5 takeaways from CLOC’s ‘Real World Applications of AI & Data Analytics’ session

Alaina Lui | May 20, 2021 | Articles

The 2021 CLOC Global Institute has ended, marking its second virtual event an official success. The event touched on numerous topics diving into legal operations training, networking, and idea-generating sessions. However, the session that caught our eye focused on how AI and data analytics are being applied in everyday legal ops.

AI is growing in importance in the legal ops space, which is why we’ve summarized 5 key takeaways from the session featuring Rich Robinson, Director of Legal Operations & Litigation Support at Toyota Motor North America and Karen Klein, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Relativity.

AI’s current use case for legal ops teams

Let’s first analyze how AI is being leveraged in legal ops right now. A common misconception is to relate AI to sci-fi tropes such as robots taking over the world. However AI is already a built-in part of our everyday lives. Unlocking your phone with facial recognition, personalized ads that seem to follow you on every website, and even Netflix recommendations are just some examples of how we’re constantly using AI.

In the legal industry, AI streamlines processes to eliminate time-consuming, tedious, and repetitive tasks like document review, coding and legal invoice review, contract lifecycle and knowledge management. In order for legal ops professionals to effectively identify, implement, and manage the adoption of AI-powered solutions, the panelists at CLOC shared 5 key principles:

  1. Don’t do automation for automation’s sake.
    Don’t just automate something because you can – automate it because it makes sense. Robinson best described this concept by showcasing Toyota’s “Lean” business practice in thinking about processes that help identify where there is a problem. It’s important to look at the whole process and identify a goal before trying to automate a task. Identifying the pain points from a process helps highlight what actions need to be automated and why. Sometimes the source of pain points are people, sometimes it’s the process, and sometimes it’s the technology itself. Determine what it is for your organization before automating.
  2. Data is valuable, but only if you can do something with it.
    As Robinson shares, “Data is the new oil.” Data is a resource you need to mine or drill into in order to use it at its maximum potential. Without a good process of how to extract and make sense of the data, it is useless. The ability to reference metrics and KPIs leads to taking action and making better decisions. Correctly utilizing the data helps improve decision-making for your organization, such as the need to implement AI processes.
  3. Align AI usage to your legal ops and organization goals.
    Understanding what your organization’s goals and values are is crucial to your success. It creates a guiding force in why legal ops should use AI to improve their processes. The purpose behind each action should be referenced through a story of serving that larger goal based on what the data and metrics are telling you. Not understanding that purpose will make it difficult to create a narrative, which leads into our next takeaway…
  4. Create a narrative to showcase the success of AI.
    Showing AI’s success and how it is aligned to the organization’s goals is important to encourage and continue the progression of AI into legal ops. The strategy legal teams can take to communicate the success of AI in their department is to begin with the numbers. Putting numerical findings into a narrative such as: saving X amount of money, decreasing review time by X amount, or having a contract signed X times faster all lead to a successful narrative for AI usage. Be sure to include visualization to showcase these stories as well!
  5. When in doubt, start small.
    Find something you can accomplish in the smallest amount of time, not necessarily the biggest pain point. In other words, go for the low hanging fruit if you’re just starting to implement AI into your legal ops. If you can identify something small that would have an immediate return on investment, that win would be bigger than trying to identify a large problem that could take 3-5 years to fix. Look for the biggest value-add you can accomplish in the shortest amount of time and leverage that win to drive your momentum in increasing AI processes within your legal operations.

Legal operations is constantly evolving and the annual CLOC Global Institute is a great place for the industry to come together to learn from each other.

Interested in more content about CLOC 2021? Check out what a first-time CLOC Global Institute attendee learned during their experience. For more in-house legal content and to stay on top of all things legal operations, subscribe to our blog.