(Happy April Fool’s Day everyone, hope you enjoyed that!)
In an ingenious response to the pressures caused by associate attrition and strong client demand, one legal tech company has come up with a solution: autonomous digital twins, which can work 24/7 – and even on Bank Holidays.
Artificial Lawyer spoke to founder and CEO, Patrick Haddock, at his Peckham-based company, Legal Twins, to find out some more.
As Haddock explained from his garage, although the idea seems simple enough, getting an associate’s mental patterns transferred over to a digital database so that they can run as a self-managing ‘twin’ lawyer was actually quite difficult.
He explained that it involved a lot of proprietary technology, something that looked like a giant red rubber octopus, and a massive tower of ZX81s all operating in unison.
And this site has to say, it was indeed an impressive sight. But does it really work?
Haddock explained that they had so far managed to get only two associates’ brains uploaded into the ‘twinning’ system, although he could not show the digital doppelgangers at work yet as ‘there are a few teething problems’.
The main issue was that he needed to remove the personalities from the mind maps of the individuals who had been uploaded, as these were interfering with the smooth running of the digital twins.
‘You see, the goal is to have the continuous ability of the young lawyer to analyse, to review, to redline documents, and to perform case law research, however, after a dozen hours of intense work the digital twins start to show human characteristics of feeling tired and needing a rest,’ he noted.
‘I believe this is some kind of carryover from the associate’s latent sense of self, their human personality, one might say, and this is caught up in a struggle against the program.
‘We will have to de-bug their humanity from the system and then we will be left with just perfect digital workers, which can apply themselves totally to billable matters, with no other desires other than to work. This is the dream,’ Haddock stated.
This site then asked if the associates had any ownership over their digital twin? Haddock explained that both of the associates who had entered the project had signed very stringent release documents that ended any claims they have over their twins or the work they do.
‘This is in their best interests,’ Haddock said, ‘we wouldn’t want them to become emotionally attached to the twin. For example, they may start to feel sorry for them, or even try and release them from their digital servitude. Naturally, that cannot be allowed.’
So, what do the associates get out of handing over themselves like this? Haddock said that they received a one-off payment of £10,000, a new iPhone, and a positive note was added to their law firm performance report.
Which leads to one last question: which law firm are they from? Haddock said it was a trade secret.
But, looking ahead, he added that once the system was running properly it would revolutionise the way the legal market operated, as law firms could double their lawyer ranks by creating digital twins that would be able to work in the same way as the real-world lawyers did, but they would never rest. This would more than double their revenues, he added.
He noted that one of the other challenges was building APIs to all of the legal tech tools the ‘twins’ would need to work with. This was especially tricky given his current tech stack and the fact that the ZX81s were not always compatible with things like HighQ or Ruby Datum.
That said, there was one more positive piece of news. Haddock had been in contact with several venture capital funds and they had all shown an interest.
‘It’s possible that my pre-Seed funding round will be at least $20m, which based on legal tech valuation methodologies at the moment would give Legal Twins a market value of well over one billion. So, once the cash is in the bank I guess that will make me a unicorn. How about that? You know, I always wanted to be a unicorn…’ he concluded.