IBM to partner with select legal firms to develop new legal tools based on Watson artificial intelligence
Law & Order producer Dick Wolf may soon have a show called “Law & Order: Artificial Intelligence,” in which a talking black box represents a criminal defendant in court. Well, that might be a stretch, but a collaborative partnership between IBM and some top law firms in the United States and United Kingdom could produce AI-based tools to automate legal services.
The Lowdown: The Watson-based AI systems reportedly under development would channel new automated legal services to law firms as a means of expediting legal processes and services while simultaneously reducing costs. IBM is not publicly talking about the project reported by Bloomberg Law.
The Details: IBM already markets its Watson AI systems to the internal legal departments of large enterprises. The new systems would reportedly automate legal research and documentation work that’s currently done manually by legal firms. An announcement of the new program to expand Watson to outside law firms could come sometime this year, Bloomberg said.
The Impact: Watson and AI have a mixed record on delivering on the promises of expediting and expanding applied research capabilities. However, if IBM and its legal partners can develop a new system, Watson has the potential of meeting customers’ demands for faster legal services at reduced costs. According to BTI Consulting, U.S. corporations alone spent $65 billion on outside legal services in 2018.
Channelnomics Point of View: IBM’s collaboration with law firms to develop new systems is an example of the growing number of partnerships between technology companies and non-IT companies. Non-technology companies in a range of verticals, from manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to agriculture and business services, are increasingly incorporating IT capabilities and systems into their products and services. Collaboration such as what’s taking place with the IBM Watson legal project will bring new products to market and open new sales channels for traditional and non-traditional partners.