I’m excited to be joined by Peter Wallqvist, Vice President of Strategy at iManage, for the second of a two-part blog series on legal document management solutions. Konica Minolta and All Covered — the IT Services Division of Konica Minolta — have a strategic partnership with iManage, which provides cutting-edge legal document management solutions. iManage recently acquired RAVN Systems, a UK-based company that developed an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can organize, discover and summarize relevant information from large volumes of documents and unstructured data.
Artificial Intelligence is disrupting and transforming the delivery of legal services, and key partnerships in this space is crucial. It’s changing the way attorneys go about analyzing the best approach to reviewing large document populations. As such, this will inevitably affect how lawyers interact with their client base that’s also becoming savvy on this new trend —which can be a significant cost saving proposition for their organization.
What was the catalyst for the recent announcement of the iManage/RAVN partnership?
Wallqvist: Since its inception, RAVN has focused on understanding the content of document management and other forms of “unstructured” data. This effort led us to develop software that’s able to read, interpret and understand documents which, in turn, helps to automate routine cognitive processes within organizations. iManage, on the other hand, has spent its longer existence creating a world-leading platform for managing, structuring and securing documents and work product, without previously having much interest in the actual content of the data under management. This meant that two very distinct pieces to the puzzle of effectively managing and automating business processes came together in one holistic platform.
Do you feel that the legal community is ready to embrace artificial intelligence and, if so, what do you believe will be the challenges ahead of adoption?
Wallqvist: The readiness is quite disparate at the moment. Some legal professionals are keen to get started, others don’t know where or how to start. We believe that true adoption will only take place when AI elements are infused into the fabric of what lawyers and other professionals already do on a daily basis. That’s another catalyst of the acquisition. Instead of lawyers needing to seek out AI, we’ll be able to deliver AI for lawyers in a much more natural fashion than before.
Can you explain how the AI platform will be a value-add and differentiator for legal customers?
Wallqvist: Since the AI software is able to learn and improve by example, the huge differentiator that law firms can exploit is their big trove of existing data. An established firm has that major advantage over an upstart: they have decades, sometimes centuries, of experience in the documents and data they possess. It’s only if they choose not to exploit this data in any way that they may be open to disruption by newer entrants.
How can artificial intelligence innovate a legal practice?
Wallqvist: Many of our clients have set up “desks” within the law firm or corporation. A “desk” is a term used by corporations to refer to a group of individuals within the organization who specialize in a given area. Some of our clients have “AI expertise groups” where others within their firm can go and ask if a particular task within a matter is appropriate for RAVN technology. It’s often a journey for them to find out where in the business AI technologies may be of benefit. Sometimes it’s obvious, other times it helps that they have done something for one project using artificial intelligence, and they can then easily make the leap in realizing that the same process model can be applied for another project.
Do you have any predictions for 2018 as it relates to how lawyers will implement AI in the course of business?
Wallqvist: We believe that many will exploit the fact that products and services — which they already use — will start having AI components in them, such as iManage. The true power of AI is when you don’t even notice it. A similar example is consumer vehicles, specifically self-driving cars. No one is adding an AI platform to their “non-smart car” – instead, people are buying a car with this functionality already built-in. As you are driving in your self-driving car, you know there is AI technology running in the background, but you don’t actually see it working. That same behavior is likely to occur with information management software, too.
I want to thank Peter today for providing more information on the iManage and RAVN partnership and, more so, for explaining how legal document management solutions and AI should be so seamless that we do not even know it’s there. However, I don’t think I’m ready for the self-driving cars or self-flying planes. There’s something about hand-on-wheels that gives me a level of comfort.
Konica Minolta’s legal solutions strive to provide our customers with current products, services and solutions that keep pace with the current climate. In addition, we have the foresight to understand that as the legal arena begins to embrace artificial technology, robotic process automation and machine learning, our strategic partnerships will continue to align as well. It makes perfect sense that legal document management solutions and artificial intelligence will make the perfect marriage. The benefits will soon outweigh any hesitation to move forward and it will be prudent to have a game plan, well before clients begin to ask one key question: “How can this legal case benefit by the use of AI?”
As I mentioned in a recent blog, Why Law Firms Must Embrace Robotics & Technological Changes: “I hope that the legal industry is gearing up for the new changes because, like a runaway train, it’s coming whether we like it or not.”
Peter Wallqvist is Vice President of Strategy at iManage. He started his career in the information retrieval industry as a research engineer at BT Research at the turn of the millennium. From there he went on to being part of delivering some of the largest and high profile search and unstructured data processing systems in the world. In 2010, he co-founded AI pioneer RAVN Systems, which was acquired by iManage in 2017.