In this special episode of The Geek in Review, host Greg Lambert sits down with Ed Walters, Chief Strategy Officer at vLex, to discuss two significant announcements: the integration of vLex’s Vincent AI with iManage Work and the automated docket ingestion feature with iManage using vLex’s Docket Alarm.

The integration between Vincent AI and iManage’s Insight Plus collection allows law firms to leverage their internal knowledge assets alongside vLex’s extensive public law database. This combination of the “two halves of the legal brain” enables lawyers to create brilliant first drafts and analyze documents using the power of generative AI. Walters emphasizes the importance of data quality and the role of knowledge management teams in curating the best practice documents for training AI models.

Security is a top priority for both vLex and iManage in this integration. Walters details the various measures taken to ensure data protection, including encryption, dedicated master keys for each firm, and compliance with industry standards such as ISO 27001 and SOC 2. He also clarifies that vLex uses retrieval-augmented generation, securely passing relevant documents to a closed instance of the foundation model without training on the data itself.

The second announcement focuses on the automated docket ingestion feature, which seamlessly saves court filings from Docket Alarm into the correct iManage folders. This practical solution eliminates the manual process of saving documents and ensures that all team members have access to the most up-to-date versions of the filings.

Looking ahead, Walters hints at future integration points between vLex and iManage, emphasizing the potential for generative AI to help law firms differentiate their services and meet client expectations. He sees Vincent AI as a secure bridge between generative AI and a firm’s internal work product, enabling them to leverage their knowledge assets without the need for expensive, in-house foundation models.


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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠


Greg Lambert 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Greg Lambert with a special episode where I am talking with Ed Walters, the street Chief Strategy Officer at vLex. Ed, thanks for jumping on the podcast to talk with me for a couple of new announcements that you guys have at vLex, where you’re releasing it this morning.

Ed Walters 0:32
Yeah, thanks for having me.

Greg Lambert 0:34
All right. So let me let me list off the two things that were in the in the press release, in order. First, you are announcing that there’s an integration with vLex vents in AI? And with iManage work, and I think this is probably between you, you and me and a few listeners is probably the bigger of the two. But you know, this is just huge news, I think for the legal profession, because this has been something that we’ve talked about almost as soon as we heard what Gen AI can do. It’s been Okay, great. When can I start putting, you know, getting use out of my data. And then second, there, you are announcing that there’s an automated docket ingestion feature, which will use vLex Docket Alarm to seamlessly load court filings into iManage into the correct folders for those matters. So do you mind just let’s back up to the first one and talk about give us a little bit more information on these integrations and what they mean for lawyers and legal teams?

Ed Walters 1:49
Sure. So at the top level, let me just say that I manage a company that we have respected for a long time, the vLex team, you know, sort of seen the kind of market penetration that they have their emphasis on security. They’re like one of the most trusted names in legal tech. And so this is an integration that we’ve been excited about for a long time. And the I think the aspiration here is that there’s a lot of potential places where you can sync up between vLex and vLex products like docket alarm, and I manage. So we’re announcing two of them at our managers User Conference connect live, which is happening Wednesday and Thursday, this week, the 29th and 30th. of May. And we will announce from the stage on Thursday, tomorrow, the full integration, but we’re giving you a sneak preview today. However, let me let me talk about the first one that the integration between I manage and Vincent AI and the AI tool from VX, recently named the 2024, New Product of the Year by the American Association of law libraries, we’re over the moon about that. So the way this is going to work is that it is going to be an integration between Ion manages INSIGHT Plus collection for a firm and that firms vLex Vincent AI subscription if you’re subscribed to both products, and you have put that kind of curated, set superset of your best documents, into Insight Plus, when you’re doing research, or when you are creating workflows, or first drafts, or analyzing documents inside of the Vincent AI system, you can use that whole V lacks knowledge base of public law. But you can also pull in documents from the INSIGHT Plus collection from your private collection. And let me just say for a second why I’m so geeked about this on gated review, I really think that the legal brain kind of has two halves. There’s a Public Law half of the legal brain that has judicial opinions and statutes and regulations and court rules, law review articles and things like that. And then the other lobe is the internal knowledge assets of the firm. And in some ways, these are the most important assets that law firms have on their books. This is the playbooks. This is the unique way of doing things. This is what if you if you train your lawyers, this is what you’re hoping that they’re going to learn. In a think for gender of AI. We’ve had solutions, look at internal law firm playbooks. We’ve had solutions that look at the kind of right move Have the brain that public law part of it. But I think this will be the first time you can look at both at the same time, in the same interface for the same gender to the AI tool. And I think in the same ways that we were pleasantly surprised at what happened, when you run generative AI on the public wall database, I think we’re going to be equally amazed at what happens when you combine the world’s largest public law, intelligence platform and relax. And I think that the largest collection of internal firm documents with IMEC.

