Don’t know exactly what artificial intelligence, blockchain and compliance technology are? That’s OK, here’s a quick explainer to show how they could help.

Given the pace of recent innovation, 2017 may be a year when technology pushes many corporate counsel to achieve unprecedented growth in efficiency capabilities. As recent advancements in artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and compliance technology have come to fruition, the way counsel operate as well the dynamics of the legal market itself is set to drastically change.

Here is a look at three technologies that corporate counsel should keep their eye on in the new year:

Artificial Intelligence

Much has been said about how artificial intelligence’s (AI) machine learning capabilities will transform the legal world, but only recently has there been evidence of its actual effects. While many corporate counsel struggle to expand their budgets for legal technology , some well-funded teams are leveraging AI to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity.

One only need look to the in-house team at Vodafone Global Enterprise, for example, whose recent adoption of Riverview Law’s AI-system Kim for contract management “freed up lawyer time for more complicated work,” according to Legal Week. The adoption of AI coincided with the doubling of Vodafone’s legal staff.

And this is far from an isolated instance. In fact, the growing amount of corporate counsel empowering their operations with AI technology has already begun impacting the demand for outside counsel contracting work.

As AI enables legal teams to quickly sort through huge volumes of contracts in a matter of hours, it has effectively in-sourced the foundation of many outside counsels’ revenues.

Ron Dolin, senior research fellow at Harvard Law’s Center on the Legal Profession and former Google employee, recently told CNBC that the advancement of efficient contract review “is not reversible,” which means that for outside counsel, “the first-year associate as cash cow to partnership is breaking.”

Law firms serving corporate clients, therefore, are under pressure to switch “from pure billable hours as the dominant model to some fee structure that incentivizes efficiency and value,” he added.

Many expect this trend to continue in 2017, as more corporate counsel turn to AI to handle increasing workloads and bring efficiencies to tasks beyond contracting.

AI can be leveraged by counsel in platforms like @LegalDiscovery and Lex Machina, for example, to make e-discovery more accurate and legal research more encompassing, while applications like Riverview Law’s Kim and RAVN Extract Direct can also help counsel to more effectively create and manage custom workflows and projects.


Essentially a network of decentralized databases, blockchains are predicted to revolutionize how corporate counsel manage contracting and compliance tasks.

While it may take years for blockchain-empowered tools to make their way to all corners of the economy, those working in the financial industry stand to be among the first to utilize such technology in 2017 .

Ron Quaranta, chairman of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, a nonprofit trade association, previously told Legaltech News that over the past year, “every major bank, every major financial services firm, has been engaged in either some level of investment in blockchain startups or in some level of internal investment with their in-

These startups and pilot projects, he added, will be going into production and being deployed at financial firms in 2017.

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