Legal AI Co. Luminance Bags South Africa’s Webber Wentzel

Leading South African law firm, Webber Wentzel, has announced it has chosen legal AI company Luminance to provide doc review services for M&A transactions.

This is the latest in a series of client wins for the UK-based AI company, which last week also announced it had partnered with Sweden’s Delphi and also Luxembourg’s Arendt & Medernach. In the latter case the Benelux firm will be making use of Luminance’s new real estate document review capacity. Until recently the company had been focused on M&A due diligence work.

In a statement Webber Wentzel said it ‘particularly values the platform’s built-in collaboration tools which will allow its lawyers to quickly group and assign documents, track live progress, and significantly reduce the amount of time spent organising workflow’.

Celia Pienaar, Legal Project Manager at Webber Wentzel’s Legal Services Centre, added: ‘[We have] been using a number of innovative technology solutions to continuously improve efficiencies and add value when we deliver our legal services to our clients. Machine learning technology is the next step in our journey, focusing on enhancing the management and review of increasingly large volumes of documents.’

Sally Hutton, Managing Partner at Webber Wentzel, said: ‘Our investment in Luminance comes at a time when Webber Wentzel is celebrating 150 years in business. This investment is just another example of the constant innovation that has been at the heart of the firm’s success.’

Luminance said that it now has over 70 customers across 18 countries. It has also grown very quickly since its launch in 2016. Of course, how far the law firms signed up to the system actually use it remains to be seen, but getting through the door is essential for firms to get to grips with the technology. As the saying goes: you have to start somewhere.

With regard to the two other recent deals, Carsten Opitz, a partner at Arendt, said: ‘We were thrilled at how quickly Luminance was able to deliver value in both the M&A and real estate transactions, saving the team three hours on the very first day of the Pilot. As a result, we anticipate these improvements in efficiency helping us to accelerate our expertise in Luxembourg business law both regionally and internationally.’

Emily Foges, Luminance CEO, added: ‘We’re particularly excited about Arendt’s adoption of Luminance as the first user of the real estate functionality and our first customer in Luxembourg.’

And, in Sweden, Per Berglöf, Senior Advisor at Delphi, concluded: ‘Using Luminance, we are able to significantly reduce the time spent on M&A due diligence compared to conventional manual methods. The intuitive, easy-to-use technology provided our lawyers with an immediate understanding of the data room and we’re excited to deploy Luminance across the firm and see the efficiency gains AI can deliver.’