Automated law—law firms developing technology ‘in-house’

Automated law—law firms developing technology ‘in-house’

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Julian Sayarer speaks to experts about the pros and cons of developing LawTech in-house.  The spread of technology into modern life and business has brought with it a vocabulary that can seem like it is used more frequently than it is understood. Each equipped with their own lustre, ideas such as ‘disrupt’ and ‘innovate’, or methods such as ‘fail-fast’, have become commonplace, now dropped with an eager noise for technological readiness that can easily outstrip the actual commitment.

In-house technology is just one concept that seems to hold such sway, and the notion of bespoke technology design, developed at close proximity to those who need it, has  an obvious appeal. There are a range of logical answers for why technology development is brought in-house; solutions tailored to specific needs, hidden from the eyes of potential competitors, suited to the fine-tuning of a firm’s systems so that it operates with utmost efficiency. There was something very complete-sounding about the statement from artificial intelligence due-diligence company, Luminance, when announcing that their software ‘has been trained to think like a lawyer’.

With firms likely to remain guarded on the minutiae of their in-house development, there will be some guesswork in establishing the real ramifications of what that sort of ‘training’ actually consists of. From a purely technological perspective there’s a surprisingly strong argument against in-house development altogether, and certainly against the idea of it as a panacea for the sometimes slow pace of development in LawTech.

Substance above style

Challenging this received wisdom of in-house as an unalloyed good, it is not hard to find a range of voices from the Tech world. Jimmy Vestbirk is the founder of LawTech community, Legal Geek, which has convened hackathons of coders and conferences of experts, brought together to shed light

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