Canadian legal AI company Kira Systems has announced deals with two more law firms following the news this week it had forged the first European law firm deal for an AI-driven cognitive system.
The two new clients build on what would appear to be a first for the European legal market, in the shape of McCann FitzGerald adopting Kira’s AI, making it the first non-UK European law firm to adopt a cognitive engine AI system.
Fenwick is based in Mountain View, California and has a strong pedigree in advising technology companies.
Ralph Pais, technology transactions partner, said of the deal: ‘[We] have invested heavily in tools and processes that make our M&A practice as fast and efficient as possible. Kira allows us to continue this progress by harnessing the power of AI and machine learning.’
Noah Waisberg, CEO and co-founder of Kira Systems, added: ‘Fenwick is well known as an innovator in the legal industry. Kira will help amplify the expertise that Fenwick brings to its leading technology and life sciences M&A practice.’
North of the border in Canada, Osler announced that it would also be making use of Kira’s AI-driven due diligence capability as part of a wider commitment to using technology to help clients in areas such as M&A.
The firm has developed a platform called ‘Osler Works – Transactional’, which seeks to bring together best practice in terms of efficiency and the latest technology to serve clients’ transactional needs.
Emmanuel Pressman, Chair of Osler’s Corporate Department, said: ‘We [have] recruited a core team of specialists to support services such as due diligence, contract analysis, searches, minute books and closings in a manner that is transparent and predictable.’
The firm added: ‘[We have also] invested in a number of innovative technologies, including Kira Systems, Closing Folders, DocuSign and Contract Express, to enhance and systematise our due diligence and closing services. These technologies are being used firm-wide.’
And, as noted in a previous story, Kira has also signed a deal with one of Ireland’s leading law firms, McCann FitzGerald. This is significant as it would appear to be the first non-UK, European firm that has adopted the use of an AI cognitive system.
Why so few non-UK European law firms have adopted AI systems so far is not clear. Some of the European offices of UK global firms are understood to use AI systems, following deals made with the firm as a whole. But, large French, Spanish and German law firms for example have not, at least publicly, announced any deals with AI companies, as far as is known.
One reason could be language, given that the majority of legal AI companies’ main operating language is English. Although at least one AI cognitive system in the legal market operates in German and English, namely LEVERTON.
Another reason could perhaps be differences between AI systems reading Civil Law clauses compared to clauses framed in Common Law, though what these differences would be is not clear, or whether the actual use experience would be any different.
Some may argue that many of the ‘independent’ European law firms are smaller in total size than the large US and UK global firms and perhaps don’t have the resources for AI systems. However in many cases these are firms with several hundred lawyers with sufficient resources to invest in AI and often have large transactional, or real estate practices, that would benefit from AI cognitive systems.