Some 65% of legal departments have seen the volume of legal work handled by their team increase in the last year, according to Thomson Reuters’ seventh Legal Department Operations Index, released in October. But, despite higher workloads, the majority of lawyers said they have not seen a corresponding increase in their budgets. Nearly 60% of respondents said their legal department budget had stayed the same or decreased.
In a climate of growing workloads and stagnant budgets, automated litigation support is a game-changer for law firms and legal departments. The legal sector is notoriously cautious about digital transformation, but the legal teams that are using automated litigation support are gaining a huge competitive advantage over those that don’t.
There are some rote tasks in the legal profession that are unavoidable due to legal, regulatory, or other types of requirements. Automated litigation support frees legal departments from spending excessive time on these tasks, so they can focus on practising law.
“The trends we’re seeing in the legal industry are reflective of the current economic realities,” said Hillary McNally, General Manager for Corporate Legal at Thomson Reuters, in response to the Index.
“Faced with economic uncertainty and an increasingly complex regulatory environment, legal departments are understandably looking for innovative solutions to meet today’s demands.
While it is pleasing to see that investment in legal technology remains a priority, it is critical that these tools are properly adopted and utilised. If legal departments are to keep up with the current financial pressures, these technology solutions must be fully implemented.”
Automated litigation support is an innovative technology solution, but what exactly is it?
Automated litigation support automates, streamlines and manages repetitive, and often non-billable, tasks and activities. It frees lawyers from the day-to-day processes which are manual, fragmented or time-consuming. Any task which is highly repeatable, and doesn’t require creativity or complex calculations could be a candidate for automation.
“As legal explores these technologies and is more exposed to the capabilities, professionals will realise the true goal of tech like AI,” Mori Kabiri wrote for Forbes last year.
“AI algorithms are not here to replace lawyers but to equip them with the tools to automate daily repetitive tasks so that they can focus more on specialised tasks that require their creativity and intelligence.
Chief in 2020’s challenges was the switch to work from home, which meant more meetings than ever and more processes getting stuck waiting for review, approval and other pipeline tasks. Those who still rely on email only and excel in collaborating with in-house and outside parties are now discovering the new legal landscape cannot tolerate inefficient workflows anymore.”
Automation does not replace the human elements of practising law. Instead, lawyers can spend less time – or perhaps waste less time – on time-intensive, repetitive tasks.
Xapien, for example, is a deep technology company that can be used for litigation support. It produces professional and comprehensive enhanced due diligence reports on any individual or company in minutes, using Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and vast cloud computing power. In a world awash with messy, fragmented information, it allows lawyers to get to the truth quickly, and make sound, fact-based judgements.
How automated litigation support gives legal departments a competitive edge
There are a number of areas automated litigation support can be used, including:
• Client onboarding
• Billing and invoicing
• Time tracking
• Document creation
• Client communications
• Due diligence
Here are some examples of what that looks like:
This was the first use case of AI in the legal industry, and is the time-saving process of identifying and delivering electronic information that can be used as evidence in legal cases.
Documents can now be automatically translated in seconds and at a fraction of the cost of human translators.
Automation can transcribe court proceedings, bodycam footage, phone calls and more.
Research is an area automated litigation support can significantly enhance. While LexisNexis or WestLaw allow lawyers to discover case law at record speed, Xapien allows them to learn everything that is publicly available about a person or business in minutes.
When legal professionals conduct research they have to trawl through more data than ever before. Once they have found that data, they must verify what is relevant, accurate, and available for use. The sheer volume of information means teams of human researchers struggle to keep up with research and verification. Whether they are conducting due diligence on a potential client or gathering information for a case, it is one of the most time consuming legal tasks.
Xapien empowers traditional human-led litigation support services, by both speeding up the process, and delivering smarter results than a team of manual researchers.
It can remove uncertainty and make sense of research, quickly. This frees up legal professionals to focus on higher-value tasks such as strategic planning based on the results of the research.
How does Xapien work?
Xapien is an advanced AI platform that uses human-like techniques to cut through the noise. By applying Natural Language Processing, it can take just a few pieces of information, such as the name of a person and their organisation, to deliver useful insights.
It reads text from across the internet and extracts key events, sentiments and personas. With this, it builds a ‘knowledge graph’ connecting individual pieces of information together. This creates a rich view of the subject and their network of connections in the same way a human researcher would, but in minutes, rather than hours or even days.
AI-driven tools such as Xapien are fast becoming critical to litigation support services and client intake software. It delivers a report of highly detailed and relevant insights quickly and cost-effectively. A challenge which today seems overwhelming and beyond the means of most teams, becomes routine and accessible. For legal teams, this puts them on a path to win cases and onboard clients.
With Xapien’s automated litigation support, law firms and legal departments are able to:
There is no longer a need to make trade-offs in research
Search beneath the surface
Hidden patterns that could be crucial to a case or client come to light quickly
All online information is monitored and searched, but boundaries are not breached
Senior legal professionals are free to focus on the most valuable tasks
Let’s explore these benefits in greater detail.
When legal departments and law firms conduct research, they need to allocate and prioritise resources. Trade-offs are inevitable and can lead to crucial information being missed because they don’t have the capacity to look everywhere and verify everything.
Traditional research tools can identify, read and report on all publicly available data, but analysts then must sort through the data to find key insights. Xapien does this for you, with far greater depth and in a fraction of the time.
As a result, lawyers can ‘focus everywhere’. They no longer need to make trade-offs about the level of detail, depth, or focus in the research phase. This avoids wasting time on inappropriate clients or witnesses, as well creating a deep understanding of clients’ businesses.
Lawyers are armed with a comprehensive, high-quality picture of the person or business in question, and their associates, so they can make better-informed decisions with confidence.
Search beneath the surface
When automated litigation support is used in research, it speeds and enhances asset tracing, evidence gathering, witness research, fact-checking and more.
This involves looking into individuals or corporations and their associates. The more people and companies researchers can look into, the more likely they are to uncover important connections and associations.
However, these associations, connections, and relationships only emerge after analysing multiple individuals and entities. When working to tight case deadlines, it is unrealistic for researchers to examine every possible connection using traditional methods.
Xapien’s legal software platform works at a massive scale, processing huge volumes of data with the intelligence of a human researcher. It makes sense of the information and uses context to zoom in on what’s genuinely useful. Challenges that were previously overwhelming and beyond the limits of most teams become routine and accessible.
Breaching legal and privacy boundaries can jeopardise a case. Lawyers must carefully balance maintaining compliance and maximising research outcomes.
Xapien only uses data that is available for public use and has in-built regulation capabilities that stop it from infringing privacy laws. It is a compliance safety net that helps with this balancing act, relieving the pressure on busy legal teams.
This ensures legal teams avoid the costs and reputational damage of lawsuits arising from inappropriate, or even illegal, investigations to support litigations. They can maximise their use of information, without the worry of straying beyond privacy boundaries.
With Xapien, law firms are able to take quick, decisive action based on relevant, actionable, and correct information. The entire process is performed within minutes. Lawyers only need the most basic technical skills to quickly perform advanced investigations.
Easily shareable and fully sourced Xapien reports summarise the huge amount of analysis and data processing that led to the insights. They are easy-to-digest, categorised, and segmented, organised the way that teams of researchers, lawyers and other departments work. Features such as PDF downloads ensure full auditability. Everyone gets the same information, allowing firms to move at pace, sidestepping the delays caused by misunderstandings.
Get in touch to discover how Xapien can help your legal team conduct research more effectively and efficiently, or learn about our onboarding process.