Allen & Overy launches an AI chatbot for lawyers looking to improve efficiency

Allen & Overy will introduce an artificial intelligence chatbot that assists its lawyers in drafting contracts. The magic circle legal company is looking to adopt this technology to improve efficiency for its clients and lawyers.

After testing the chatbot Harvey since November, the London-based company said that it had launched Harvey. Harvey can be used to create memos or merger and acquisition documents for clients.

Allen & Overy stated that it hadn’t yet informed clients about the tool. It is available to all lawyers at the firm, and approximately 3,500 people in total.

Although similar technology has been used by other groups, this is the first time that it’s been used in the magic circle. This group of London-based law companies that works on City’s top deals, introduced the “generativeAI” software to the company for active cases.

This move is being made as companies from all industries look into the technology. It comes after ChatGPT was launched in November by Microsoft-backed OpenAI, an AI chatbot that can interpret text and provide convincing answers to questions.

Harvey was created using OpenAI’s GPT technology. Harvey is the name of the start-up behind Harvey. It was led by OpenAI Startup Fund and raised $5mn in 2017.

Large language models are a technology that is expected to disrupt many industries that rely on large amounts of text generation, including media and education.

Concerns about AI’s potential threat to millions of jobs have been rekindled by the new wave of AI systems. Allen & Overy stated that Harvey would not replace any employees and would not reduce the billable hours nor save money for clients or the company. Future versions of the technology may lead to cost savings, according to the firm.

David Wakeling, the head of the firm’s markets innovation group made up developers and lawyers, said, “It’s no cutting out anyone. It’s not cost-cutting exercise. It saves time at all levels.

The firm stated that Harvey was a “significant purchase decision”, but it did not give any details about the cost.

Allen & Overy’s decision comes amid increasing pressure for law firms to embrace technology to find efficiencies clients. This follows years of rising salaries for junior staff.

Many law firms use technology to provide work more flexiblely, such as by charging fixed fees instead of per hour.

The AI assistant comes with a disclaimer stating that it should only be used by licensed lawyers. It does still “hallucinate”, which means the program can produce misleading or inaccurate results.

Wakeling stated that lawyers will be notified by Harvey that they must fact-check any Harvey information. Wakeling stated that the main purpose of this tool was to create basic drafts of documents which could be used by lawyers as a starting point for editing or improvement.

Experts are concerned about the ethical use of the technology in legal settings where accuracy is crucial.

Karen Silverman, the founder and chief executive officer of The Cantellus Group (an AI advisory firm), stated that “This version is probably non-that useful and any lawyer using it except for fun should use their skills to question the results they get aggressively.”