Interview: Chrissie Lightfoot

Chrissie Lightfoot - named in the 2015 list of the ‘World’s Top Female Futurists‘ & LinkedIn as the No.1 best-connected & most engaged woman in the legal industry”.

An inspirational woman entrepreneur, a solicitor (non -practising), consultant and regular international Keynote speaker, Chrissie Lighfoot is participating in the panel discussion Leveraging digital data growth with artificial intelligence( AI) in legal services at ARK's  Legal IT  conference on 28 January.

Ahead of the conference we sent some questions her way to discuss AI in legal services, how firms can be doing more and what to expect from the panel discussion.
 

You are speaking on our panel discussion Leveraging digital data growth with artificial intelligence (AI) in legal services. Do you think law firms are doing enough with regards to this topic?
 

Unfortunately, no. Nowhere near enough. It's reminiscent of the slow take up by lawyers and law firms of online social networking and social media, a game-changer for supporting lawyers and law firms in marketing and sales yet it was viewed with suspicion and a “let’s wait and see attitude”.

AI has the potential to be a real boon for the legal-ecosystem in a very positive way. It will help improve the quality of lawyering with regard to accuracy, advice, time savings and cost savings for lawyers and firms.

With the exception of a tiny handful of law firms here in the UK and abroad that have begun to grasp the benefits that AI brings to the legal field, the vast majority remain tinkering around the edges with ‘should we embrace this new technology’. Once they’ve broken down that barrier, considering ‘how to deploy it in our current business model to increase efficiency and productivity’ is the next hurdle, and one that many haven’t figured out yet.

Many are not even in the mindset of having a technology enabled legal service let alone being a technology led legal provider, like Riverview Law.   

How do you think smaller firms can embrace AI and cognitive computing?
 

The challenge for small firms is to consider current AI system options (such as Kira, Ravn, IBM Watson, Neota logic) for the purpose to suit their business models and realise that the cost does not need to be beyond their reach. They can embrace AI and cognitive computing by simply beginning the conversations with the providers and understanding what exactly is possible from solo lawyer to international behemoth. All of these AI systems handle large (and smaller) quantities of structured and unstructured data, and can assist with advocacy and advisory related legal issues.

Your book Tomorrows Naked Lawyer discusses the impact AI is currently having on the law. In your experience, what percentage of firms are starting to take AI seriously?

0.0000001 %. Facta non verba. Action not talk is required. Currently there is a lot of talk, but a miniscule amount of action and actual take-up / real deployment. Shocking. But not at all surprising. Lawyers are behaving as they always have. Very slow to change and adapt. Unfortunately, for those that don’t embrace AI soon they won’t have anything to advise or talk about!

What do you think is the biggest challenge AI will present the legal industry with?

The biggest challenge AI will present the legal industry with is how will providers use this new technology to create new opportunities. The opportunity and challenge will be to create something new in legal with this kind of game-changing technology.

Providers of legal services will be challenged to think of new ways to be of service, to produce, to be different, to be truly innovative in using AI systems across the entire spectrum of fee-earner processes and business processes.

For example, Riverview Law with its AI virtual assistant KIM (Knowledge, Intelligence, Meaning), which effectively delivers ‘automation on demand’.

 

What can people expect from the panel discussion at Legal IT?

It will be educational, informative, enlightening, consultative, advisory and provocative!

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Chrissie Lightfoot is part of a stellar line-up of must-see speakers from ARK's independently researched programme.
 
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