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04 Sep 2017

Ascent gives ‘AI in Law’ talk

Representatives from Ascent recently attended the Legal Week Strategic Technology Forum in Lisbon, Portugal. Dave Wybourne, from our UK partner company Lan2Lan, and our Chief Technical Officer John Abela went to present our ideas about the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in the legal field

The use of AI in the legal profession is not new. In fact, many law firms in the US make use of a variety of tools in their work. It is also true, however, that overall, the legal sector is lagging behind other industries such as finance, manufacturing, aerospace, and health.

One phase of the legal process that Ascent are looking at is the ‘Discovery’ phase which is basically a very lengthy research and documentation process before a litigation takes place. There are AI techniques which can be applied to automate the process and thus reduce the man hours required to complete it.

Other areas which could benefit from such developments include the following:

  • Formal models of legal reasoning
  • Computational models of argumentation and decision making
  • Computational models of evidential reasoning
  • Legal reasoning in multi-agent systems
  • Executable models of legislation
  • Automatic legal text classification and summarization
  • Automated information extraction from legal databases and texts
  • Machine learning and data mining for e-discovery and other legal applications
  • Conceptual or model-based legal information retrieval

Ascent is particularly interested in Predictive Coding and is building a set of tools to help automate this process.

John Abela gave a presentation at the conference on the meaning of AI and how it can be applied to the legal profession. He also demonstrated how predictive coding, the task for searching huge volumes of documents for evidence, can be automated using sophisticated AI tools.

“The use of AI tools and techniques in industry is exploding. AI is today being used to design better aerofoils, optimize manufacturing schedules, automate monitoring and control, data mine big data, and a variety of other uses. At Ascent we are building a suite of products that incorporate AI and machine Learning techniques to automate processes in areas such as legal, stock market trading, airline route planning that would normally require a skilled human to do” – John Abela, Ascent Software’s CTO.