Articles Posted in Big 4 Firms

The legal industry has been slow to embrace artificial intelligence (AI)*. But other industries and professions are not waiting to deliver AI’s enhanced precision and cost efficiencies.

How high do the stakes have to be before law begins to catch up with medicine?

On April 11, 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would, “permit marketing of the first medical device to use artificial intelligence to detect greater than mild level of eye disease retinopathy in adults who have diabetes”.

According to the U.S. FDA, the device: “Provides a screening decision without the need for a physician to also interpret the image or results, which makes it usable by health care providers who may not normally be involved in eye care.”

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Part III

For routine, repetitive, or high-volume legal or regulatory compliance tasks, ask yourself which service provider brings the the right business processes — and perhaps the right technology — to the need presented.

Some of your company’s legal and regulatory needs call for a team and a process.

Not for a particular attorney.

And certainly not for an attorney who happens to be under-utilized or to have only partial aptitude for the task.

Unlike general management, the legal industry doesn’t usually break down routine, repetitive, or high-volume tasks according to Six Sigma, the Toyota Production System, etc.

As a friend put it when we were both first year associates in a prestigious Wall Street law firm: “We’re in a cottage industry!”

He didn’t mean that our work was small beer. After all — each lawsuit and transaction had lots of zeros after the dollar sign.

Instead my friend meant that lawyers at our firm were essentially individual artisans, sitting at work benches making shoes by hand, etc. sitting at our desks, proof-reading trust indentures, researching case law, etc.

Most tasks handled by large law firms, by small law firms, and by in-house legal departments are made-to-order. Lawyers’ work is usually marked by intellectual rigor in the thinking behind it — but not by management rigor in its execution.

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tech picture 12.15.2017When the IRS changes a lease regulation, compliance protocol calls for review of every lease to which a company is a party. Until recently this always meant lots of professionals reading lots of pages for a long time – slow, costly, and error-prone.

Now – employing a tiny percentage of the professionals required for traditional manual review – EY, the Big 4 firm automates this review with an artificial intelligence-based system “three times more consistent and twice as efficient as previous humans-only teams” — and they do it for only a fraction of the cost.

Each of the other Big 4 firms has implemented its own artificial intelligence-based systems to complete faster, cheaper, and more accurately various labor-intensive tasks that have historically been staples of accounting practices: KPMG, Deloitte, and PwC.

But business lawyers are staying away in droves from this sort of labor-saving technology.

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