Cravath’s offices at 825 8th Avenue in New York. March 31, 2016. (Rick Kopstein/NYLJ.)
Cravath, Swaine & Moore has joined the growing ranks of elite law firms turning to artificial intelligence in an attempt to cut costs and improve efficiency by signing a deal with British software company Luminance.
London-based Luminance is part-owned by Slaughter and May, a Magic Circle firm that frequently works together with Cravath on cross-border transactions. Slaughter and May, which began working with Luminance last year, also reportedly took a 5 percent equity stake in the business in return for help in developing its own AI software.
Cravath had had been piloting Luminance’s machine learning system for several months. Corporate partner George Schoen appeared alongside Luminance CEO Emily Foges at ALM Media LLC’s Legaltech conference in New York this past February on a panel discussing AI’s impact on due diligence. (ALM Media is the publisher of The American Lawyer.)
“I don’t see a lot of risk to the client when using artificial intelligence, as long as it’s used as a tool,” said Schoen, responding to a question on the potential risks of introducing AI into the legal profession.
Having helped test and pilot the software, Slaughter and May became Luminance’s first customer when the company launched last September. The top U.K. firm has further ties to Luminance through its financial backer, Invoke Capital Partners, an investment fund founded by members of the senior management team at British enterprise software company Autonomy.
Slaughter and May advised Autonomy, a longstanding client of the firm, on the $10.3 billion sale in 2011 of the Cambridge, England-based company to Hewlett-Packard Co. (Slaughter and May worked with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius on that controversial transaction, which subsequently devolved into litigation and allegations of wire fraud.)
Other firms to have signed deals with AI software providers such as Kira Systems, Luminance and ROSS Intelligence in recent years include Baker & Hostetler, Clifford Chance, Dentons, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Travers Smith, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.