Greg Lambert 5:33
Yeah, I imagined is now just a kind of a technical question before we move on. Is this the cloud version of iManage? Would the firm need to be on that version in order to get access to these features? Yes, so

Ed Walters 5:52
you need to be on the INSIGHT Plus platform inside of I’m in it. And that is not like the entire database from the firm. This is a curated set of documents that the law firm say, I want to put this in the INSIGHT Plus collection.

Greg Lambert 6:11
And typically, this would be like a knowledge management team that has worked with the individual practice areas to I mean, to some to dumb it down a little bit. So even I could understand it, or it basically your you want your best practice documents that are in there, kind of like the old days where, you know, we started with a with a red well, that had the bit, you know, the best contract, then we moved that online with our KVM. Team. And now this is just kind of that next version of that bigger, bigger, better class of documents. Right?

Ed Walters 6:44
I think that’s right, I think that’s a good way of understanding it. And, you know, I think when you’re when you’re looking at AI, and we talked about this before retrieval, augmented generation, all of the results coming out of generative AI are based on the data on the quality of the data on the quality of the data. And I don’t think that you would want generative AI training on everything, you know, the menu for the summer, associate lunch, the email where you are, you know, RSVP to the party or something. The 17 drafts of the pleading before it comes out, you want the superset that read well, the version of the best documents. And those are what we should be using to train generative AI, which is why the INSIGHT Plus collections can be so powerful, combined with that kind of superset of public law. And if you notice that, like this is not just American law, I mean, we’re in the US. So we sort of think that from that perspective, but Vincent AI already works in the UK and Ireland, in Spain, and the European Union, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, we’re rolling out war seems like every month, and so global law firms could take like, you know, not just US Senator practice, but practice around the world in the European Union with our super set there, and really produce like, brilliant first drafts, not just for the US, but anywhere in the

Greg Lambert 8:14
world. Excellent. Well, I know one of the biggest barriers since day one since November of 2022, when we started getting hands on ChatGPT. Three, it has been security concerns and protecting client data. Now I know I manage I mean, this is their bread and butter, of being able to to not just protect the data, but also to isolate the data so that things like ethical walls can be set up in in making sure that people keeping honest people honest and not being able to get to things that that they don’t want to or don’t need to get to. So how and I know you’ve we talked about this for we went on, you kind of have a script that you want to make sure that you cover this correctly. So how did you guys look at protecting it so that when you go to mine, IT security ops team, that they’re comfortable in rolling out a product like this?

