AI not science fiction, says law firm leader

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AI will soon be “commonplace” in the business of law, according to one Australian managing partner, and law firms with their own AI may gain a “narrow edge”.
Speaking with Australasian Lawyer, Pinsent Masons Australia managing partner David Rennick said many firms are increasingly getting to grips with AI technologies.
Rennick provided the example of the firm’s own proprietary matter management technology, TermFrame, which was built by its own team of computer scientists and legal engineers to put AI into a practical context for lawyers and clients. 
TermFrame uses Pinsent Masons’ own intitutional know-how to achieve a more consistent approach to project management, greater transparency on matter status, and more efficient outcomes by presenting lawyers involved in projects with relevant legal knowledge and prcedural prompts at the appropriate junctures of a project.
TermFrame has so far proven useful enough for the firm’s global offices that it is piloting the software with in-house legal teams and even other law firms, such as firms who may be working on the same transation but based in another jurisdiction.
“What makes our AI different is that, having developed it internally, we have greater flexibility to build it around client need and configure it, rather than if we were to use some of the ‘off the shelf’ systems in the market,” Rennick said.
“We believe we have a narrow edge over the competition in that regard and we will keep working to stay ahead of the pack, but without doubt AI is coming of age – it’s not science fiction, it’s something that will be relatively commonplace before you know it.”
Rennick said the system could increasingly benefit Australian clients. “We see a real hunger and desire from our clients in Australia for doing things differently and better, eliminating waste, promoting efficiency and achieving better outcomes for clients. It serves as a real differentiator and we see ourselves as a disruptor in the market.
TermFrame has powered legal processes in over 7000 matters, and in 2016, an average of 280 matter records per month have been generated. The system is built to ‘flex’ by accommodating numerous avenues down which a matter might progress.