The legal tech world welcomes the arrival of LegalForce, Japan’s first legal AI doc review system, in what is a landmark moment for the country’s legal market.
The arrival of LegalForce, the first company of this type Artificial Lawyer has seen in Japan, is a sign that the once relatively conservative world of Japanese bengoshi is now changing in relation to tech adoption and the demands of clients, just as the rest of the world’s lawyers are now changing. The company is led by a local lawyer, Nozomu Tsunoda.
The Tokyo-based company is operating in a Beta phase at present, but states that it is: ‘[Using] AI to streamline the review work of routine contracts.’ You can check it out in more detail here.
The company appears to have worked with a number of major Japanese companies, including (as seen from its site) Fujitsu, Suntory and Mitsubishi. An ‘official version’ of LegalForce will be released in January 2019 after feedback from its Beta clients.
The company goes on to say* that its goals are to:
- ‘Reduce (human) oversight of contract review. We will reduce the stress related to contracts of legal affairs, such as the anxiety of overlooking risks.
- Streamline troubleshooting and streamline communication, in relation to: misalignment, writing notation and misspellings. We will improve the manual work efficiency and automate version and file management.
- We will use the past knowledge accumulated in a company for new projects. Even in large contracts, we will create an environment that allows us to grasp and organise complicated information.
- We will deal with multilingual documents in the medium term as well.’
In short, they are looking at all of the ways of approaching legal data that we see in American and European legal AI companies. And that’s great to see.
Artificial Lawyer visited Japan last year to talk about legal AI and has spoken to several lawyers and tech enthusiasts in the innovative nation – but the feedback was always that there was little sight of NLP/ML systems in Japan. The local lawyers were just not ready for it, was the message.
Clearly things have changed now, and that’s an important development, especially considering that Japan remains one of the most important economies on the planet and has multiple, huge businesses that operate globally.
Moreover, many of the world’s largest US and UK law firms have offices in Japan, where no doubt there may be interest in utilising a home-grown, Japanese-language-first legal AI system for doc review. After all, who is going to understand Japanese legalese and NLP better than a group of Japanese lawyers turned tech developers?
It’s great to have LegalForce join the legal AI sector. It’s also further proof that the industrialisation of the legal world is truly global in nature.
[ *Translated from the Japanese. ]