In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer celebrate the one-year anniversary of CoCounsel, the pioneering Generative AI Legal Research Tool launched by CaseText. They are joined by Pablo Arredondo, Vice President of CoCounsel at Thomson Reuters and co-founder of CaseText, to discuss the significant strides and challenges faced in developing and implementing generative AI in legal research. Pablo shares insights into the early days of exploring generative AI and the transformative potential it held for overcoming the limitations of traditional keyword-based search methods in legal research.

The conversation delves into the technical and strategic journey of bringing CoCounsel to market, highlighting the team’s rapid pivot to leverage GPT-4 technology and the collaborative effort that ensured its successful launch. Pablo emphasizes the importance of quality control, trust, and addressing the nuanced requirements of legal research to ensure that CoCounsel met the high expectations of its users, including law librarians and legal professionals.

Pablo also reflects on the broader implications of generative AI for the legal industry, including the rapid adoption by law firms and legal departments seeking to leverage this technology to enhance their research capabilities and workflow efficiencies. The discussion touches on the ongoing challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI, such as regulatory considerations, ethical concerns, and the need for continuous education and adaptation within the legal profession.

The acquisition of CaseText by Thomson Reuters is discussed, with Pablo sharing his perspective on the strategic move and its potential to further expand and enhance CoCounsel’s capabilities and reach. He highlights the synergy between CaseText’s innovative approach and Thomson Reuters’ extensive resources and market presence, which together aim to drive the next wave of advancements in legal technology and research tools.

Finally, the episode explores future directions for generative AI in legal research, including the expansion of CoCounsel’s capabilities to encompass a wider range of legal tasks and its potential to transform the practice of law. Pablo’s enthusiasm for the possibilities ahead underscores the significant impact that generative AI is set to have on the legal industry, promising to revolutionize how legal professionals interact with information and conduct research.

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⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Pablo Arredondo on the One-Year Anniversary of CoCounsel

The Geek in Review podcast welcomed Kriti Sharma, Chief Product Officer of Legal Tech at Thomson Reuters, to discuss AI and ethics in the legal industry. Kriti talks to us about the importance of diversity at Thomson Reuters and how it impacts product development. She explained TR’s approach to developing AI focused on augmenting human skills rather than full automation. Kriti also discusses the need for more regulation around AI and the shift towards human skills as AI takes on more technical work.

A major theme was the responsible development and adoption of AI tools like ChatGPT. She discusses the risks of bias but shared TR’s commitment to building trusted and ethical AI grounded in proven legal content. Through this “grounding” of the information, the AI produces reliable answers lawyers can confidently use and reduce the hallucinations that are prevalent in publicly commercial Gen AI tools.

Kriti shares her passion for ensuring people from diverse backgrounds help advance AI in law. She argues representation is critical in who develops the tech and what data trains it to reduce bias. Kriti explains that diversity of experiences and knowledge amongst AI creators is key to building inclusive products that serve everyone’s needs. She emphasizes Thomsons Reuters’ diversity across leadership, which informs development of thoughtful AI. Kriti states that as AI learns from its creators and data like humans do, we must be intentional about diverse participation. Having broad involvement in shaping AI will lead to technology that is ethical and avoids propagating systemic biases. Kriti makes a compelling case that inclusive AI creation is imperative for both building trust and realizing the full potential of the technology to help underserved communities.

Kriti Sharma highlights the potential for AI to help solve major societal challenges through her non-profit AI for Good. For example, democratizing access to helpful legal and mental health information. She spoke about how big companies like TR can turn this potential into actual services benefiting underserved groups. Kriti advocated for collaboration between industry, government and civil society to develop beneficial applications of AI.

Kriti founded the non-profit AI for Good to harness the power of artificial intelligence to help solve pressing societal challenges. Through AI for Good, Kriti has led the development of AI applications focused on expanding access to justice, mental healthcare, and support services for vulnerable groups. For example, the organization created the chatbot tool rAInbow to provide information and resources to those experiencing domestic violence. By partnering frontline organizations with technologists, AI for Good aims to democratize access to helpful services and trusted information. Kriti sees huge potential for carefully constructed AI to have real positive impact in areas like legal services for underserved communities.

Looking ahead, Kriti says coordinated AI regulations are needed globally. She calls for policymakers, companies and society to work together to establish frameworks that enable adoption while addressing risks. With the right balance, AI can transform legal services for the better.

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⁠⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Thomson Reuters’ Kriti Sharma on Responsible AI: The Path to Trusted Tech in Law

