Company mergers may not sound like the sort of thing that could be automated, but the truth is, not even a lawyer’s job is safe. Luminance, a UK startup, widely released an A.I. on Wednesday that can read through reams of papers and flag up potential issues during mergers and acquisitions. The system is capable of cutting down a lawyer’s workload significantly, leaving them with more time to focus on other tasks.
“Legal due diligence is ripe for the revolution that artificial intelligence offers,” Steve Cooke, senior partner at Slaughter and May, told Bloomberg. Cooke’s firm helped test out Luminance, finding that the system could undertake document reviews in half the time of traditional flesh-based lawyers.
The system has attracted big names, with venture capital firm Invoke financing the project for an undisclosed sum. Invoke’s founder, Mike Lynch, has personally expressed confidence in Luminance, claiming it’s the only system he has witnessed read language and interpret it, rather than acting as an expensive text search tool. Luminance can even understand where legal issues may arise, ensuring employee contracts won’t run afoul of regulation.
“This enables lawyers to manage the process much more efficiently and that they enjoy the process of diligence in a way that they didn’t necessarily previously,” Sally Wokes, partner at Slaughter and May, told Bloomberg.
Lawyers may still be able to carve out a niche for themselves, but automation is slowly creeping into their lives. Stanford student Joshua Browder recently expanded his DoNotPay parking ticket chatbot to cover homelessness issues, allowing users to receive free legal advice by answering a number of simple questions.
Browder believes his tech could be expanded further to cover issues like immigration applications and helping speakers of other languages. The potential for A.I. lawyers was a sentiment echoed by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell earlier this week, who said that he believed the role of the paralegal would eventually be automated.