Ed Walters 9:18
Yeah, I think that I think you’re right, that is the most essential piece. And you better believe that the iManage team for whom security is their bread and butter marched us through the paces to make sure that everything we do together maintains that security. So I think when the when the VFX team and the Fastcase team worked together with I managed to build this out. We wanted to, you know, overperform we wanted to really shoot the lights out on security, we want to exceed the best industry standards. And so, you know, I did make a checklist. I want to make sure that I’m hitting all the points. So first, we start with encryption. We got all of the information In all customer data or conversation logs, all text from uploaded files, and metadata is encrypted in transit. And at rest, we want to make sure that it’s encrypted through the entire process, like the best security systems are the data these stored using, it’s called a FIPS, 142 compliant algorithmic suite. But it’s like one of the most secure data suites that you can have. It has hardware security modules, and each enterprise customer, like each law firm has their own dedicated encryption master key. So if not, we’re using one key for everybody, right? You know, Jackson Walker has one scan as another, you have your own dedicated master key. And then for global firms, like you have to have some control over those keys. So firms can choose the region residency of a master keys and host them in their own self managed Amazon Web Services account. If you’re in Europe, and you need that key to stay in Europe, you can do that. If you’re in the US and want to keep it in the US soon. You can do that as well. There’s a lot to say about it. But I think it’s safe to say that every security certification that you can get, we’re trying to go load up beyond it was finished. For the security nerds ISO [27001]. Audit, we’ve got a draft certification. And the full certification is just a kind of a matter of timing. Now, we’re, we’ve finished the sock to audit and we’re in the three month sock to surveillance period. But I think maybe the last thing to say is just that, you know, we are not unlike open AI, or, you know, Google with Gemini, we’re not training our own foundation law. So everything we’re doing here is provable amended generation. It’s a little bit like a search engine. You know, if a retrieval party, we are pulling the relevant documents through a secure channel, and storing the data securely, but with those documents, we’re then passing them securely with the dedicated closed instance of the foundation model. In our case, we’re using GPT-4 Turbo right now, but we’re paying through the nose for the super secure version of it. So nothing ever goes to train that model. And we’re not treated with the data. When that transaction is done, when the prompt gets passed, we get the result. All that data is securely only accessible to the firm, not to us, not open AI, not to Google or anyone else. Okay.

Greg Lambert 12:55
All right. So now you’ve convinced my security ops team that it’s okay to do this. Now comes the really hard test of how what what would you say is kind of the biggest value of being able to do this? And what are you doing to make sure that there’s not any kind of potential bias that that’s going on? Or that you’re making sure that answers that are coming back? Or, again, grounded to the documents that, that we’ve isolated as our best practice documents? Yeah, how do you convince the lawyers now to use it?

Ed Walters 13:39
Well, I think, you know, the, the first way you’d have to do that is it just has to work. Like when you know, try to draft things with it, when you evaluate documents with when you try to figure out what comes next. What’s missing, then a contract that has to just flat out work. And this is a place where I think lawyers have been very favorably impressed. It’s why, you know, I think that there were there are more nominations this year than ever for the American Association of law libraries, new product, or like, everybody had an AI product this year. Yeah, this competing for that award. But among all of them, you know, and I always say law librarians are the most discriminating the most sophisticated consumers of these things. Among all of them. They picked Vincent AI. So I would just say, you know, the proof of that the proof is in the pudding. The proof of the pudding is in the eating maybe. And, you know, I think people have to be delighted by it. And it has to just flat out work. And I think that’s been our experience. We just did a couple of different law school, head to head Robot Wars, among the various different genealogy pools. And I’ll just say, you know, Vincent AI did very well, in terms of, you know, the kind of bias and the usefulness of it. I think, you know, we test as most as, as most software developers do, the outputs, I think we’ve benchmarked them. And I think we’ve been pretty favorably impressed with them in the testing. But I mean, American law, in some case, the law of other countries can also reflect bias, I want to be very careful about this. I think you and others have called out software manufacturers for overstating claims about gender to the AI. I don’t want to do that here. I think gender they AI is amazing. But in some sense, these transformers, the T and GPT, are really kind of predicting what the next word is going to be. And not all of the law in the world history is unbiased. And so I think this is a problem we’ll face in the profession. I think it’s it does very well, all these things, but I’ll never say it is completely unbiased. Maybe the last thing to say about it is just the usefulness of it. I think that there’s a lot of things on lawyers too. And legal information professionals do, that they can’t go through. That is just BurgerTime. I think about the document review that we did before he discovery came out, right? Is it useful to have technology assisted review for ediscovery castle with this, as one of the lawyers who did paper discovery back in the day? Anybody who’s had to do that will find it extremely useful if we can automate and mechanize than drugs were. And I will also say, you know, I’m not Panglossian about and I’m not going to say this is the solution that does everything. I always imagined legal work like a chain, right. And we can replace certain links in that chain. But the last links in that chain have to be human judgments. You have to have discriminating information professionals, when you do retrieval augmented generation, who can look at what’s going into making the answer and say include these, not this one, I don’t think this one’s useful. That’s a place where I think fits in really stands out, users can go through audit the list and say, I don’t want to include these two, but I want the rest of them. And I think it is hopefully like more incumbent than ever, that legal information professionals law librarians, paralegals researchers, and lawyers are very, very careful, they’re more discriminating than ever about those sources, you need to make sure that all of the cases exist in the world that they’re not hallucinated, you need to make them verify up, you need to check to make sure that you’re using the right work product from inside of iMatch. And so in some ways, we are automating the worst parts of the work like we did with ediscovery. But it does require and we are more sophisticated, in some ways, we’re more critical and discriminating in some ways, and these are skills that will be important for the next 20 years.

