Artificial intelligence in the law moves step closer as Riverview teams up with top academics

Chapman: quicker and better decisions

Chapman: quicker and better decisions

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) to the legal market has moved a step closer after Riverview Law teamed up with Liverpool University to leverage the university’s leading AI expertise.

The pair have entered into a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) to apply computer science expertise in AI, text processing, network analysis, computational argumentation and data mining to legal services.

A primary objective is “to automate some of the cognitive abilities of knowledge workers to provide organisations with intelligent decision support tools”.

A report last year by Jomati predicted that robots and AI will dominate legal practice within 15 years, perhaps leading to the “structural collapse” of law firms.

It is Riverview’s latest technology move, having last month to exploit the software it has built. Further, chief executive Karl Chapman is chairing a technology advisory council, set up by the Managing Partners Forum, to work with IBM and others to shape the development into the professions of ‘cognitive’ decision tools such as IBM Watson.

Mr Chapman said: “This is another big step in the evolution and growth of Riverview Law. We are very focused on providing expert systems and tools that support knowledge work and the way AI and such systems can help our teams and our customers make quicker and better decisions.”

Riverview is working with the agent applications, research, and technology (Agent ART) group of the university’s Department of Computer Science.

The university’s website explains that the group carries out “basic and applied research into intelligent autonomous agents and multi-agent systems. Agents are computer systems that are capable of self-interested autonomous action in dynamic, unpredictable environments in order to meet their design objectives”.

Reader Dr Katie Atkinson – who is also vice-president of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law – said: “From our first meeting we were struck by the commitment Riverview’s team has to the application of technology, not only in its own business but also in the way it delivers services to its global customers. Meetings with those customers and the wider Riverview Law team simply confirmed our desire to work with them and show how we can commercialise our research.”


    Readers Comments

  • This is welcome news! It is a pioneering example of the transition from theory into practice from speeches / articles / counsel that myself and other futurists / advisers have been sharing these past years with public and private audiences.

    AI and robotics is not to be feared but embraced. The differentiator will be ‘humanness’ at every level; this requires high EI and relationship / BD / rainmaking skills at every level. Smart lawyers will begin transiting toward hybrid tech & human lawyer NOW, because in all likelihood it won’t be 2030 when the ‘structural collapse’ of law firms and the profession will occur (as predicted by Jomanti), but more likely 2020-2025, IMHO; based on discussions with IBM and Google and interviewing scientists, technologists, AI experts and futurists recently (and in light of Riverview’s revelation this week).

    Now that AI and robotics has hit the mainstream press and continues to infiltrate the legal ecosystem these past few years, and society at large, particularly with reference to the driverless car, google glass and avatars which will all become ‘mainstream’ in society and the legal world 2015-2020, and the evolution of IBM Watson moving from cognitive computing to iterative, I actually predict that our greatest challenge right now is dealing with technology that is progressing at an exponential rate while our ethics, social contracts and laws remain linear.

    The power of technology and AI has already surpassed the scope of our ethics and law, imho. To find a balance between ethics and technology we must go beyond fear.

    I cannot possibly comment in depth here so I will explain my standpoint in an up and coming article …

    Chrissie Lightfoot
    Author of ‘Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer: Newtech, NewHuman, NewLaw – How to be successful 2015 to 2045′ (Dec 2014) and prequel best-seller ‘The Naked Lawyer: RIP to XXX – How to Market, Brand and Sell You!’ (Dec 2010)

  • I am seriously looking forward to the outcome of this collaboration. Anything that can improve lawyer productivity is to be embraced, not feared. If as Jomati surmise structural collapse occurs then so be it. After all the volume of work for mercers, wheelwrights and others ‘tanked’ too.

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