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The digital lawyer?

Researchers at Michigan State University believe this should change: They have developed software which is capable of predicting court decisions with a probability of 70%. For this purpose they have gathered beforehand all the available information from 7,700 cases and 68,000 judges involved.1

This software could take over the work of lawyers even in big corporate court cases. In the near future Leg Tech programmes will root through e-mails, word texts, databases and scans, using syntax analyses and key word recognition to filter out documents that are relevant for the case in question.1

Until now this basic work has been carried out by trainees and career starters.2 They burrow through heaps of documents at a cost for the client of more than €250 per hour. No wonder companies are asking ever more frequently why lawyers' fees are so high.

Digital legal experts as the first point of contact

Law firms are now responding in particular with the use of electronic legal discovery software or cooperation with software companies. IBM's Watson-Software ROSS INTELLIGENCE is especially popular as a digital legal expert. And the big law firm DLA Piper for example has entered into a partnership with KIRA, which specialises in artificial intelligence whilst Berwin Leighton uses RAVN for real estate business. This British provider promises intelligent reading, as well as interpretation and summarising of documents. Other major law firms have secured the right of use in recent weeks.

At the same time more portals are being opened for users in the legal field. Portals such as Flightright or EUclaim are especially popular as they allow users to apply for compensation for delayed flights with just a few clicks.2 offers free examination of penalty notices whilst legal portals such as 123recht or Smartlaw want to replace the costly initial meetings with clients even though in most cases a personal lawyer has to conduct the actual case to its conclusion.

It is clear that the sector will change in the coming years. Law firms will hardly be able to manage without Legal Tech and clients will want to be more involved in the assessment of the prospects of success in lawsuits.


1 FAS, Der digitale Doktor. 12 June 2016, P.23

2 FAZ, Algorithmen für die Anwälte, 19 June 2016, P.24

3 Geschwill, Roland & Nieswandt, Martina, Laterales Management, Das Erfolgsprinzip für Unternehmen im digitalen Zeitalter, Springer 2016