IBM Watson

Are cognitive and analytical technologies about to truly revolutionise the legal industry?

New entrants in the legal industry using technology to disrupt existing business models had become one of the realities of the past few years. But have we barely scratched the surface of the technological revolution in the industry?

Thomson Reuters and IBM’s Watson

An announcement by Thomson Reuters and IBM has just ratcheted up the tension between adherents of the traditional legal business model and a technological future.

Thomson Reuters and IBM will now work together to apply IBM’s Watson cognitive technology to practical customer solutions across Thomson Reuters’ information offerings for businesses and professions.

Thomson Reuters helps customers make critical business decisions by applying cutting-edge technology and domain expertise to complex sets of data and information. Our work with IBM to apply Watson is a natural complement to our market-leading customer solutions.
Brian Scanlon, Chief Strategy Officer, Thomson Reuters

Working with Thomson Reuters, and their vast trove of data, is an incredible opportunity to combine Watson’s cognitive capabilities with a global leader in decision making solutions across science, legal, tax, and finance. The result will be accelerated discoveries for the professionals that rely on these important information solutions, ultimately bringing new levels of speed and precision to critical decisions.
Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson

The announcement of this collaboration comes just a week after Thomson Reuters acquired Business Integrity, the leading provider of document automation technology, known as ContractExpress.

It’s not difficult to comprehend the potentially far-reaching effects on the future of the legal industry as these pioneering technologies merge over time.

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Lex Machina

The Thomson Reuters and IBM announcement also comes on the heels of Lex Machina’s offering announced in August.

Lex Machina, developed in Stanford University’s Law School and Computer Science department, is a legal analytics technology that creates structured data sets covering judges, lawyers and parties out of millions of pages of legal information, enabling law firms to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies would produce.

Lex Machina collated thousands of intellectual property decisions from US District Courts between 1 January 2009 and 30 June 2015, and overlaid it with an analytical tool which analyses filing trends, key decisions, and timing to key events, as well as settlement rates, damages and other data, and reveals relationships between court findings and judgment types, to assist in predicting the outcomes of new cases.

The cognitive and analytic tsunami is coming

Cognitive and analytic technologies such as IBM’s Watson and Lex Machina are on the cusp of revolutionising the legal profession in a way it has never been done before, making the technological adjustments of the past few years look like receding waters, merely signalling a tsunami of real change to come …

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