This week we have Damien Riehl, VP, Litigation Workflow and Analytics Content at FastCase, and one of the drivers behind SALI (Standards Advancement for   for the Legal Industry.) Damien is definitely a “big thinker” when it comes to the benefits of creating and using standards for the legal industry. SALI is a system of tagging legal information to allow for better filtering and analysis. It works like Amazon’s product tags, where a user can search for a specific area of law, such as patent law, and then choose between various services such as advice, registration, transactional, dispute, or bankruptcy services. The tags cover everything from the substance of law to the business of law, with over 13,000 tags in the latest version. SALI is being adopted by major legal information providers such as Thomson Reuters, Lexis, Bloomberg, NetDocuments, and iManage, with each provider using the same standardized identifiers for legal work. With this standardization, it will be possible to perform the same API query across different providers and receive consistent results. Imagine the potential of being able to ask one question that is understood by all your database and external systems?
In that same vein, we expand our discussion to include how Artificial Intelligence tools like Large Language Models (i.e., ChatGPT, Google BARD, Meta’s LLM) could assist legal professionals in their quest to find information, create documents, and help outline legal processes and practices.
He proposed three ways of thinking about the work being done by these models, which are largely analogous to traditional methods. The first way is what Riehl refers to as a “bullshitter,” where a model generates information without providing citations for the information. The second way is called a “searcher,” where a model generates a legal brief, but does not provide citations, forcing the user to search for support. The third way is called a “researcher,” where the model finds relevant cases and statutes, extracts relevant propositions, and crafts a brief based on them.
Riehl believes that option three, being a researcher, is the most likely to win in the future, as it provides “ground truth” from the start. He cites Fastcase’s acquisition of Judicata as an example of how AI can be used to help with research by providing unique identifiers for every proposition and citation, enabling users to evaluate the credibility of the information. In conclusion, Riehl sees a future where AI is used to help researchers by providing a pick list of the most common propositions and citations, which can then be further evaluated by the researcher.
One thing is very clear, we are just at the beginning of a shift in how the legal industry processes information. Riehl’s one-two combination of SALI Standards combined with additional AI and human capabilities will create a divide amongst the bullshitters, the searchers, and the researchers.

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Transcript

Continue Reading The Bullshitter, The Searcher, and The Researcher – Damien Riehl on the Dynamic Shift in How the Legal Profession Will Leverage Standards and Artificial Intelligence

This week we talk with Factor’s Ed Sohn and Michael Callier on the consulting for in-house legal teams through what they describe as New Law companies. New Law is who corporate legal counsel reach out to in order to streamline their operations and find ways of integrating themselves into the overall mission of the corporation, rather than just the department which mitigates legal and business risks. Sohn and Callier stress that New Law companies are not a threat to established law firms, but rather a partner who can help firms differentiate themselves from their peers by allowing for the consultation to clients for alternative legal strategies.
Ed Sohn on Barriers to Adoption in Law
Process adoption, or its failure oftentimes rests with people. It actually rests with social learning. it actually rests with how do you celebrate and story tell and create a culture that’s conducive to the adoption of technology and innovation. 
Michael Callier on Change Management in the Legal Industry
To be honest, it’s not that people fear change, it’s that people fear the loss associated with change. We change every day. We change clothes. We eat different things. We go to different places that we’ve never been before. So it’s not it’s not fear of change, it’s fear of the loss associated with change. And so in particular, with the legal industry.

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Information Inspirations
Jean O’Grady helps bring Thomson Reuters’ abandonment of 24/7 Research Attorney Help Desk from her Dewey B. Strategic Blog, as well as her discussion on Bob Ambrogi’s Legal Journalists Roundtable.
Mergers are hot!
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Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript 

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 143 – Factor’s Ed Sohn and Michael Callier on Leading through New Law

While technology is part of innovation, technology alone is not innovation. We brought in three guests this week to talk about what they are doing to innovate in the area of process improvement and give us some examples of some of the projects they are working on.
There is a methodology when it comes to how law firms handle process improvement. O’Neil’s process starts with communicating with the attorney and staff teams to determine what pain points they have and evaluate the current workflow. Sometimes it is as simple as tweaking the processes that already exist by adding or removing steps in the workflow, or by adding or removing the number of people involved. Sometimes it means reaching out to Alana and Jack to see how a technology tool like HighQ can improve the overall workflow through automation and improvements in communications and clearly defining and assigning steps in the overall process.
The firm’s clients are also involved in the process improvement design as well. Carson and Godsey mentioned that including clients in the overall process enables them to define what they need, and makes the law firm/client relationship stickier so that the clients really feel like a part of the firm’s efforts toward process improvement and creating a better value for the client.
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As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 129 – Zen and the Art of Process Improvement – Tiffany O’Neil, Alana Carson, and Jack Godsey

I am writing this blog post on the plane as I fly back to Toronto from Halifax, having just spent the last three days at the CALL/ACBD annual conference. The conference was fantastic, highlights for me included an opening session with Jordan Furlong who suggested we are entering an era of Legal Intelligence – a topic near and dear to my heart, a stellar lunch keynote from Janet Maybee on the wrongful conviction of Pilot Francis Mackey in respect to the 1917 Halifax explosion, and of course a meet up with fellow 3 Geeks blogger Greg Lambert. I think my colleagues from Thomson Reuters Canada showed him just how the vendor client relationship can actually be quite strong and positive.  But all of that pales in comparison to the many great one-on-one conversations that I was able to have with people about the state of the industry, the position of law librarianship, the influence of legal tech – AI, Machine Learning, predictive analytics and what the (very exciting) future holds for all of us.
Continue Reading Bored Walk and Profit Place

Image [cc] Vyperx1

We very often hear from bloggers on this site regarding the struggles associated with change and innovation.  Fear of failure, lack of inertia, protecting territories—all seem to be stumbling blocks that many firms face when initiating change.  It seems, however, some organizations have found a way to successfully encourage and nurture new ideas