The Florida Bar Podcast

Why Efficient Lawyers Use Artificial Intelligence

Noory Bechor was doing business law for a big law firm in Israel when he came to the realization that lawyers’ process is far too inefficient. So he came up with LawGeex, a cloud-based artificial intelligence program that uses machine learning to help revolutionize the legal world. In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, Noory joins hosts Christine Bilbrey and Jonathon Israel to discuss how LawGeex works and how this and other artificial intelligence will continue to make lawyers more efficient, without replacing their jobs. Tune in for a clear explanation of the way machine learning works and how it replaces simple, repetitious tasks like drafting contracts.

Noory Bechor is the CEO and founder of LawGeeks. As a former commercial lawyer, he combines his years of experience with his entrepreneurial spirit to help other lawyers #lovelegalagain, making their work easy, efficient, and even more impactful.

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The Florida Bar Podcast

Why Efficient Lawyers Use Artificial Intelligence

12/27/2016

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Intro: Welcome to the official Florida Bar Podcast, where we cover practice management, leadership and what’s happening in Florida Law, brought to you by the Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.

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Christine Bilbrey: Hello and welcome to The Florida Bar Podcast, brought to you by the Practice Resource Institute on Legal Talk Network. We are glad you are joining us. This is Christine Bilbrey and I am a Practice Management Advisor at PRI and one of the hosts for today’s show, which is being recorded from our offices in Tallahassee, Florida.

My co-host is Jonathon Israel.

Jonathon Israel: Hello! I am Jonathon Israel and I am the Director of The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute. Our goal here at PRI is to assist Florida attorneys with running the business side of their law practices. We will be focusing on a different aspect of technology each month and will carry that theme through our newsletter and website with related tech tips and articles.

Christine Bilbrey: So this month at PRI our topic is Artificial Intelligence and joining us today is Noory Bechor. Noory is the CEO and Founder of LawGeex and he is a man on a mission. He wants to revolutionize the legal world through innovative technology.

As a former commercial lawyer, Noory combines his years of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to help other lawyers, #lovelegalagain, making their work easy, efficient and even more impactful.

Welcome to the show Noory.

Noory Bechor: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Christine Bilbrey: So Noory, tell our listeners a little bit about your background, how and why you started LawGeex.

Noory Bechor: Sure. Absolutely. So my background, as you mentioned before, is business law. I was a commercial lawyer working at the biggest law firm in Israel. I did that for close to eight years, and while doing that I realized two things. One was that I wanted to become an entrepreneur and the other one, more importantly I was very frustrated by how inefficient the legal world is. I was very frustrated by the fact that lawyers, unlike many other professionals, don’t really have sophisticated technological tools to allow them to do their job better and more efficiently.

And this is really what drove me to found LawGeex. I was thinking constantly about the fact that as a lawyer I was reinventing the wheel for every client, for every deal, having to redraft contracts, review them, and I was thinking, maybe there’s a way of doing that better and more efficiently.

My answer was, if we can really manage to train the computer to understand this language, the language of contract, we can use the computer to do things which lawyers currently do manually. Mainly focusing on tasks which are done on a day-to-day basis, the more mundane tasks, the simple things that lawyers do, but they spend so much time and energy doing them instead of focusing on high value activities, where their brainpower is used more properly.

Jonathon Israel: Wow, that’s great. One of the interesting things I think when I hear your story and kind of read your bio is that, a lot of the stories you see about artificial intelligence is how it’s going to take away people’s jobs, and lawyers are going to have to find new work, but really what you have done is the opposite. You have taken the technology to make your job more efficient and let you focus on the things you really want to focus on, not having to do the mundane tasks of reviewing the contracts for simple language that, like you said, the computer could be trained to do and take that burden off for the attorneys.

