Leading defendant law firm Keoghs has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) driven service that cuts legal costs for insurer clients by enabling them to handle work that is currently done by its lawyers.
Its “AI lawyer”, called Lauri, is initially for what are called “avoidable litigation” cases – generally standard, low-value claims like whiplash – but Keoghs has ambitions to expand its reach significantly.
Until now, insurance companies’ claims handlers negotiated the settlement of cases pre-litigation, but in the event that proceedings were started, they instructed Keoghs.
Now, they simply email all the papers, such as the medical report, to Lauri, which opens a file via Keoghs’ case management system, extracts the relevant information, creates the acknowledgement of service and then emails the claims handler back with strategic advice, such as a view on the value of the claim.
This all takes a matter of seconds. The claims handler can then continue to negotiate a settlement; if they succeed, then the insurer pays a fee to Keoghs but it is a small fraction of what they paid previously.
If this fails, the case is then passed to a lawyer at Keoghs to proceed in the traditional manner.
As Lauri – which has a female persona – communicates directly via email using natural language processing, there is no need for handlers to log into a portal or get to grips with a new system.
As well as cost, time is saved at both ends – previously the claims handler might have had to rekey information and Keoghs would have had to undertake its processes manually too. This could take a couple of days.
Keoghs partner and director of product development Dene Rowe, said: “There has been a lot of talk in the industry over the last year or two regarding AI, in particular solutions being discussed that almost hijack the true meaning of artificial intelligence.
“Our approach is to bring a true game-changer to market, a solution that is fully automated and robotic in nature but importantly delivers a quantum leap in speed, efficiency and cost reduction.
“Additionally, we did not want to simply bring a DIY-litigation portal based system to market that would create duplication and inefficiencies in our clients’ own businesses.
“For AI to be embraced, there has to be a benefit for our clients, and replicating a human interaction with no extra systems, logins or processes is crucial. With Lauri, the claims handler simply communicates through email as they generally would at present with human lawyers.”
Mr Rowe told Legal Futures that he did have to make a strong case internally about the wisdom of reducing what the firm could charge clients for, but said clients did not see much value in this work anyway.
“You have to take a longer-term view with clients,” he said; Keoghs was building stronger relationships with innovations like this.
If Keoghs did not do it, he added, another firm would: “It’s better to shoot yourself in the foot than have somebody else do it somewhere else.”
Mr Rowe said this was just the start for Lauri – in time, he thought it would be able to create defences in certain types of cases and handle stages 2 and 3 of the RTA portal process.
Meanwhile, ‘Robot Lawyer’ LISA, an AI app that until now offered a free non-disclosure agreement service, has expanded to allow users to create business leases, residential leases and lodger agreements together with the other party.
Its co-creator, Chrissie Lightfoot, said: “LISA’s machine impartiality means it can act on behalf of both the creator of the document and receiver, negating the need for human lawyers for both parties…
“These new tools are not only more cost-effective than visiting a human lawyer but it also takes less time. The process of creating a document can also be started anywhere in the world, at any time, on any device.”
She said property seemed an obvious area to expand to, given the frequency with which agreements needed to be drafted.
Ms Lightfoot continued: “In the UK, only one in 10 people and businesses take advice from a solicitor or barrister, meaning a huge proportion of small and medium businesses and consumers muddle on without legal representation, because they don’t have the time, resources or feel comfortable talking to a human lawyer.
“LISA aims to solve that problem, by giving the latent legal market an opportunity to self-help and self-serve by providing them with a convenient way to achieve quality legal insight and advice which they desperately need and want.”
We reported in August that LISA had teamed up with Billy Bot, the AI-powered junior barristers’ clerk, to ensure parties had access to human lawyers, should they want one.