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200 Hours a Year Separate the Best Firms from the Rest – AI Can Bridge the Gap Fast

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Author: Thomson Reuters

What separates very successful from unsuccessful law firms is merely 200 hours per year.  Consider the findings of the Thomson Reuters State of U.S. Small Law Firms 2017 Study which reveals that to achieve 1,800 billable hours a year:

  • Lawyers at unsuccessful law firms work 3,100 hours.
  • Lawyers at very successful law firms work 2,900 hours.

That 200-hour-per-year difference breaks down to successful firms working approximately 16 fewer hours per month than unsuccessful firms.  They require less time because they invest in technology to be more efficient in getting their work done.  If you want to rank among the most successful there is good news because the latest legal technology leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) can help you bridge the gap fast.

What is AI?

At its most basic level, AI is software which completes tasks that require more than a simple calculation or analysis. Chances are, you use AI every day to identify:

  • The fastest route home. Before Google Maps, you had to turn on the radio or TV, listen to a traffic report, then determine your quickest route based on what you found out. Now, Google Maps instantly consolidates everything from satellite imagery to real-time data from vehicles on the road to navigate for you.
  • The movies or music you’d enjoy. Some of you may recall strolling the aisles of video rental shops or flipping through albums at the local record shop to discover new favorites. Now, streaming services make suggestions based on what you’ve listened to or watched previously.

Where AI Shines: Optimizing efficiency, accuracy

In our personal lives, AI has proven itself to be a timesaver that helps us get what we want faster. At law firms, this translates into automating mundane, repetitive work, speeding research and enhancing accuracy. The value of this cannot be underestimated, especially considering that a Thomson Reuters study revealed complex legal-research tasks take an average of six hours, and sometimes much longer. When deadlines are looming and hours are waning, the pressure to complete these tasks can be overwhelming and even an experienced lawyer may worry they might have missed a critical detail that could be used against them.

This is where AI shines. Those time-consuming tasks can be pared down to minutes and completed with the utmost accuracy thanks to AI.  The latest innovation in AI powered legal technology is Westlaw Edge.  Here are some ways the AI functionality within Westlaw Edge can help you instantly:

  • Compare statutes. It’s easy to spend hours analyzing each word of a statute so you don’t miss any changes. However, the AI of Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge Statutes Compare can handle it all for you. With a single click of a button you can instantly see how a statute has changed overtime with new text highlighted and old text redlined.
  • Trust that you’re citing good law. Citators that warn of overturned or invalidated cases are a research essential because checking the validity of these cases can take hours without them. But conventional citators have a critical limitation: They only address explicit citing relationships, where a court overrules or invalidates the law in a prior case. However, the AI of Westlaw Edge KeyCite Overruling Risk identifies cases that have been invalidated implicitly because they rely on an authority that has been overruled or abrogated. This KeyCite Overruling Risk indicator even links to the law that contains the invalidating language. Imagine how this could potentially help you save face in the courtroom, or help you identify holes in the opponent’s argument.
  • Get answers for a partner or client. What’s supposed to be a quick search can too often require sorting through a results list, or rephrasing your search term again and again. In contrast, the AI of Westlaw Edge WestSearch Plus can give you predictive research suggestions as you type and quickly identify the underlying authority relevant to your specific legal question.

What will you do with the time AI saves?

In today’s competitive marketplace, where every minute matters, these are just a few ways AI can make a remarkable difference. There are more – discover them in a Westlaw Edge free trial. Then think about what you can do with the time that AI could save. You could expand your law firm without adding additional staff, attract new clients or improve relations with your existing ones, or even rest and rejuvenate a little. It’s all within reach, especially with a Westlaw Edge free trial.

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