Noory Bechor: Yeah, absolutely. We definitely understand each other well. I think that lawyers generally are very intelligent, they are well-trained, and they are well-educated, but it’s a tragedy that in this profession a lot of their time is actually spent doing tasks which really very junior people that don’t have legal background actually can do, and this is where I start thinking about automation and came up with the idea for LawGeex.

I think that lawyers’ time will be much better spent doing much more high value tasks, which benefit their clients. And of course, clients often complain about how expensive legal services are, and especially in this kind of atmosphere, I think us as lawyers, we need to take a close look at the work that we are doing and ask ourselves, are we really efficient, are we doing the right things, can we do things better; it can be using AI, it can be using other things.

(00:05:09)

There are other tools, not necessarily for artificial intelligence, but I think as a lawyer you constantly need to focus on providing the best service for your client and it will definitely merit also evaluating the way you do your job and the tools that you are using.

Christine Bilbrey: That’s wonderful. I want to get into the whole artificial intelligence side of your product and more generally too, because I think a lot of times when people hear AI, we have all seen different science fiction movies, and we think about maybe the Siri on our iPhone or talking to Alexa through our Amazon Echo. But can you give our listeners an idea of what separates artificial intelligence from just like regular computer software?

Noory Bechor: Yeah, sure thing, and with your permission I will focus on our implementation of artificial intelligence, as there are many different variants of AI.

So I think for us AI basically means underlying algorithm which is computer code that can basically be trained to understand the language of contract. So in our case, we are focused on a branch of artificial intelligence, which is called machine learning, and in machine learning what you do is you use a computer example. So let’s say I want to train the computer to identify a picture of a dog, instead of creating all these rules for the computer telling him a dog is this size, and has these types of colors, I just give him — I just show him examples of photos of dogs, and the way machine learning works is, as the computer sees more pictures of dogs, it creates roles automatically of what a dog looks like based on the data that it collects.

So after seeing 20 pictures of dogs it has a good idea of what is the relative size or the variance in the size of dogs; the fact that they have four legs, and the different colors that they might come in. And then if you give them actually photos of cat and tell them these are cats and not dogs, you are training the computer even better to identify dogs in the future.

So this is our implementation of AI in machine learning. We basically train the computer by giving it examples of different legal contracts and different legal concepts or provisions and that way the computer, as it sees more example, becomes smarter and smarter, and as it becomes smarter and smarter it becomes more efficient and can replace the work that lawyers currently do on the low level, on the low end of the scale.

So we have now reached a level where our computer is very similar to a paralegal or a young lawyer in its ability to take a document, first of all, automatically read through it, understand what type of document it is. Is it an employment agreement? Is it a nondisclosure agreement? Is it a commercial lease? So first of all, the computer can identify what type of document it is and then it can dive deep into the document to understand what legal concepts the document includes.

So basically the AI, our engine, maps the document automatically, and because it sees — it saw, and it was trained using many other similar documents, it can flag potential issues in the specific document that it is now analyzing.

So it can tell you, for example, again, automatically what is missing from the document, which basically means compared to all of the other similar documents in our database what items that appear in the database are missing from the specific contract.

And the flip side is, it can also tell you what items which are currently in the document are not common, meaning that they don’t appear in many other documents in our database. And this when you think about it, it’s pretty much what lawyers do, they take a document, they read it, and then they tell you, they tell their clients what’s missing or what’s not standard compared to their accumulated experience in all of the other documents that they have seen in the past. So we found a way using artificial intelligence, using the training methodology that I just explained to you guys to replace this manual work that is done by lawyers.

(00:10:13)

Now, it’s important to understand that AI is now — there is a very big hype around AI, but people that actually work with AI, that are building the solutions, everyone understands that in the next decade or two at least you cannot really talk about AI replacing actual judgment of experienced lawyer. It can help lawyers automate the low end portion of their work, but you will always need the experienced lawyer to be able to make decisions with respect to the specific circumstances and to be able to go much deeper into the document and reach more important and more insightful conclusions.

