to persuade practitioners to break with their knowledge management status quo. Although the adoption of Legal Tech has expanded, by and large, the law industry can still be characterized as quite conservative.

But with a young and cross-dimensional team, with executives from law, data science and business, Intelllex seems keen to break the status quo of subpar manual knowledge management, with claims of 2-3 fold productivity gains, making knowledge accessible, instead of solely available.

[1] Classification System

For more information on Intelllex and the product they offer, visit their website (https://intelllex.com/) or listen to how they explain their product in their own words.

If you are also interested in writing about Legal Tech or other topics in Data Science get in touch with our Press Executive per email (johann.ohler.19@ucl.ac.uk).

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