Legalpreneurs Spotlight – Julian Uebergang — Scaling legal services with AI and Tech: Neota Logic
Originally Published on: September 11, 2017
Julian Uebergang wants lawyers to embrace a tech-powered future, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and on-demand digital expertise. As Asia-Pacific Managing Director of Neota Logic, he is at the fore of a dramatic shake up of how legal services will be offered by firms and within organisations.
“At Neota Logic we are creating a better way to deliver legal services with AI-powered applications that intelligently automate expertise, workflow, and documents. In simple terms, this means we enable experts – lawyers – to gather facts, reason on those facts and produce custom output specific to the circumstances of the inquiry rapidly and at scale.”
Neota Logic provides its services to law firms, corporate legal and risk teams and not-for-profit legal service providers. As artificial intelligence and technological innovation matures, Uebergang sees much potential in its applications for the legal profession.
“We’ve identified two main areas of opportunity: internal efficiency and external engagement,” he said. “Internal efficiency is the process of breaking down a task typically undertaken by junior legal staffers, such as the research of an area of legislation or the creation of a draft contract, and utilising technology to streamline the task. For law firms, external engagement means the creation of externally facing solutions, often customised for a particular client, which can generate additional revenue for the firm or create customer stickiness.”
Where opportunity exists, there is a risk of failing to reap its potential. Uebergang urges lawyers and firms to act now, believing the main threat to the legal profession comes from clients seeking advice from sources other than traditional law firms, due to convenience and cost.
To help lawyers capitalise on the benefits offered by technology, Neota Logic is working with law schools in various parts of the world to engage students interested in the intersection between law and technology.
“We provide our software platform to groups of law students and enable them to create access-to-justice applications for not-for-profit organisations. This enables students to gain skills not normally associated with lawyers, such as product management and user experience design, which adds a different dimension to the skillset of the future lawyer.”
To stay ahead of the innovation curve, he encourages lawyers, especially new lawyers, not only to understand the law but to acquire soft skills such as client engagement, project management and product management – skills not typical to the study of law.
“These skills can be harnessed through STEM courses, as well as through participation in industry events such as hackathons, meetups or through internships with technology start-ups,” he said.
Entrepreneurial thinking will also be an essential skill for the next generation of lawyers. His advice to law students: “Work in start-up organisations, or better yet, create your own start-up business!”
His biggest prediction for the next decade is a dramatic shift in how legal services will be delivered, and who, or what, will provide them.
“Our expectation is that corporate organisations will focus on the creation of self-service ‘digital advisor’ solutions for their staff, to receive answers to important routine and frequent questions. These solutions will span areas such as Risk & Compliance, Human Resources, Legal and Finance, and will enable legal professionals to serve more business units with less staffing requirements, by digitally scaling expertise.
“Increasingly, firms will create products that generate revenue and create client stickiness via their digital channels – including web site and social media channels.”
Neota Logic and Julian Uebergang support the Centre for Legal Innovation as part of their mission to drive change through technology for lawyers and clients.
“The Centre for Legal Innovation is an important resource for legal professionals to access information and networks to enable them to navigate an industry that is going through significant transformational change.
“Enabling the delivery of legal services through technology is gathering momentum, and Neota Logic is at the forefront of this movement,” he said. “We believe that by providing law firms, corporate organisations, not-for-profit organisations and law schools with access to our software platform, we are contributing greatly to the evolution of the legal profession. The Centre for Legal Innovation is an important vehicle within this eco-system and we should collaborate to educate the sector on how the next generation lawyer will practise law in the digital age. Neota Logic is delighted to be working with and supporting the Centre’s inaugural AI in Legal Practice Summit (in Sydney on 20 October). This will be a unique opportunity to bring together everyone interested in AI in the legal sector – we will all learn from each other. I have also enjoyed working as a member of the development group for the summit; it’s been creative, informative and lots of fun – just like the summit will be too!”