Eversheds Sutherland Adopts Legal AI Risk System ThoughtRiver

Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland has announced its adoption of legal AI company ThoughtRiver as part of its managed legal services arm, ES Ignite.

As noted previously in Artificial Lawyer, ThoughtRiver, which provides automated checking of contracts for risk and compliance issues, had been piloting with the Anglo-American firm for several months. It has now become a full part of the ES Ignite legal tech offering for its corporate clients.

Explaining why it had chosen Cambridge-based ThoughtRiver, the firm said it had looked at a number of legal AI solutions, but hadn’t been able to find the one that fitted their use case, which is to serve inhouse legal teams’ day to day needs.

‘[The others] didn’t work in the same way as a normal in-house legal team would, instead catering for bulk contract processing, [rather than] working on an individual transactional basis,’ the firm said in a statement.

ES Ignite challenged ThoughtRiver and thoroughly tested its capabilities, with the AI company making some tweaks to the system to meet the law firm’s needs.

Now, however, they say they’ve got what they wanted, which is a system that can: handle both bulk and single contracts; provides a triage service which enables a better use of resources; and what the firm says is ‘speed and efficiency [that] aligns to the need for fixed fee working and cost efficiencies in the managed service space’.

ES Ignite added that they ‘have plans for ThoughtRiver to work further up the complexity tree’.

Barry Rodick, Product Owner, Eversheds Sutherland Ignite said: ‘ThoughtRiver not only provides us a way of triaging contracts and prioritising our resources, it effectively provides us with another legal team.

Commenting on the move, ThoughtRiver founder, Tim Pullan (pictured above), told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We view it as a significant step forward in terms of creating the new more automated legal services of the future.’

‘For us, ES Ignite are a great client to work with because they have already done so much of the strategic thinking. We’re really excited about this developing relationship,’ Pullan added.

Eversheds Sutherland set-up ES Ignite in 2015 in response to the increasing opportunities afforded by legal tech, with a strategy of addressing the time constraints and economic demands of in-house legal work.