RAVN Offers 'Self-Service' AI, as Demand Grows in Legal Sector

Applied AI developer, RAVN Systems, is rolling out a ‘self-service’ facility for law firms and inhouse legal departments to make use of its technology. The new service will be branded Extract Direct.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 07.56.58What this means is that rather than having RAVN AI experts work closely with a law firm, for example, helping the lawyers there to make best use of the applied cognitive AI engine and its suite of capabilities to extract data from legal documents, clients will be able to directly upload documents to the company that they need to examine without RAVN’s immediate input beforehand.

This allows the client to control the process and also to rapidly make use of RAVN’s technology at short notice if a sudden client need arises to analyse a large number of documents.

The development of a self-service approach also indicates a change in the way some lawyers are thinking about consuming AI services, i.e. moving toward a higher level of control over the process and wanting freedom to use AI systems whenever they want to.

This is also a change for RAVN, as clients who choose this option will be left to make use of the tech company’s software as they see fit. Naturally it is hoped that the law firms are still able to get the best results from this ‘hands off’, self-service approach, rather than relying on RAVN’s guidance and input.

Jan Van Hoecke, CTO and Co-Founder of RAVN Systems, noted that joining together applied AI with legal work demanded a certain level of proficiency in two domains.

Jan Van Hoecke
Jan Van Hoecke, CTO, RAVN

‘[In this case] we are joining together the complex technological world with the complex legal world,’ he said.

Van Hoecke added that ‘there is a lot under the hood’ in terms of the coding and computational mathematics that goes into RAVN’s applied AI systems.

He stressed that there was still a threshold to cross before you could just leap in and start using the self-service system.

As such it may be the case that some of the firms using the self-service capability may be those with prior experience of working with RAVN, or other AI systems.

The company is looking forward to the feedback from the law firms that use the self-service function and how they adapt to making use of AI in this way. One other factor in this self-service approach is that RAVN’s applied AI services could see an increase in volume, in terms of their use by firms.

In parallel, Van Hoecke adds that the team has greatly reduced the amount of time they now need to spend with a new law firm client, or new practice group, that is using the technology. Initially they had spent over a month working with the lawyers involved, that training process has now been cut down to just a couple of days.

Ultimately, this seems to be a case of a complex technology becoming more popular in terms of client demand and hence starting to move into the phase where the users want an interface that primarily just delivers, rather than have all those on the demand-side necessarily seeking to understand the underlying process or the technology involved.

To some degree one could call this the ‘consumerisation’ of applied AI. And that may well signal a far greater uptake of AI across the legal market as it becomes easier to use. Similar patterns have been seen with many other types of technology that moved from niche to mainstream levels of adoption.