Report from Innovative Legal Services Forum 2018 Part 1 – The Future is Bright

The Innovative Legal Services Forum in Prague provided a day full of inspiration, spot-on observations and fantastic networking.

Key note speaker Andrew Arruda, CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence, started off with an overview of legal AI fundamentals from Deep Blue beating Garry Kasparov to the newest use, i.e. what every legal professional should know about AI.


First and foremost, Andrew Arruda pointed out that AI is not a robot shooting laser, coming to take our jobs, which still seems to be the perception amongst some lawyers. AI is software, data and algorithms. It’s machine learning, speech recognition, visual recognition and natural language processing. It’s not even new. AI has been around since the 1950s, when for example Alan Turing developed his test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. The reason that it has taken off lately, is that we now have the amount of compute power necessary to make it happen on a wider scale.

In this impressive video, it’s evident how close to human capability the AI solutions have come, when Google Assistant can book a hair cut appointment and make restaurant reservations by interacting in complex dialogues:

As Andrew Arruda pointed out, just like with other new technology that is considered cool and disruptive, we will soon start to take it for granted. Already today, AI is used widely for things that we do not even think about but that make our everyday life easier, like for example how Amazon uses AI to predict purchase behaviors and starts the delivery even before an actual purchase has been made, how AI is used for financial trading, in agriculture, for interpreting skin marks to predict or diagnose skin cancer and even by L’Oreal for customers to take a photo of themselves and “try on” new make up before purchasing it.

When it comes to law firms though, the standard response still seems to be “What we do in law is very special and cannot be AI:ed.” Instead of arguing with this, Andrew Arruda showed how the ROSS technology (via the free demo tool EVA) managed legal issues.

The use of AI and other support tools will be necessary to meet the client demands. The latest Georgetown Report on the State of the Legal Market shows that billable hours available are decreasing as well as the collectable part of the hours billed.

With the combination of lawyers and AI, law firms can continue to be successful. The important thing here though, is  the combination of both and to focus on (1) people, (2) process and (3) technology, and in that order. Do not throw out the old completely, adapt to the changes. AI will not replace lawyers, but it will change the means and delivery of legal services. According to Andrew Arruda, the future in law is very bright. The demand for legal services has never been higher than at the moment and it will only increase.

Andrew Arruda ended with the quote by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola, “The telephone was in existence for ten years before lawyers started to use it. They thought it was beneath their dignity.” to illustrate the importance of embracing the new technology and explore its possibilities.

Read all our posts from Innovative Legal Services Forum 2018: