Kathryn DeBord, chief innovation officer at Bryan Cave, said that there was a lot of hype about AI but that the hype did not live up to reality. The new group TechX will act as an ’incubator of ideas’ and give feedback to tech companies at an early stage as to whether their technology is actually relevant to lawyers, she explained. ‘I read articles about firms hiring robot assistants, but that’s not where we are now. AI has enormous potential capabilities in the law, but the real value comes from lawyers being part of the conversation when these tools come out. 'The company is also making the move as it believes legaltech is currently alienating practicing lawyers, instead favouring only technologists, knowledge management officers and IT people.
Bryan Cave is also ensuring there is an entrepreneurial aspect to TechX which is hoping to attract newer tech companies and start-ups so that its experts can give feedback on software, become early adopters and then potentially partner with them including possibly investing in them.
Educational focus for future lawyers
TechX is also in discussions with two law schools in the US how their students could best be taught about the new legal technology. Ms DeBord added: ‘A lot of law firms are trying to tackle innovation, but their lawyers need to understand it for it to be successful.’ One of the aims of TechX is to educate lawyers to handle enquiries around new technology and its deployment properly, ‘so they can explain with confidence what a tool can do now and what its role might be in the future, because they have interacted with that tool and evaluated it’.