Lessons from the pandemic and what we can expect from the year ahead
Eleanor is General Manager of Luminance, a London-based market-leading artificial intelligence platform for lawyers, where she oversees UK sales, operations and the company’s continued expansion across the European region. Luminance has partnered with London First to produce the Legal View — hearing from London’s vibrant legal sector on the key issues facing the capital.
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a challenging and unprecedented year across all industries, not least the legal sector. Yet our altered ways of working have spawned new innovations and different ways of thinking about “business as usual.” And at a time when Londoners continue to isolate in their homes and connectivity and communication is more crucial than ever, Luminance, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) technology for lawyers, is proud to be sponsoring London First’s Legal View bulletin. We hope to encourage London’s vibrant legal sector to share insights and expert opinions on the trends and themes shaping the profession, and how technology can be an enabler for growth.
Like many advanced technologies, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for the adoption of Luminance, which combines supervised and unsupervised machine learning to read and form an understanding of documents, vastly expediting and enhancing legal document review. And as lawyers continue to navigate the challenges of remote working and search for ways to make efficiency gains, technology has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. But the past few months have also revealed some wider industry trends which, in my view, will be defining features of the year ahead.
Meeting client demands and expectations has always been high on the agenda for law firms. Yet increased economic volatility and steepening competition for work are pushing these demands even further into the spotlight. The reality is that clients are expecting more for less: deeper analysis and advice drawn from a wider pool of documents, completed whilst using less resources. Should I settle? Should I negotiate a better price? These are the questions that clients want answered and, crucially, they’re asking what technologies are being used to achieve answers to these questions, faster and more efficiently.
And it’s not just clients that are getting savvier about technology. Budding young lawyers, who have grown up with technology at their fingertips, are seeing the value of these tools and are lobbying for its introduction, or when applying for jobs, are asking whether cutting-edge technology is being used at their prospective firms. Against a backdrop of an increasingly dynamic job market, with bright young lawyers increasingly looking at areas like investment banking, legal technology and in-house roles, and burnout made worse by social distancing, AI is providing trainees with more exciting prospects which focus far more on high-value analysis than simply wading through near-identical contracts. Firms that invest in technology will fare much better at attracting and retaining talent than those that fail to keep up with industry trends.
For law firms themselves, it is about learning to work differently and passing off the bulk of the lower value, mundane tasks to the machine in order to spend more time on analysing and advising. And as we embark on what’s turning out to be another turbulent year ahead for London’s businesses navigating a host of contractual obligations arising from Britain’s exit from the EU and the death of LIBOR, amongst others, I have no doubt that AI will be a fundamental component of the capital’s law firms and businesses in 2021.