The informative legal automation news site Artificial Lawyer reports that major international business firm Addleshaw Goddard (AG), based in the UK, has appointed Kerry Westland head of its new 150-member Innovation and Legal Technology team. The firm has been incorporating technology into its operations increasingly since 2010, when it established a group with responsibility for improving the firm’s efficiency to clients.

AG’s approach to the use of artificial intelligence and other legal technology nurtures its permeation of all work that the firm does, rather than employing it on an ad hoc or departmental basis. AG’s commitment to legal technology is apparent from a quick glance at its website, where it promotes its “Intelligent Delivery” approach to all of its legal services.

Artificial Lawyer refers to AG’s approach as “baking in” legal tech. Westland says that increasingly, “RFPs from clients ask firms to outline how they are using AI, how they will handle project management and how will clients benefit from better service delivery design.”

She says that the firm’s strategic incorporation of legal tech means that AG has “moved on significantly from a business model where each piece of work was treated as a one-off and rarely project-managed, or analysed to see where efficiencies in legal production could be found for the client.”

The work of Westland and others who are looking at how to “bake in” legal tech is facilitated by such companies as Kira Systems, “machine learning contract analysts,” a company that is now being used by many of the world’s largest law firms – including DLA Piper, Torys LLP, Baker Donalson and many others.

For these major law firms, the “baked in” approach to legal tech is today’s reality, not a vision for tomorrow. How far away from that approach is your firm? Don’t all of your clients deserve the most efficient and effective legal services they can find? Can you promise to deliver the best service without incorporating AI and legal tech into all aspects of your practice? Increasingly, the obvious answer is “No.”

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