AL Interview: Neota Logic’s Rick Seabrook on ‘Smart Advisors’

Posted: 15 August 2016
By: Neota Logic

Artificial Lawyer met up with Rick Seabrook, European Managing Director of Neota Logic and asked him about the company’s work in developing smart advisors in the legal space.

Neota Logic is pioneering the development of ‘smart advisors’, which one might call ‘outward facing software that allows clients to receive guidance on legal issues’. Would that be an accurate description and how would a law firm create one if it wished to work with Neota Logic on such a service for clients?

Neota Logic works with law firms to develop software algorithms that solve complex legal and compliance problems. In turn, these algorithms power ‘smart advisors’ that are highly intelligent and interactive applications from which users can receive highly bespoke guidance or advice on a specific case. Law firms can choose to deploy smart advisors to staff for internal decision-support – for example to provide guidance on multi-jurisdictional reporting requirements in a cross-border M&A transaction – or make available to clients as a highly advanced form of collaboration. In some of the most progressive innovation, clients have even launched entirely new legal businesses built entirely around our software.

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Rick Seabrook, Managing Director Europe, Neota Logic

The readership may not know about the foundation story of Neota Logic, could you give a brief intro about the role of Michael Mills, your CSO, in the birth of the company?

The company was founded in 2009 around a vision of providing a zero-code software platform for innovative lawyers and other professionals to automate advice, documents and processes. Michael Mills, who is our Chief Strategy Officer and was previously a Partner with the law firm Mayer Brown and at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he led technology strategy, very much envisaged the design of the software. As a former practising litigation attorney and natural innovator, he has always been at the very forefront of legal technology innovation and a belief that technology can be applied to supplement if not supplant lawyers. His recent article published with Thomson Reuters entitled ‘Artificial Intelligence in Law- The State of Play 2016’ is a must read for those seeking a balanced and purely factual perspective on where things stand today.

Some law firms have already created entirely digital practices using your smart advisor technology, (for example US law firm Littler Mendelson and its ComplianceHR joint venture with Neota that offers HR and employment law guidance). What are the key benefits to clients and law firms with this type of interface?

Our software aims to combine the experience a client receives from the best lawyer on their best day with the scalable power of modern technology. In effect, you are modelling the best attributes of the client-lawyer interaction; intelligent questioning, experienced-based reasoning, inference and the application of judgement to produce a customised client deliverable such as a report, letter, contract or piece of legal guidance. What makes Neota unique is that all this can be applied to highly complex areas of law, literally combining billions of fact patterns. All made very simple and highly available 24/7 for the client through software on their desktop or handheld device.

The benefit to the client is in having the best actionable advice or deliverable available to them whenever they need it, knowing that it represents the best that the firm can offer, every time, regardless of the underlying complexity.

For the lawyer, there are potential enormous benefits in terms of enhancing existing client relationships, creating new client relationships, opening up new markets, brand differentiation as well as assuring the quality of the underlying work product.

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