Chapman Tripp says artificial Intelligence automates tasks, not jobs

Law firm launches technology and innovation business.

Tapping into artificial intelligence will give law firm Chapman Tripp the opportunity to build its legal business beyond what it does today and won't affect the number of graduates it hires, says technology partner Bruce McClintock.

Chapman Tripp yesterday launched a new technology and innovation business called Zeren and announced it would be using artificial intelligence platform Luminance to provide due diligence for domestic and international merger and acquisition transactions, said Mr McClintock, who is also head of Zeren.

Mr McClintock downplayed concerns the use of artificial intelligence could reduce the number of graduate-level jobs: "Rather for our graduates, it's exciting to know that they have can get involved in how the legal services industry is being disrupted and where they will be able to take this for their own careers."

The use of AI is "quite helpful as it allows us to attract some who might not otherwise have thought about a traditional law firm. What technology does is it automates 'tasks,' not 'jobs' themselves," he said.

Chapman Tripp joins a growing number of white-collar firms to embrace AI technology with a view to automating processes that have traditionally been done by employees. Most recently, insurer Tower, lenders Westpac Banking Corp and Bank of New Zealand, and telecommunications group Spark New Zealand have heralded their digital transformations tilting their staff requirements to a more creative set of skills rather than process-driven labour that can more easily be automated.

Luminance sorts, clusters and classifies an entire data room, which "saves valuable time and resources and allows project team members to focus on interpreting the results and informing/refining their strategy," according to Chapman Tripp. Among other things, it has the unique ability to detect anomalies, which ensures even subtle differences between contracts are highlighted at the beginning of the review process. According to its website, it reads and understands contracts and other legal documents in any language.

"Chapman Tripp is committed to innovation and investing in cutting-edge technology," Mr McClintock said.

He declined to give a dollar figure for the investment but said "while we don't disclose confidential details of our commercial arrangements, we have partnered with Luminance so that we can provide clients with an artificial intelligence application that can be used today. We will use Luminance for transactional due diligence and offer it to clients for specialised document reviews," he said.

Luminance launched in September 2016 and is currently live in 13 countries, having completed more than 150 client transactions globally.

Looking ahead, McClintock said it is considering other artificial intelligence and advanced technology opportunities. "We see enormous potential over time in augmenting human lawyers with advanced technologies," he added.


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