Who are you and what is your role?
My name is Kevin Miller, and I serve as the CEO of LegalSifter, a company dedicated to making global legal support affordable by empowering people with artificial intelligence.
What do you think will be the single most defining technical or operational feature of the next 1-5 years in law? And then, same question – but over the next decade?
The infusion of natural language processing and machine learning into the legal profession will allow lawyers to serve more customers in the same hour than they ever thought possible. As the technology improves, so will the quality of legal services, while the cost and speed will drop. More customers – business and consumers – will have affordable access to legal support. Lawyers who build A.I.-enabled service products will benefit professionally and economically in ways they did not know were possible.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as a game-changer for law. What do you think?
Lawyers read, think, and write for a living. A.I. will help them do all three of those things faster, cheaper, and with higher quality.
The vast majority of technology presented to lawyers historically operates on the periphery of what they do, offering only relatively minimal opportunities for scale – e.g., billing software, workflow management, e-discovery databases, and research software. Lawyers have an unearned reputation of repudiating technology, when in fact, technology has not allowed them to become consistently better at their jobs. It’s why many make it through the day with a yellow legal pad. A.I. will change that. Once lawyers understand it, they will sprint to use it just like other functions – sales, finance, manufacturing, engineering, service, etc. have run towards technology for years.
Cybersecurity is often quoted as being both the next greatest risk and also the greatest revenue opportunity for legal services providers. What are your thoughts?
Well, it’s certainly the greatest risk. One has the feeling that the Internet and technology in general is out ahead of the current state of cybersecurity.
Whether the legal community will benefit from the cybersecurity race is unclear. It represents one of the most popular investment opportunities these days because of future demand.
Is Automation a “silver bullet” for law – or is law more complicated than other sectors?
Law has not found a technology to embed the tacit knowledge of its providers into a computer or a machine. Other sectors and functions have done that and successfully scaled.
A.I. will finally allow lawyers to do what other sectors have already done. Once the profession becomes something other than services-only, it will go through the same changes that we have seen in other sectors.
There is much more data available for both lawyers and their clients? Is more better – or just more?
More data will allow for more transparency and innovation. Yes, I think it’s better.
We see a push for greater “value” and “innovation” in both legal products and price levels, structures? Is there more to value than the price tag these days?
Yes … value is often measured in the expectations of customers. Legal products and price levels are largely unaffordable today. As a result, the legal profession frequently does not meet the expectations of its existing and potential customers. We would be wise to measure our value in terms of satisfied customers.
There’s a growing trend toward litigation funding and other forms of legal financing. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s a direct response to the lack of affordability of legal services – a natural innovation to solve the problem that expensive litigation presents.
We see more pricing data and a push for greater transparency in legal procurement. What do you see as the implications of this?
Compressed margins for legal service providers. Eventually, they will look to A.I. to re-expand those margins.
Last question: what’s the one shift or change you think will catch the industry un-prepared in the next decade – whether good, bad or downright ugly?
Many will wait too long to embrace the A.I. that is coming. They will be surprised by the speed with which their customers leave them for lower priced, higher value alternatives to the service-only solutions they have had no choice but to buy for decades.
Kevin Miller joined LegalSifter in September 2015 as its CEO after nearly nine (9) years at Industrial Scientific Corporation (ISC), where he completed his tenure as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to ISC, he helped launch an online version of Argosy University, with regionally-accredited bachelors’, masters’, and doctoral programs in business, education, and psychology. Before Argosy, he spent nearly six (6) years in a variety of roles at FreeMarkets and Ariba, its acquirer, in the global sourcing and procurement software space. Kevin holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, a Master of Business Administration degree from the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Davidson College. Kevin is also a licensed, but inactive attorney in the state of Ohio.