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Robot lawyers are thriving during the pandemic

Fortune: “…I spoke with Jason Brennan, the chief executive officer of U.K.-based legal A.I. company Luminance. He told me the company, which now has more than 250 customers across the globe, including a fifth of the world’s largest 100 law firms, has had a 30% increase in customers since the start of 2020….This is important because it turns out that a lot of the “grunt work” of Big Law involves doing exactly what Luminance does: combing through vast troves of documents, trying to find those clauses that might be problematic. Maybe they need to be updated due to a regulatory change. Or maybe they are part of the contracts held by a company that is being acquired and would open up a big liability issue for the buyer. Either way, law firms once deployed small armies of paralegals and junior associates to find them. It used to be that law firms could simply charge for all this labor and pass the cost on to the client. But that hasn’t been true for at least a decade. These days, clients are more likely to demand law firms accept a flat fee for this sort of work, or pay based on some pre-agreed outcome, not on man hours. So firms have had to become much more efficient. Corporate in-house legal departments are also having to do more with less…”

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