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Walmart, Nationwide & Others Explore AI Legal Tools
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Summary: A number of major companies are experimenting with artificial intelligence tools to cut back costs for legal work and speed up the menial jobs.

Walmart is the leader in cutting costs. These cost cutting methods are moving into their legal work but they are not alone. Walmart, Nationwide and a number of other companies are taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence to redirect work.

  
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AI tools are able to “draft contracts, write answers to legal complaints, or answer simple questions,” according to Big Law Business. They don’t completely replace a lawyer yet but they do cut back on the amount of time a lawyer must spend on a task.

Companies are now venturing into a world where artificial intelligence tools are streamlining their in-house legal departments and the work they do with outside counsel, allowing them to save money. The more advanced data tools is a growing cost-saving ability that companies are jumping at, which could end up having an effect on how law firms operate.

Walmart’s senior director of legal operations Tariq Abdullah said that they look for law firms that support their legal and business goals, including technological innovation. However, getting law firms to go along with their expectations can be tricky since it is a big cultural shift from traditional law firm thinking.

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The leader of Walmart’s office of outside counsel management and legal operations, Alan Bryan, explained that they use an AI tool to analyze legal complaints and prepare legal responses to help handle their high number of lawsuits. The goal of using this tool is to reduce the time-consuming and low-level work that outside attorneys are usually asked to complete. He said, “We’re not trying to take work away, we’re trying to give you more time.”

Many of the cases that Walmart handles involve personal injury and employment litigation. Data from Bloomberg Law indicates that roughly 60 percent of their cases over the past five years is for personal injury and 15 percent are employment related. Quite often the complaints Walmart receives are redundant, according to Bryan. He says they are working to reduce “cut-and-paste” work at the beginning of litigation so that the attorneys can focus on more strategic jobs.



LegalMation is helping Walmart do this. The tool can read a complaint and identify key allegations. LegalMation then prepares draft answers with defenses that a lawyer reviews before finalizing. This saves valuable time for attorneys in each case. Walmart uses the tool in-house before sending off the case to an outside firm to complete.

Nationwide Insurance’s IT executive Tom Paider said they are wanting to try chatbots for human resources responses and an interactive contract build system. He said, “Some of the things you just have to explore.” He believes large companies should be putting resourced into the research and development of new technology.

Paider noted that it can be difficult to get parties on board with changes to how technology interacts with the work but it only takes one influential member of a legal team to help others see the vision. Abdullah explains that many fear any changes from AI tools because they worry the tools will replace jobs. The tools will change a firm’s business model but they won’t replace actual lawyers. He said, “It’s an augmentation, not a replacement.”

Do you think AI replaces or compromises quality? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the advances in artificial intelligence legal work, read these articles:

Photo: pixabay.com



 

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