So what we are focusing on in LawGeex is basically take the simple document, the document that businesses are doing on a day-to-day basis, and also made them so that lawyers can focus on the more important things, like contract negotiation, compliance, drafting larger transactions and things like that.

Christine Bilbrey: And from reading about your product I know that right now that it speaks English mainly. And so I just read an article about Google Brain and how they have made these huge advances in Google Translate. Do you foresee a time where you could marry your product with a translation program so that — I know that you are an international attorney, so is that something that you think that you will move towards later?

Noory Bechor: So definitely that’s on the game plan. I think international attorneys do understand that there is a difference between contracts in different geographies. There are a lot of things in common, but there are also many differences between contracts in different geographies. And I think one of the biggest challenges when you are doing AI in legal is your ability not to go after a one-size-fits-all solution. Lawyers are actually valuable because of their ability to be very, very customized and tailor their feedback to the specific circumstances. And when you are doing AI in legal, you have to bear that in mind.

So for example, an AI solution that can provide a single analysis irrespective of the jurisdiction would not be very valuable, because you have to take into account the jurisdiction. You have to take into account the governing law. You have to take into account as much as possible from the circumstances. So the more granular you can get with your analysis, the more valuable it is.

Again, I always compare what we are doing with AI with what happens in the real legal world and I tell myself that people go and pay lawyers a significant premium the more customized and specific they can be. You are paying them for their expertise, for the accumulated knowledge in a specific domain, in a specific geography, in specific circumstances.

Jonathon Israel: Noory, I think you touched on briefly the kind of contracts that you see coming into the system. Right now you mentioned employment contracts, nondisclosure agreements and corporate leases. Who do you see right now as being the main users of a product like LawGeex?

Noory Bechor: So we have seen a lot of traction actually from the in-house counsels, so in-house counsels, in-house legal departments, these guys I think are a bit different than law firms, in the sense that we found them to be a bit more innovative compared to the law firm, and also they are much more focused around efficiency, because they keep feeling the heat from the other departments in the organizations about not being the bottleneck in the organization and keeping the documents moving quickly, getting them very fast turnaround time. So, definitely in-house counsels are a very good target audience for us. We have seen a lot of traction from them.

(00:14:57)

And specifically, in terms of contracts and areas, I would say that there are specific industries where you can say that contracts are much more common. So, contracts are done in a more — on the higher volume and on a day-to-day basis, like finance and insurance and banking, these are all areas where contracts are exchanged constantly, so that’s about the industries.

And about the contract types, so we actually have mentioned nondisclosure agreements, employment, commercial leases, a variety of services agreement, SaaS agreements are now very common in LawGeex. And I think for us this is not a surprise. So like I said, contracts that are done on a day-to-day basis, with high volume are the 15:54 suspect for automation using technologies like ours.

Jonathon Israel: That makes a lot of sense. I guess when you think about trying to break into maybe some of the smaller or solo law firms, I think a lot of that comes down to trust and building that trust that this artificial intelligence is really going to give them the right answer when it’s reviewing a contract. How do you help them understand the technology and build that trust, letting go of the control factor, that they have to have control and have to review it on their own, that they can trust the system?

Noory Bechor: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think this is obviously a challenge, it’s an ongoing challenge, it’s an educational challenge that we have to focus on, and I think what we are doing right now with this interview and many others that we should do is about really explaining or demystifying artificial intelligence in law and really explaining to lawyers that this change is happening, that the way the industry has been operating until now doesn’t make sense and that lawyers really need to reinvent themselves.

I think that lawyers that will not be afraid from AI, that will open the door for AI tools like LawGeex are in the end going to lead the market for years to come. So it’s not about AI replacing you, it’s about how can I use AI in order to do my job better, in order to offer a better service for my clients. And I think lawyers that do open the door and start using LawGeex see a very quick impact on the way they practice their legal activities, and they get hooked, because they see that now they have another set of eyes that can go through the document and make sure that they didn’t miss anything and flag issues for their attention.

