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‘Cut through the noise’: Nextlaw partners with AI firm for Brexit contracts system

In the latest play for Dentons‘ tech joint venture, Nextlaw Labs has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) programme with London IT firm RAVN Systems to assess the impact of the Brexit vote on companies’ contracts.

Dentons and Nextlaw worked with AI software developers RAVN to create a programme which uses RAVN’s ‘Applied Cognitive Engine’ and uses a bespoke algorithm to produce a report highlighting areas requiring legal attention.

The advanced search engine is being applied to Brexit-related contracts, sifting through high volume documents to identify issues that could be raised by the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The developers say the AI will cut down review time for lawyers and remove the potential for human error in reviewing contract documents.

Dentons US chief innovation officer and chair of Nextlaw John Fernandez told Legal Business the firm had been exploring opportunities for working with RAVN after meeting with the company’s chief executive Peter Wallqvist last year.

‘Their team is very proactive in deploying these advanced cognitive computing technologies in a way lawyers can actually integrate and use them, and improving the way they deliver client services,’ said Fernandez.

The firm is piloting the technology in the US and the UK, applying it to real legal problems, with Brexit contract issues a key starting point. Nextlaw chief executive Dan Jansen said the firm had been drawing on feedback from lawyers and was collecting ideas for new products covering financial services, IP, media, transport, environment and telecoms.

Dentons chief executive for UKMEA Jeremy Cohen said: ‘Brexit will lead many of our clients into uncharted territory, and our experience since the referendum is that both domestic and overseas companies are looking for legal advice that “cuts through the noise” and helps to deliver practical and cost effective guidance with respect to the many complex challenges that leaving the EU will present them with.’

Based in Palo Alto, Nextlaw has previously invested in legal start-up Apperio, which provides greater fee transparency and aims to standardise the legal tender process. The technology venture announced earlier in July it had hired Dean Khialani as its new CTO from Excelium Group.

The latest launch comes after Clifford Chance announced it had entered into a partnership with Canadian AI provider Kira Systems.

Berwin Leighton Paisner was first to strike a deal to use RAVN, bringing its AI software into its real estate practice in 2015, while Linklaters was the first Magic Circle to sign up with the IT provider earlier this year.