IPO Corner: Make Way For Robot Lawyer

Remember the first time you acquired your own lawyer for a legal matter? The intensive research you put into finding one that fit with your needs and value system… and the hassle of forging that relationship. We do, and while it gets easier over time, it’s still one of the most laborious processes we’ve ever been through… although, worth it.

What if something came along that shook that entire process up… shifted things around so that, believe it or not, everyone would have access to an equitable, ethical, accurate lawyer, no matter their station in life, resources, or almost any other factor? We’d say that would be neat because, as you know, where we see processes being revamped, we see opportunity.

The Dream Team

In a few weeks, a historical event will take place that could be giving us a glimpse into just that type of thing being a reality… one day. This is because, in a few weeks, for the first time in history, someone is going to court armed with the world’s first robot lawyer powered by artificial intelligence. Now… at this juncture, all we’re talking about is a traffic ticket. However, as we know in business, all you need is that initial proof of concept, then you’re off to the races.

The way it’ll work is pretty simple… the AI lawyer runs on a smartphone. By now, we all know about ChatGPT, so we can imagine how this looks. The phone will listen to the proceedings while court is in session, then formulate arguments for the defendant based on those real-time interactions. To retain confidentiality, the defendant will listen to the phone via headphones, then repeat back the robot lawyer’s responses. Wow!

Maybe you’re thinking to yourselves… but how will that revolutionize and democratize law? Fair question, so we’ll move our topic from what happens in the courtroom in session to what happens pre-trial, because that’s where the major work is done, and that’s where the brains of the robot lawyer are going to marry the brains of the robot document and data aggregator that helps prep for trial… let us explain what we mean.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is to the legal space what the writer’s room is for Saturday Night Live. It all happens before the trial, all the good stuff that is. CLM is referring to, in this case, the lifecycle of contracts. If it isn’t written down in law, one could argue it didn’t happen… so managing and documenting every single stage of things is what’s going to make or break a win on the real battlefield, which is the courtroom.

What we’re seeing is artificial intelligence gaining popularity for CLM in the legal space fairly quickly. But it’s not just a fad, there’s a good reason for it… because, as we mentioned, that proper documentation can set things up so the only swing to make in the courtroom is the single-swing homerun. With AI capturing, managing, and continually updating everything to do with a trial from the beginning, we can see the two making a lethal (democratized) pair.

Deals To Watch

Two companies that have decided to play team leader instead of hopping on the bandwagon later on are Exterro and SirionLabs. Exterro is a Beaverton, Oregon software company founded in 2004 that uses data science and process optimization to help companies with how they respond to litigation. It’s known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) Driven Legal GRC. Their customers find them attractive because they not only lower costs, but there is also a lower chance of error since things are AI-driven, and this drives more frequent successful outcomes.

The name may ring a bell, as the company just announced their acquisition of Zapproved for an undisclosed amount of money. The company, which was pushed over a $1 billion valuation last summer from a recent round of funding, is saying that an IPO should happen sometime next year. While it’s a delay, it may turn out to be a pleasant delay, as the entire team from Zapproved, including their powerhouse female founder Monica Enand, will be joining forces with the company.

SirionLabs is in the business of knowing what there is to know about artificial intelligence (AI)-powered contract lifecycle management (CLM). With Sirion, the complete lifecycle of contracts is connected across their customizable smarter contracting platform, which brings legal, procurement, sales, and business operations together. The company just raised $110 million via Series D funding, led by Partners Group and participated in by several existing investors.

Sirion takes CLM to the next level, allowing a host of operations to be performed on contract data during the lifecycle that can elevate every aspect of the process in terms of efficiency and accuracy. The next step for this company is platform integration at a large scale… think Microsoft’s suites of products here, as well as platforms like Salesforce. They’ve certainly gained the trust to see it through, as they were named among the leaders in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Contract Life Cycle Management.

All it would take in this space for our hypothetical robot lawyer scenario to become a reality and not a dream is a few cases setting precedent and for the technology to fall into place. Maybe these companies will help reform legal in ways yet unseen… and maybe getting a lawyer and getting your case together will be done on your phone in a few years or a decade. Come back next week, we’ll have more from the IPO space next week!