So I think it’s all about just using it and just opening the door and not being afraid of technology. I think it’s on us to help educate the market and it’s on the lawyers from the law firm to be more open towards innovation.

Christine Bilbrey: Jonathon, I got to watch a demo of what would happen when an attorney has uploaded a contract and exactly how it goes through the different clauses. We were very impressed by that. And I love that your product is in reach right now, because so much of artificial intelligence is really only for big law, like the artificial intelligence Attorney ROSS has gotten a lot of press lately, from the makers of Watson that went on the show Jeopardy.

So where are we going with this? So someone who is waiting in and they are trying LawGeex, what are we going to see in the future for LawGeex or just artificial intelligence in general, where are we headed?

Noory Bechor: Yes, that’s a great point. So I think where LawGeex is a bit different from other AI projects, we are very much focused on making this technology accessible to everyone. We are not a solution that you have to pay 7 digit figures in order to try out the license. This is basically a solution that you can start using tomorrow, because it’s available online, it’s a pretty simple sign up process to get started with LawGeex.

I think our mission is really to make AI in law accessible to lawyers everywhere. We believe that the more lawyers would use it, the more, both profession of law and the clients of law firms and legal departments get better service and become better.

(00:19:58)

And we believe, obviously, people sometimes miss this point, but lawyers and contracts are part of the business world. They are actually one of the drivers of the business world. So I think if we practice law better, practice for commercial law better, it means that we are conducting business better. It means that deals get done faster. It means that the business world is moving more efficiently, and this is what we are about.

So I think for LawGeex in the future, we are obviously going to expand the categories, the contract categories that we support. We are constantly adding the new features for LawGeex, focusing on how we make this even simpler, even more intuitive, even completely making AI in law accessible, demystified, and the opposite of being scary, complicated, and something that only huge law firms with very big IT department and knowledge management can start using.

So we are really a wide solution, which we believe in a couple of years many, many lawyers are going to use.

Christine Bilbrey: Absolutely. I think when they take a look at the product they are going to want to try it out.

Jonathon Israel: Yeah. Noory, could you tell some of our listeners how it is they could get a demo of LawGeex, or if they wanted to even start using the product where they go and how they get started with it?

Noory Bechor: Yeah, of course. So as I mentioned, LawGeex currently focuses obviously on the area of contracts, specifically commercial contracts. And to use LawGeex, it’s pretty simple. You just go to our website,  HYPERLINK “http://www.lawgeex.com” www.lawgeex.com. You sign up for a demo.

Once you sign up for a demo one of our sales representatives will contact you, set it up with them, they will show you the product, walk you through it. If you want, we can set you up with a demo account to play with. And then after that we can tailor the plan for your needs, depending on the volume of contracts that you expect to run through the system on a monthly basis. There is no setup basically. It’s a cloud solution which you can get started using immediately.

Christine Bilbrey: Excellent. So it looks like we have reached the end of our program and I want to thank Noory Bechor for joining us today.

Noory Bechor: The pleasure was mine guys. Thank you very much for having me. I enjoyed it.

Christine Bilbrey: Thank you. If our listeners have other questions or they want to follow up with you, are you on social media, how can they find you?

Noory Bechor: Yeah, sure thing. So LawGeex has a Twitter account, we also have a Facebook page, I think also a LinkedIn page, so you can reach us through any social media. And my email, you can reach me directly if you like via email, it’s  HYPERLINK “mailto:noory@lawgeex.com” noory@lawgeex.com. Feel free to send me messages, questions, anything I can help getting you to understand better about AI, legal, LawGeex specifically or how can you practice more efficiently, feel free to reach out, I will be happy to assist.

Christine Bilbrey: Thank you. That’s wonderful. So this has been another edition of The Florida Bar Podcast brought to you by the Practice Resource Institute on Legal Talk Network. I am Christine Bilbrey.

Jonathon Israel: And I am Jonathon Israel. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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