Meet Syntheia the new knowledge platform for lawyers that provides a range of capabilities, from NLP-driven knowledge management (KM), to contract review and drafting assistance.
Founder of the US- and Australia-based company, Horace Wu, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘Our software captures knowledge from the minds of legal experts and extracts data from the firm’s documents, and applies these reusable chunks of information in downstream applications.’
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Now, you may say this new platform may well be competing with several other companies, from established KM players to the well-known review companies. However Wu’s strategy is clear: ‘We are not trying to go head-to-head against them. The cost of switching for firms is expensive. Our strategy is to fill the gaps left by the incumbents.’
As noted, Syntheia can be grouped around three main capabilities, these are described as:
- ‘A clause bank which can connect to your document repository and autonomously extract clauses from your documents. This tool enables your team to interact with your organisation’s documents and clauses, and collaborate with each other
- A document review tool which can extract text from documents and distill your expertise into machine learning models in real-time. This tool enables your team to rapidly identify and report on deal-specific issues when reviewing documents;
- A drafting assistance add-in for Microsoft Word which can recommend clauses and other legal text. This tool enables lawyers to access contextually useful suggestions while drafting, reducing risk, and improving the quality and speed of drafting.’
All well and good, and this looks to be a useful addition to the legal tech landscape. But, how did it all begin?
‘We got started as a sort of happy accident. A friend of mine is a data scientist for our German AI partner. We were catching up in Sydney at the end of 2017 when he asked me to help him understand how to analyse leases for a US customer of theirs,’ Wu explained.
‘By the end of our coffee, we were workshopping using NLP to solve higher-valued legal problems. After considering the problems facing lawyers and planning some potential solutions, I incorporated Syntheia about six months later.’
And on a personal level, what drove Wu to move into legal tech?
‘With my background as a corporate lawyer, I had seen a lot of legal tech in the market back in 2017. I observed two distinct weaknesses of the legal tech market back then – first, most legal tech companies were solving very narrow problems, and which rarely worked with other tools in a broader ecosystem,’ Wu said.
‘And second, a lot of the software did not work as well as customers hoped. Our team looked at what lawyers were doing and what they wanted to achieve, and we decided to try to solve the super-broad problem of ‘how do we supercharge the abilities of lawyers and help them create better legal work?’ ‘
So, what next? At present Syntheia has a core team of six – made up of four developers, one data scientist and Wu, and further growth is clearly on the cards.