Legal Business Blogs

Bringing AI to a law firm near you: Dentons’ NextLaw venture invests in IBM Watson app to answer lawyers’ questions

Dentons’ NextLaw Labs, having launched in May to focus on developing and investing in new technologies for the legal profession, has signed a deal with its first portfolio company, ROSS Intelligence, a start-up developing a legal adviser app powered by IBM Watson.

ROSS’s app uses IBM Watson’s ability to process natural language so that lawyers will be able to ask the app a question and it will sift through legal documents, research and return an evidence-based answer. Dentons will serve as a testbed for the app to help define the body of legal data which it will draw on.

The firm has also joined up with IBM Cloud with the aim of enabling start-ups to create and deploy legal applications faster. Announced today (6 August) the firm said NextLaw Labs will provide legal tech start-ups with access to IBM Cloud and the IBM global entrepreneur programme for Cloud start-ups, as part of being an ‘active technology investor, accelerator, and business incubator.’

Following its May launch, NextLaw Labs is aimed at developing a set of technologies to change how lawyers practise law and provide better solutions to clients. Dentons has made clear its intention to be the accelerator’s lead supporter and investor and is serving as the testing ground to vet, pilot and scale-up new products, services and other ideas such as ROSS.

On the latest venture, NextLaw Labs chief Dan Jansen said: ‘Technology is now and will continue to be a real differentiator in the legal profession. The potential in companies like ROSS shows how the approach to solving client challenges is going to change. NextLaw Labs wants to be a part of transforming what is possible into a tangible offering in today’s legal market.’