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AI Roundup 2018 - A guide to ILTA's Artificial Intelligence content

By Joe Davis posted 01-08-2019 12:54


In 2018, the perception of artificial intelligence in the legal world began the transition from existential threat to business tool.  While law firms and corporate legal departments that have fully integrated AI into their workflows are still in the minority, there was a significant increase in interest in this technology.  Over the course of the year, ILTA’s member and vendor communities continued to share their expertise through articles, webinars and conference panels.  Below is a guide to that content, along with some (hopefully) helpful commentary.

ILTACON 2018 Sessions

Where is Artificial Intelligence Making a Big Difference?

This session serves as a great introduction to the field of AI.  As moderator Richard Tromans says, the goal is “… to look at where AI is really, genuinely, is having an impact on law firms, and also on… corporate counsel.”  Tromans, who runs Tromans Consulting and the popular Artificial Lawyer blog, serves as moderator for the first 3 of the 4 ILTACON AI sessions.  The panel includes Noah Waisberg, co-founder of Kira Systems, Christina Wojcik, VP of Solutions for Seal Software, Bill Koch, Chief Knowledge Officer of Womble Bond Dickinson, James Lee, Co-founder and CEO of LegalMation and George Tziahanas, US Managing Director of Luminance.  While the vendor panelists offer a fair amount of insight, note that many of the audience’s questions are directed to Koch – the only one on the panel representing a law firm.  This seems to indicate that firms and corporate legal departments are hungry for details about real-world experiences. Note that this session is available in both audio and video formats.


Code of Ethics and How Does the ABA Fit into Artificial Intelligence?

While this session was not as well-attended as the others in the series, it raises some critically important questions about using AI in the practice of law.  Panelists include Jose Lazares, VP Product Strategy and Business Management for Intapp, Chang Zi Qian, co-founder of Intelllex, Johannes Stiehler, CTO of ayfie, and Dan Katz, Chief Strategy Officer at LexPredict (which has since been acquired by Elevate), associate professor of law at Chicago Kent College of Law and affiliated faculty at Stanford Codex.  Together they tackle issues including the ways in which AI is different than other forms of automation, whether a lawyer using AI is at risk of malpractice, and whether a lawyer not using AI may soon be at risk of malpractice.  Note that “who trained the model?” may be the most important question about legal AI for years to come.


The Reality of Artificial Intelligence in your Legal Practice

Once a firm or corporate legal department has bought into the idea of AI, the process of actually making it happen often falls on the IT team.  This session covers topics such as how much vendor involvement there should be in a pilot, who outside of IT is needed on the team, and the importance of finding the right use case.  The panel features Sondra Rebenchuk, AI Practice Consultant from Kira Systems, Arup Das, CEO and co-founder of Alphaserve Technologies, Laura Van Wyngaarden, COO of Diligen and Peter Wallqvist, VP of Strategy for iManage.  One central point that comes up both during the session and the attendee questions is the importance of the data used to train an AI engine - data that must be complete and free of bias.  Das notes the use of the CRISP-DM standard as a good starting point for exploratory data analysis.


Artificial Intelligence Beyond the Hype

This session features discussion and demos from Thomas Hamilton, VP of Strategy & Operations for ROSS Intelligence, Ned Gannon, Co-founder & CEO of eBrevia (now part of Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN)) and Anand Upadhye, VP of Business Development for Casetext.  The panel talks briefly about the history of their companies, and addresses issues including where they believe AI falls on the “hype curve,” typical use cases and misconceptions, and even compares AI to a ham sandwich.  The demo part of the session begins at 32:55, and is best understood by watching the video instead of just listening to the audio.


INSIGHT 2018 Sessions

Business Problems that AI Can Solve

Richard Tromans joins the panel and hands moderating duties over to Chris Dale of the eDisclosure Information Project.  Also featured on the panel are Ben Gardner, Chief Scientific Officer at, Louis Wihl, Senior Associate at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and Peter Wallqvist of iManage.  Of particular note in this session is the discussion of how AI is impacting the business of law.  Lawyers sell their time, so what is their incentive to spend money on technologies that make them more efficient?  The answer is competition – and plenty of it.  The panel also discusses some brief AI history (also known as hype) in order to put the present and future into context.


Articles (including a few from 2017)

AI Brings Technological Maturity to Email by Peter Darling in Peer To Peer – Spring 2018

Noting that email has not changed much, this article discusses three benefits AI can offer to help deal with the massive volume of email that attorneys face: productivity, time capture, and filing and compliance.


Is Your IT Department Innovative Enough? by Arup Das in Peer To Peer – Winter 2017

If you have to ask, the answer is probably “no.”  Das, the president of Alphaserve Technologies, offers a high-level explanation of what clients (and lawyers) expect from a modern law firm IT department.


Artificial Intelligence is Here, and You [and Your Clients] Already Love It by Benjamin Whetsell in Peer To Peer – Fall 2017

This article tries to get at the definition of AI by highlighting the areas in which this kind of technology is already embedded in products we use every day.  Amazon’s Alexa, search-engine suggestions and HTML email all get offered up as examples.  Even if you disagree (as I did) about whether or not they all fit the definition, it is still a useful exercise to figure out which ones do, and why.


Forget About Robot Lawyers... by Joe Davis in Peer To Peer – Summer 2017

This article explores using AI for something other than contract analytics.  IBM and Wolters Kluwer both offer AI-based solutions that help corporate legal departments ensure that their law firms are complying with outside counsel guidelines.



Start Learning to Trust Artificial Intelligence - You'll Make More Money – Sponsored by Zero

This webinar offers a high-level demonstration of Zero’s solution for leveraging AI to manage email.


Integrating Artificial Intelligence into your Contract Systems – Sponsored by Kira Systems

Kira offers some proof that AI in legal has moved beyond the hype phase by offering up some numbers: a $50 million venture capital investment, ~300k docs analyzed per month, 30% of top 100 firms.  The webinar also includes an overview of TIBCO’s efforts to use Kira’s AI engine to populate a Contract Lifecycle Management system.


Artificial Intelligence and the Future of CRM – by InterAction

If 90% of the world's data has been created within the past 2 years, 70% of which was created by individuals, but enterprises are responsible for storing and managing 80% of it, how does that relate to your strategy for InterAction?  Unfortunately, you won't find any answers in this webinar from InterAction, other than that they plan to use AI to target data quality, data privacy, and low adoption.


Beyond the Hype: AI for Investigations and Compliance

This webinar covers how AI can be useful on unstructured data in areas such as compliance, internal audit and security monitoring.  Some snazzy graphics help to explain the terms like predictive coding and data mining.  Moderator Beth Patterson, Allens Chief Legal & Technology Services Officer and panelists David Grant, Senior Managing Director from FTI Technology and Kelly Clay, Assistant General Counsel for GlaxoSmithKline discuss how AI has changed their workflow as well as review case studies about identifying risks and auto-categorizing documents for records management.