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Blog Feb 16, 2017

How General Counsels benefit from AI

Ahead of “The Alternative In-House Technology Summit 2017“ in Oxford, we asked our Managing Director UK, Richard Belgrave about his views on the impact that innovative technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can have on legal departments and how General Counsels can benefit.

How can technology and innovation in the legal
department increase business output and drive efficiency?

Technology comes in many shapes and sizes, but the way I see it, it should be utilised to do the work we don’t want to do as humans – and in many cases it can do it even better than we can! A lot of work done within legal departments is both repetitive and time consuming. However, it’s not just individual tasks that can be automated and improved through technology but wholesale processes and workflow management. Smart technology can perform faster and with less mistakes than humans can; and not to mention with less HR burden involved. All in all, the right technology is contributing to enhanced business output and efficiency.

To what extent do legal departments already facilitate
their work with the help of technology and
what developments do you expect next?

We have seen a rise in things like e-Discovery and tech based solutions for contract drafting, comparison, etc. I see 2017 as the year in which Artificial Intelligence is no longer only spoken about but actually implemented. For the last 2 years it feels as if AI has been nothing more than a widely used buzzword. Yet, as the legal world wakes up to the benefits of Deep Learning / Machine Learning technologies, for example, I see wide scale deployment across both law firms and the corporate world. The legal industry is still very much drowning in unstructured data and I see AI as a catalyst for more emphasis on actionable, structured data to support better decision making within institutions.

Artificial Intelligence is not science-fiction anymore.
What actual impacts does it already have on legal

AI is allowing legal departments to work faster and focus on what legal departments should be doing – adding value! Too much time and money is spent on the utilisation of human capital to do repetitive tasks that can be done much more efficiently when leveraging the power of AI. This is giving legal departments a new voice within organisations as they can drive cost saving and process improvement initiatives.

What role will the in-house legal departments take
regarding the Lease Accounting transition to
IFRS 16 / FASB ASC 842? How can Deep Learning technology facilitate this for global corporations?

You know what, I think legal departments at the moment probably don’t see that they have a big role but they should. As representatives of the corporate world, they should feel obliged to ensure best practice at all times and should take the reigns in supporting finance departments to ensure an orderly and well managed transition.

Perhaps the idealist in me sees AI and the utilisation thereof as a secret weapon that legal departments can push throughout organisations. The General Counsel and their team are trusted and reliable. They can raise their status through advocating the use of a time and cost effective approach to finding, managing and processing lease data – as well as ensuring that any IFRS 16 related solutions are sustainable. IFRS 16 transitions are a jigsaw puzzle. There is finding documents, creating structured data out of them, validation of data, appropriate liability accounting, financial management; the list goes on. Deep Learning technology provides an optimal solution for turning your unstructured documentation into structured and actionable data. The beauty about Machine Learning technology is that through repetition it gets smarter and more effective, rather than more tired and prone to making mistakes.

MD Richard Belgrave and CEO Emilio Matthaei will be at “The Alternative In-House Technology Summit 2017” in Oxford on February 7-8. Stop by at the LEVERTON exhibition stand and learn about the benefits LEVERTON’s Deep Learning technology can have for your business.

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