I’ve written a number of times in the past year about the various ways in which the legal profession is utlizing new technologies. For instance, I wrote last year about a start-up called Beagle, which are attempting to make it easier for lay persons to understand legal documents such as contracts.
“Contracts suck. And everyone knows it and everyone has to deal with it,” the founders say.
“The purpose of Beagle is to increase your comprehension of an agreement very quickly, to be able to carve through all the language that is not necessary to what you need to do.”
There have also been some interesting developments over the mining of legal documents and data. Companies such as Logikull, for instance, attempt to make the e-discovery process more effective and efficient, whilst jEugene aim to offer an automated fact checking service for consumers.
The latest venture to try and automate this process is via an app called Ross Intelligence. The service, which builds upon IBM’s Watson service, uses natural language processing to offer users access to the legal database, thus providing a live query engine and responses in much less time than is traditionally the case.
The system is designed to be as intuitive as a search engine such as Google, with users able to ask Ross a question in much the same way as they would any legal professional. The search engine will then trawl the entire body of law to find the most suitable answer to the question.
What’s more, users can also be kept up to date on changes to their query as new rulings come into play, thus saving users the trouble of tracking the legal news.
It’s an interesting application of the Watson engine that is already being deployed in the field. It seems inevitable that this kind of application will become more commonplace as professionals attempt to stay on top of the ever growing volume of information in their fields.