A recent tech startup acquisition illustrates the red-hot appeal of AI in the legal sector.
In July, Thomson Reuters paid $650 million to acquire the legal technology firm Casetext. The media giant said it was doing so to further its long-term investment in generative artificial intelligence.
Based in San Francisco, Casetext sells a law office artificial intelligence-based product called AI assistant CoCounsel. The software uses a chatbot interface for legal research, document review and other tasks.
From the ABA Journal:
“Thomson Reuters said in a news release the acquisition is part of an overall strategy to develop generative AI and includes integrating the technology into its products, partnering with other companies and buying up innovators like Casetext that have developed their own products. Earlier this year, it announced that it would invest more than $100 million each year in the burgeoning technology, and in May, it said it had partnered with Microsoft to create a contract drafting plug-in for Word in Microsoft 365 Copilot.”
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NC Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1
A lawyer shall not handle a legal matter that the lawyer knows or should know he or she is not competent to handle without associating with a lawyer who is competent to handle the matter. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
Comment  In determining whether a lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer's training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter, and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question. In many instances, the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner. Expertise in a particular field of law may be required in some circumstances.
Comment  A lawyer need not necessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal problems of a type with which the lawyer is unfamiliar. A newly admitted lawyer can be as competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legal skills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence, and legal drafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps the most fundamental legal skill consists of determining what kind of legal problems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends any particular specialized knowledge.…
Comment  To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with the technology relevant to the lawyer’s practice, engage in continuing study and education, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.
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