Thomson Reuters' AI Debut Signals a New Era of Widespread AI Integration in Legaltech
Have you been tracking the explosive rate of generative artificial intelligence (AI) innovation? If not, you’re at the risk of being left behind. Innovation and investment in this space are off the charts, and all signs point to continued and exponential shifts that will significantly impact the legal profession.
The AI revolution began less than a year ago when OpenAI publicly launched ChatGPT 3.5 on November 30, 2022. Then on March 14, 2023, with the release of ChatGPT powered by GPT-4, the influx of rapid advancements began at a record pace as software companies worked at lightning-fast speed to integrate the power of GPT-4 technology into their products.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that legal technology companies have joined the fray. Since early 2023, over one hundred announcements from legal technology companies have emerged, detailing plans to incorporate generative AI functionality into their products. Although most products are still in beta, rest assured that regardless of the software platforms used in your firm, you can expect that generative AI will soon be seamlessly integrated into the tools that are part of the daily workflows of legal professionals in your firm.
Proof in point: Wednesday’s generative AI announcements from Thomson Reuters offer strong evidence that we’re entering a new era of widespread AI integration. For Thomson Reuter’s legal customers, the integrated generative AI experience will soon be a reality and readily accessible across several different products. This newfound capability largely stems from leveraging CoCounsel, a generative AI legal assistant tool acquired by Thomson Reuters as part of the acquisition of Casetext for $650 million, which was completed in August.
The AI-powered updates announced by Thomson Reuters include: 1) generative AI-Assisted research is now available to all Westlaw Precision customers, 2) the launch of a generative legal AI assistant interface next year across all Thomson Reuters generative AI products (Practical Law Dynamic Tool Set, Document Intelligence, and HighQ), and 3) CoCounsel Core, a legal assistant that complements Westlaw Precision and provides lawyers with eight core skills: AI-Assisted Research on Westlaw Precision, Prepare for a Deposition, Draft Correspondence, Search a Database, Review Documents, Summarize a Document, Extract Contract Data, and Contract Policy Compliance.
If Thomson Reuters’ investment of time, resources, and money into this technology doesn’t convince you of its inescapable impact on our profession, I’m not sure what will. The writing is on the wall: adapt or fall behind. If you don’t take advantage of this technology, your competitors will.
For the skeptics: This is not a fleeting trend, but a permanent change in our industry. Instead, it represents a seismic shift that will change the way legal work is done. The integration of AI through platforms like Westlaw Precision and CoCounsel will revolutionize legal workflows by offering unprecedented efficiencies.
The stakes are high. Rather than burying your head in the sand, approach this evolution with curiosity and proactivity. Attend seminars focused on generative AI and actively explore how the legal technology tools you depend on will incorporate or integrate this technology. Harness your newfound knowledge to make informed, strategic decisions that will lay the foundation for your firm's future success, using generative AI not only as a tool but as a strategic asset to benefit both your practice and your clients.
The AI-enabled legal landscape is advancing at breakneck speed, and those who lag in embracing these tools will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. In today’s rapidly changing environment, staying informed and agile isn’t optional—it's essential for survival and success in the modern legal landscape.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Head of SME and External Education at MyCase legal practice management software, an AffiniPay company. She is the nationally-recognized author of "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" (2012) and co-authors "Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier" (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors "Criminal Law in New York," a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at [email protected].