Greg Lambert 18:36
And I’m gonna I’m gonna hit you with a question that isn’t isn’t on the list. And, and hopefully, it’s not outside the scope here. But during the testing of this, was there anything that kind of stood out or surprised you it that worked better than you thought? When when you’re integrating these two products?

Ed Walters 19:00
Yeah, I don’t I don’t have a good answer from the for the iManage front. But I have a great answer. From a demo that I did with Craig Newton, who is the director of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute. We were trying to make videos and screw up. And we were offering a little bit we add the mud tires on. And so we were asking questions that there weren’t answers to, to see if we can make Vincent like make something. And so we were asking questions about to liability when unoccupied autonomous cars crash. And there’s not really any answer to that question. Right. And Craig knew it and he was trying to make it flow or create cases from the future or something.

Greg Lambert 19:51
And which can happen I hear and happens.

Ed Walters 19:56
Didn’t happen. So what happened was, Vincent AI came back concern, I don’t have any cases dealing with autonomous vehicles without occupants. But you might find interesting these analogous cases, from the 1930s when elevators stopped having operators and started running by themselves, the elevators, you used to have a person who was in there, like pulling the alarm and stopping on the fourth floor. Yeah. And at some point, we created self driving elevators. And guess what I mean, some of them had accidents. And then the question is, you know, is the elevator manufacturer liable? Is the building owner, the elevator owner liable? Is the person who gets in the self driving elevator, you know, that responsible because they knew what they’re getting into. I thought that was so interesting, like the idea that a generative AI tool could maybe effectively reason by analogy. And when I thought about it, it’s you know, it’s not really looking at keywords like we used to, it’s like MIT concepts, you know, that your database, like the concepts that are similar are really close together. Right? And the concepts of self driving accidents, I shared a little bit of conceptual DNA with elevators. I think every call

Greg Lambert 21:20
make make sense when you stand back and think about it. So alright, well, let’s, let’s jump over to the the docket alarm and integration with I manage as well. So, you know, talk to us a little bit more about how this is set up. And what what the use cases are for, for firms to kind of automate this this process of moving docket docket information directly into I manage Sure,

Ed Walters 21:50
well, I think people know, docket alarm. The idea is it will track litigation for firms. In addition to being a great research library and analytics library, searching for precedents and things like that. The specific use case here is when something new happens in the case, you get an answer to a complaint, there’s a motion filed in the case, the worst way to do it is to get an email from ECF and Pacer. And you click it and nine people get it, the first person gets the first free Look, everyone else sends an email around to everyone else in the firm to try and figure out who got it who’s got the document.

Greg Lambert 22:36
Or they just log in and pay for it. Right? The with the firm’s credit card? Yes.

