Legal AI Academics Seek Collaboration with Law Firms

The international organisation for legal AI academics, IAAIL, is to embark on a campaign to collaborate and engage more widely with the commercial legal world. This is seen as an effort to bridge the knowledge gap between AI theoreticians and lawyers who use the new technology.

As part of this effort the group’s ICAIL annual conference in the UK this year will see a special legal AI workshop on the 12 June at Kings College, London.

Lawyers from across the industry will be invited to join in and participate in hands on demonstrations of legal AI technology at work, as well as have a chance to learn more about natural language processing and machine learning, key technologies which are at the heart of many legal AI applications.

Meanwhile the academics will have a chance to understand how commercial lawyers work, what matters to them and what kinds of legal AI technology lawyers really want.

The workshop is backed by UK law firm, Mishcon de Reya, and will be presided over by the UK’s very own President of the global IAAIL organisation, Katie Atkinson, who is based at the University of Liverpool.

Mishcon Chief Strategy Officer, Nick West, told Artificial Lawyer that he had contacted the IAAIL last year to suggest that its academics work more closely with commercial law firms, perhaps via hosting an event. Meanwhile, Atkinson noted that she had been having a very similar idea, i.e. that the two worlds needed to be closer together and learn from each other. Atkinson already collaborates with several UK law firms on AI projects, but wanted to see a broader engagement.

Katie Atkinson

‘We want to have a knowledge exchange and see more collaborations [between AI academics and law firms],’ said Atkinson. ‘Hopefully this event can be the start of something longer term.’

West added that he wanted to see lawyers and AI experts coming together to explore actual use cases that partners in a commercial law firm would really apply to their own work. One challenge he noted was that some legal AI projects were too divorced from real use cases.

In short the aim is to link the theoretical and research side of AI to the applied use of AI in the demanding and pragmatic world of commercial law.

The move comes at just the right time, as legal AI technology has never seen so much interest among lawyers. The market is seeing a flurry of firms adopting AI systems, ranging from document analysis applications to legal research and litigation prediction systems. Law firms are also increasingly experimenting with rules-based ‘expert systems’, while legal chat bots are also just beginning to see some early adopters.

The project should also help to boost the profile of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law, or IAAIL. While the academic group is well known in university circles its profile among law firms, as well as some in the legal tech industry, is not so developed.

If you would like to attend please contact:, or see the dedicated webpage: ICAIL workshop.