Will artificial intelligence replace your lawyer–and will its name be Harvey?

by Aron Solomon

March 1, 2023 at 6:51 AM EST

The FTC has warned the legal sector not to exaggerate the benefits of A.I.
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Artificial intelligence + law is a blindingly hot equation. We are proving by the week that we simply can’t look away.
Enter Harvey, today’s golden child that lives at the intersection of technology and law.

Harvey is an A.I. platform that can help lawyers perform legal tasks in areas such as due diligence, litigation, and compliance. Described as “the innovative artificial intelligence platform built on a version of Open AI’s latest models enhanced for legal work,” legaltech startup Harvey, the self-styled “generative A.I. for elite law firms,” is about to play in the big leagues.

Harvey is being rolled out for use by 3,500 lawyers in 43 offices of Allen & Overy, the seventh largest law firm in the world and part of London’s “Magic Circle.”

I’ve watched legaltech evolve from the inside for decades. Having built one of the world’s first legaltech startup accelerators that brought together tech startups, investment, and law firms, I not only lived through the first major wave of legaltech startup hype and (over)funding, I helped fuel it.

Reading the Allen & Overy press release on Harvey, it’s easy to believe that law, technology, and artificial intelligence are now inseparable.

But as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reminded us on Monday, the claims about the abilities and benefits of artificial intelligence are out of control. In warning businesses to “keep your A.I. claims in check,” the FTC is sending a critically important message to the legal industry: While A.I. might sound intriguing to some, it won’t work in practice for most. 

Part of why A.I. technologies won’t become ubiquitous is a little industry secret: One of the most difficult aspects of legal technology is the absurd sales cycles.

Harvey is counting on a collective industry fear of missing out–FOMO. The logic is that with Allen & Overy rolling out such a large technology deployment, FOMO will drive most of the other massive Magic Circle and Am Law 100 firms to follow.

These law firms are deeply competitive and want to own their breaking innovation news. Simply following Allen & Overy doesn’t get these firms the kind of PR they can hold out to clients who pay their remarkably high bills. It doesn’t scream, “we are different and better,” it mumbles, “we are okay with being joiners.”

If you don’t think that innovation PR is important, just take a look at the Allen & Overy home page–a law firm with annual revenues of over $200 billion is devoting the landing page of their site to communicating a deal with a tech startup.

But A.I. is different, right? And it’s going to replace lawyers.

No and no. 

Read the rest of the article on Fortune here

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