Movies may lead us to believe that law begins and ends in the courtroom, amidst gavel-banging and shouts of “objection!”. In reality, the rule of law is upheld by a complex, far less grandiose, constantly evolving framework of policies built upon centuries of historical data in the form of legislation, judicial precedent, and academic opinion.
Bearing in mind the legal maxim ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, there has always been an overarching need to balance between time-consuming legal research, and the need to serve justice as quickly as possible. LexisNexis, a leading global provider of legal, regulatory and business information and analytics, seeks to bridge this gap by helping legal professionals access a vast collection of authoritative legal content with an innovative suite of time-saving legal solutions.
Min Chen, Chief Technology Officer, LexisNexis Asia Pacific & Global Search, shares how AI is making the work of legal practitioners more convenient.
The evolving nature of legal work
The risk-averse nature of the legal industry has led to the slower adoption of technology and innovations, says Chen. However, the unprecedented situations created by the Covid-19 pandemic forced the industry toward digital transformation, as observed by Gaythri Raman, Managing Director of LexisNexis Southeast Asia.
Lawyers are communicating with clients virtually, legal institutions are now starting to adopt new technologies and governments are providing fundings for digital innovations. Singapore government is providing funding for legal firms to adopt new technologies, while China and Malaysia adopted video conferencing to continue court trials during the pandemic.
These changes resulted in new ways of gathering, sharing, and dealing with information, creating the perfect opportunity for the introduction of legal technology. For example, law firms are actively seeking solutions to automate repetitive manual tasks to stay competitive, in-house counsels recognise the potential of legal analytics in helping them stay on top off the law and compliance, and governments are open to better, faster, more reliable sources to support drafting of policies.
The one thing that legal professionals across different segments need is better decision-making tools and legal technology hugely lends itself here. Min shared that LexisNexis has the capability to help legal professionals work more efficiently with both legal content and advanced technology, including Natural Language Processing, Natural Language Understanding, Machine Learning, deep learning, computer vision, and more.
Extract key knowledge
Legal research and the process of extracting relevant legal information is the second nature to most legal professionals but it can also be a very complex and time-consuming task that can now be made a lot easier with game-changing technologies like deep learning, says Chen.
One such solution developed by LexisNexis is Lexis Analytics. The tool is able to first understand complex and lengthy text-based briefs, then contextualise the text and even process different computational written and spoken use of language, to finally produce relevant insights to be used in a legal matter, in mere seconds.
Lexis Analytics was launched in 2021 and is designed to capitalise on knowledge and insight extraction capabilities. The solution was inspired by a typical scenario faced by lawyers that is the struggle to refine their research before finding the most relevant results to create a solid case submission. This revolutionary solution helps lawyers to not only conduct deep research but also support strategic planning, instead of having to construct complex individual search queries, the AI mechanisms behind this solution captures the legal issues and key facts through knowledge extraction capabilities.
What used to be seen as a complex and nearly impossible solution is now achievable with deep learning and knowledge graph. These technologies help to understand the semantic meaning within the context of a paragraph and semantic relationship between documents, and this sets it apart from other search tools, added Chen.
Cutting down on manpower hours
While finding the right legal document is one challenge, reading through them is another. Having summaries could significantly reduce the time taken to review multiple documents and help practitioners quickly read over a document’s key points, but these summaries aren’t freely available, and they are time-consuming to produce, Chen notes.
There are millions of cases there, getting labor efforts on such work is very challenging because it’s both time and resource consuming, this is not an effective use of a practitioners’ time. AI provides a cost-effective and quicker alternative. To further provide faster accessibility to the law, LexisNexis designed an automated summary technology that could automatically identify and summarise the key points of a legal case, such as the decisions, rationales, and outcomes.
In order to improve coverage of high-quality case summary to our customers, we delivered an automation solution to accelerate the caselaw document summaries process including identification & summary of rule-of-law sentences, key holdings, rationales, outcomes & etc through multiple state-of-the-art deep learning technologies, says Chen.
Given the length of caselaw documents and complexity of the legal domain, this task is even more challenging than other summarizations tasks in other industries you’ve seen. And that’s why deep learning can make a big difference for the legal industry.