Melbourne-based legal automation and bot platform, Josef, has bagged AUS$1 million in Seed funding. Investors included: Jelix, Tiger Financial Group and Ben Armstrong, Angel investor and ex-Principal of Telstra Ventures.
Josef is primarily designed to enable the automation of specific legal processes, such as Q&A routines to gather knowledge and data, or help with a specific workflow, such as supporting the drafting of legal documents.
You can read more about the company in this special feature in Artificial Lawyer from 2018 – here.
The Australian company said: ‘Bots built by lawyers on Josef can already handle employment law, environmental law, health law, commercial law, bankruptcy, consumer law and more. In our short time of operating, more than 600 bots have been built on Josef, which have dealt with over 30,000 legal problems.’
‘Josef’s mission is to make all legal services more accessible, whether through our work with Herbert Smith Freehills, the American Bar Association or community legal centres like Consumer Action Law Centre,’ they added.
The founders are: Tom Dreyfus (CEO): former lawyer at Arnold Bloch Leibler, Sam Flynn (COO), also a former lawyer at Arnold Bloch Leibler, and Kirill Kliavan (CTO): a machine learning expert.
Dreyfus said: ‘Thirty years ago, lawyers learned to use word processors. Twenty years ago, they learned to use email. Today’s lawyers are learning to use automation to deliver their work faster, better and with their clients front of mind. We’ve built an automation platform to drive that transformation.’
Flynn added: ‘The legal industry is really starting to change. Lawyers realise that the way they’ve done things in the past isn’t working anymore. It doesn’t work for them or their clients. Josef is part of that change.’
Meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills partner, Mike Gonski, concluded: ‘I believe that Josef are onto something big…my view on the future of law is that lawyers need to work out how to turn what they do every-day into processes. Josef is the first software I have seen where the lawyer is empowered to turn their process into a chatbot or an app rather than needing to pay a developer to do it for them.’
‘That is game changing as it has never been worth the cost of paying the developer when right now it is cheaper to just do it the ‘old fashioned way’ and keep the process on a piece of paper or an excel spreadsheet. Hopefully chatbots will take off so that they can deal with repetitive, cookie cutter work and lawyers can spend their time coming up with bespoke, commercial solutions for their clients,’ he added.
Are bots the answer to all legal efficiency issues….? Nope. But, clearly they can help, so it’s great to see Josef get this level of support. It’s also interesting to see the views of a partner from a global law firm on the use of bots.
The key here is that a lawyer’s life is made up of many dozens of narrow processes. If some of those can sensibly be made more efficient through automation – and that this narrow automated product can be relatively easily made within a law firm using a platform such as Josef – then this is a positive step forward and should be embraced.
Well done to the team at Josef. It’s also great to see another Australian legal tech success!