Ed Walters 22:40
I mean, there are a lot of people who just pay the 10 cents per page, right? So docket alarm, kind of manage that process. But only to a point, right, so you get one, everyone gets an email with documents attached to it, you don’t have to worry about managing the first free look. And then it’s stored in docket alarm. The problem is that, you know, most I manage users and there’s a lot of them don’t want the doc and alarms, software, the the repo for those documents. And so they’re manually saving them one by one into the right client and matter. And iMac. And there are, you know, I think it’s, you know, probably 75% of the biggest 100 firms in the US use both docket alarm and iManage. And, you know, seven 810 lawyers that affirm docketing clerks, information professionals, law librarians are getting these emails. And nobody knows that someone save it, I manage.

Greg Lambert 23:45
Did I save it into the right folder? Yeah,

Ed Walters 23:48
you did. And then you have this happen scores of times a day. And so this is, I don’t think this is magical. But it’s extremely practical and useful. If you are one of the firm’s that’s using both iManage and docket alarm, when that happens, you’ll still get email, it will still be saved for even docket alarm, but it will also be saved to the client and the matter inside of iManage. He in exactly the right place, it will resolve conflicts, if there’s an update to that document, it’s quite an actually synced. If someone has the wrong version of it, it’ll be replaced by the right version of it, and all securely and nobody has to feed about it. Right. So I don’t know, I think people will tend to push like these kinds of magical AI solutions. I think this is just part of the integration that’s very practical, and very useful.

Greg Lambert 24:42
Is this again, the the cloud version of of iManage that you need to have or is this work is worth. Okay, so, so work is the just make sure I’m clear. That’s the on That’s the cloud version of vie manage, right? So

Ed Walters 25:04
this will save right into wherever you have your I manage it is in the cloud. Okay. Wherever you had your clients and matters for those filings will say directly to them.

Greg Lambert 25:16
Yeah. All right. Well, I know that I manage has their big conference today and tomorrow and, and you’re giving us a nice, early peek into this. Let’s look down the road. While you’re while you’re there at the conference, are you looking at building additional tools and relationships with with I manage that? You think you can kind of get ideas? What what may come down the road?

Ed Walters 25:45
A lot of ideas? Yeah. So I think that there’s, there’s a lot of useful integration points. I’m excited to launch these two that connect live, the New York user event for I manage. But I think these will be the first of many announcements with these integration points. And again, like just the iron of the liberation of these Crown Jewels, there’s been firms that have, you know, created their own Large Language Models that invested to create a foundation model inside the firm. You know, hugely expensive, that’s a really difficult thing to do. And then, you know, whenever there’s new stuff, once a year, once a quarter, once a day, you have to create, like an updated foundation model or something. And I can see why they might do it, right, because these knowledge assets are really important. They’re differentiators for firms. So I hope this is kind of a bridge instead of having to create your own $10 million foundation model. Vincent AI is a bridge between generative AI and your internal work product, your secret sauce, a secure bridge, a sock two compliant bridge, but a bridge that helps law firms to really use and leverage those knowledge assets, using generative AI to differentiate their services at a time where a lot of clients are saying, I want to know what your generative AI strategy is going to be.

Greg Lambert 27:21
Yeah, this this might be one of those things where you may or may have lucked out if you waited a little bit to

Ed Walters 27:33
some timers who did your homework with the epic all nighter? We should have been great. I certainly was.

Greg Lambert 27:42
A college students did that. All right, well, Ed Walters, Chief Strategy Officer at vLex, I want to thank you very much for coming in and taking the time to talk with us about the two new announcements that you have between vLex and iManage. So So Thanks. Thanks for having me, Greg. All right. And of course, thanks to all the listeners for listening to The Geek in Review. If you like what you hear, please share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out, reach out to us online. LinkedIn is probably the best place to get a hold of us, Ed, if somebody wants to learn more, where should they go?

Ed Walters 28:25
LinkedIn, forward slash login forward slash Walters. I think I still have a, you know, Burner Twitter account on X, @EJWalters, but I’m with you. I think I think LinkedIn is where it’s at these days.

Greg Lambert 28:40
I think so for the legal profession. That seems to be where we’re, we’re housing right now. So and, of course, the music that you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. So thank you, Jerry. And thanks again Ed.

Ed Walters 28:54
Thanks, Greg.