Technology trends

Definitive Trends in Legal Technology: Past, Present and Future | TransPerfect Legal Solutions

Our leadership team recently sat down with TLS Vice President, Consulting & Information Governance, Al-Karim Makhani, to discuss the latest technology trends he and our clients are seeing in the legal industry.

TLS: What legal technology trends have you noticed in the past two years?

Al-Karim: The pandemic has obviously induced a shift in working from home, which has forced everyone in the industry (and beyond) to embrace technology faster than expected. What surprised corporations and law firms was that the technology was ready to go with minimal technical, logistical, or procedural hassle. Basic acceptance of technology has become an industry standard, from those using document-sharing platforms to securely present evidence in a remote environment, to 70-year-old judges giving instructions via Zoom ( and the strange lawyer turning into a cat). End customers, lawyers, technologists, lenders, notaries and other industry players are now turning to technology solutions where perhaps two years ago they would not have asked these questions.

TLS: Can you tell us about other big trends?

Al-Karim: We dive deeper into artificial intelligence or AI with this broader understanding of technology. We have many tools leveraging cognitive computing and continuous active learning. Courts, lawyers and parties are now comfortable with this technology. We have judgments that detail how the technology works, how important it is, and then a mandatory consideration. Even in officiating, which has historically been slower to embrace technology, we are seeing new and creative uses of AI, whether to increase prospects (finding the best umpire), to present information dynamically, including AR and VR, or to reproduce the decision-making process. As these tools are increasingly deployed, we’re going to look at how we can use real artificial intelligence (deep learning), the kind of stuff you’d associate with big tech companies.

TLS: How is AI used in the legal industry?

Al-Karim: There are ways AI is already being piloted in the legal space. We see AI tools being used to assess the credibility of witnesses – facial knots for small movements indicating dishonesty, MRI images for changes in the brain, tracking pupil dilation. Companies are finding creative ways to resolve disputes based on smart contracts, whether open source or coded into the smart contract itself. From what I’ve read, there’s a real push to figure out how to resolve disputes by leveraging technology. Essentially, a lot of the technology we use in the legal space, even the cutting-edge technology being developed, is to help manage and understand data to help judges and arbitrators make decisions based on technology that provides information. The new wave may well replace existing forms of dispute resolution alternative alternative dispute resolution.

TLS: What are smart contracts and can you elaborate?

Al-Karim: Smart contracts are a more common way of doing business. Right now, the legal world isn’t really in a place where it can deal with smart contracts in a sophisticated way. Courts attempt to apply archaic legal procedure to constructions that transcend the system designed to regulate them. A lot of the development we’re seeing is around coding the dispute resolution capability within the smart contract itself. There is currently an organization that provides a dispute resolution service where you can pay in bitcoin or cryptocurrency to be, essentially, a global court system. If you believe in this model as a legitimate form of dispute resolution, you are essentially going to have the outcome voted on by thousands of people who have cryptocurrency. What you could lose in evaluating a 75-year-old judge who has decades of experience, you could gain in speedy dispute resolution. I think that’s the trade-off, and I think that’s what we’re going to see. Parties to a dispute will choose speed and cost-effectiveness over getting the right answer.

TLS: What trends are our customers talking about?

Al-Karim: For a long time, whenever we talk about trends in the legal technology industry, the first is the exponential growth of data. So, in a way, it’s banal. But on the other hand, exponential growth is both vertical (data size) and horizontal (disparate data sources), and that’s a real concern for our customers. WFH has resulted in millions of hours of recorded video meetings – important information for business operations, C-suite decision-making, and legal strategy. Customers need more guidance on protecting, querying and moving their data while growing their business and complying with data-centric obligations.

TLS: What else can you tell us about legal tech trends in 2022?

Al-Karim: The number of languages ​​in which people communicate in every conflict is growing almost as fast as the data. At the start of the workflow, rather than translating each document, we spend a lot of time creating thematically and syntactically identical search terms in multiple languages. Most technology was designed for English data and there is no getting away from it. It’s not as simple as machine translation (MT) of 18 languages ​​and connecting them to a legal technology tool. In fact, we have worked with various judicial bodies to pilot MT protocols similar to TAR protocols. It’s a cutting-edge tool, but if you have millions of documents in obscure languages, out-of-the-box machine translation just won’t work, and human translation is too inefficient in terms of time and money. Designing a QC loop to improve the learning that underpins machine translation to reduce edit distance has had profound implications for non-English data.

TLS: You attended Legal Week 2022 in New York this month. What is the theme of the show now?

Al-Karim: The theme of Legal Week, if you can call it that, is always the same: a chance to see and learn about what is happening in space. This year there was definitely more energy, because it’s the first time people have met in person. Besides the obvious (and important) social aspect, I strongly believe that ideas are best conveyed and understood in person. Another theme is the great resignation. The issue is less why we made a cultural shift away from strict office hours than whether employees took data with them when they quit. Our forensic teams are involved in more and more issues where employers need to assess whether data/trade secrets have been taken and, more importantly, prevent this from happening.

TLS: I would like to ask you a non-legal technical question. For people familiar with TransPerfect, particularly as a translation company, how do you differentiate the fact that you work for TransPerfect Legal Solutions?

Al-Karim: TLS is the legal solutions division of TransPerfect. But when people ask me, I always like to tell them the TransPerfect story because it provides a frame of reference that contextualizes our corporate culture. We’re a 30-year-old, innovative, fast-growing, billion-dollar company built on ruthless customer service and a serious investment in our people and our customers. TransPerfect started out in languages, but today our revenue is split across a number of technologies we’ve developed for legal, pharmaceutical, financial services and more, all while maintaining our position as the largest company. of languages ​​in the world. All of this has given us the opportunity to offer award-winning legal technology services on both sides of the Atlantic.

TLS: So what does TLS do?

Al-Karim: The division can be broadly divided into two specialties: software and services. We build and develop our own technology. Where a better tool exists on the market, we license it. And that’s great. But the services side of TLS is just as important. We have a number of the world’s leading subject matter experts in analytics, AI, data privacy and project management. Legal technology is not self-contained. You need to have the experts to deploy the right technology, in the right way, at the right time. So over the past few years we have worked very hard to bring these experts to wherever they are in the market. These experts in turn push the development teams to continuously ensure that our technology is ahead of the curve. Without it, for a technology company, you become obsolete in months, not years.

TLS: What types of technology does TLS use?

Al-Karim: We mainly deal with forensic data collection and processing platforms. We have a number of analytics tools that interrogate data to find patterns and trends. Continuous active learning, which is an automated way to build data models to understand documents without the need for thousands of attorneys, is used in most litigation. The reality is that when a business is faced with a million documents to review in a month, it simply cannot get through that discovery without machine learning technology. The difference is that lawyers today understand that there are tools that can make an impact even at 10,000 documents.

Beyond machine learning, there is AI. In construction, for example, contractors are equipped with cameras to record working days on site and collect images and videos that would be invaluable in the event of a dispute. Businesses are also realizing they need a less responsive data solution. Collecting data from scratch whenever there is an issue (contentious or non-contentious) becomes costly. We are more regularly deploying client-side information governance platforms, which connect in real time to all the data sources they have and provide insights on a dashboard. This expedites the dispute resolution process from a DSAR to an investigation.