EXCLUSIVE by Artificial Lawyer.
Global professional services giant, Deloitte, along with Deloitte Legal* and specifically Shanghai Qin Li Law Firm (上海勤理律师事务所)**, has developed an AI tool that will help companies in China with regulatory issues. Moreover, it has been trained to work in Mandarin in order to access local law and regulation changes.
Artificial Lawyer spoke to Mark Schroeder, Senior Legal Consultant at Shanghai Qin Li Law Firm (上海勤理律师事务所), Deloitte Legal’s Chinese law firm member, about this new project.
First, Schroeder, notes that what the firm is doing in China is part of its wider use of legal AI tools that Artificial Lawyer covered previously, sometimes in connection with its managed legal services arm. He also notes that they make use of the well-known legal AI doc analysis tools, and have done so for some time.
However, Schroeder explains that what is different about the new AI regulatory application is that first, it’s aimed at China, second, it works in Mandarin, and third, they have built this themselves.
‘This tool is specific to China and our locally licensed law firm, which has around 50 lawyers in Shanghai and Beijing, [and] is likely to double in size over the next three years,’ says Schroeder,
But what does the tool do? And why make such an effort to make an AI tool internally just for one practice area and just for one market?
‘Corporations are facing a very complex regulatory landscape in China and it’s hard for them to stay on top of it,’ explains Schroeder.
There is a constant flow of changes related to licences and permits to conduct certain types of business and it’s difficult to manage, and no doubt expensive to deal with if Chinese authorities come down on a foreign company operating there for breaching one of many hundreds of local rules.
That said, Schroeder points out that many of Shanghai Qin Li Law Firm’s** clients may be global but have been in China so long that their needs are very much domestic-focused.
But, how does it work?
Schroeder explains: ‘Simply put, like this: We have designed a Natural Language Processing platform that digitises and analyses regulatory content. This platform also includes tools that we can use to help clients reduce the costs and improve the quality of their regulatory compliance activities in China. The technology and systems we are developing in/and for clients in China was created in multiple jurisdictions and across different service lines.’
But, that’s just the start of what Schroeder and colleagues are working on. They’re also developing a tool that will help companies handle new data security laws in China, which have been described as ‘GDPR in reverse’, i.e. the Chinese Government is seeking to ensure sensitive commercial and personal data is stored on the ground in China, rather than being sent directly abroad, out of reach.
The new tool will help companies to filter through the information and decide what can leave mainland PRC and what has to stay put. While this may not per se be a machine learning application, it is another example of thinking laterally and practically about where technology can be used to help clients. And, perhaps most of all, it is taking place in a market such as China, where many western legal AI companies have yet to make a significant mark. You can learn more about the data tool here and here.
Deloitte Legal includes the legal practices of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms or their affiliates that provide legal services. The global Deloitte Legal network now comprises over 2,000 legal professionals in 80 countries.
* “Deloitte Legal” means the global network of legal practices which are affiliated with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms. Shanghai Qin Li Law Firm, a licensed Chinese law firm, is the China member of that global network.
**Shanghai Qin Li Law Firm (上海勤理律师事务所) is a Chinese law firm and a member of the Deloitte Legal* global network.