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  • Embracing Neurodiversity: A New Frontier in the Legal Profession

    By Marco Imperiale Introduction. Innovative Perspectives in Law through Neurodiversity envision a law firm or a legal department where the unique neurological composition of its team is not just welcomed but is the foundation of its inventive prowess and success. This progressive concept springs from neurodiversity, a notion which encompasses various neurological conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and Tourette Syndrome. Far from being mere medical terms, these conditions contribute to the rich diversity of human cognitive function, offering a plethora of experiences and capabilities. In the realm of law, known for its intricate challenges and deep-rooted traditions, the embrace of neurodiversity heralds a significant breakthrough. By appreciating these cognitive differences, law firms and legal departments can unlock a treasure trove of unique skills and viewpoints, significantly boosting their innovative capacity, problem-solving acumen, and adaptability in an ever-changing environment. The concept of neurodiversity treats variations in brain function and behavioral traits as a natural aspect of human diversity. This paradigm shift enhances understanding and opens new avenues for those with neurological differences, viewing these not as deficits but as unique variations of the human brain, each with its strengths and challenges. It's estimated that about one in seven individuals is neurodivergent, encompassing both those with inherent neurodevelopmental differences, such as specific learning differences or autism, and those who acquire neurodivergence later in life, perhaps due to an event like a stroke or depression. These neurodivergent and neuro-acquired individuals have brains that operate uniquely, bringing both strengths and challenges distinct from the majority. It's not unusual for them to exhibit varying degrees of neurodivergent functioning. In the workplace, this neurodiversity can be transformative. Neurodivergent and neuro-acquired professionals often possess qualities that foster exceptional perspectives and problem-solving abilities, enhancing team dynamics and performance. Reflecting this trend, forecasts such as those from Gartner for IT organizations and users predict that by 2027,  25% of Fortune 500 companies will actively seek neurodivergent talent, recognizing the unique advantages they bring to the table. The Current Landscape and Untapped Potential of Neurodiversity in Law Traditionally, the legal profession is perceived as conservative and resistant to change, particularly regarding workforce diversity. However, a slow but steady recognition of the strengths inherent in neurodivergent individuals is emerging. For instance, individuals with ASD often exhibit extraordinary capabilities in memory recall and pattern recognition, skills that are invaluable in the meticulous analysis of legal documents, case law, and in developing detailed legal strategies. Similarly, individuals with ADHD might possess a remarkable ability to think creatively and respond agilely, qualities that are highly advantageous in dynamic legal settings such as negotiations and courtrooms. Despite the inherent advantages that neurodivergent individuals can bring, their representation in the legal field is disproportionately low. Recent surveys indicate that the percentage of legal professionals who identify as neurodivergent is starkly lower than the estimated percentage of neurodivergent in the general population. This disparity is not a reflection of a lack of talent but rather of the legal industry's historical under-recognition and inadequate accommodation of neurodivergent professionals. The consequence of this underrepresentation is a significant overlooking of potential talent and perspective that could greatly benefit the legal profession. Neurodivergent legal professionals who have navigated these barriers and carved out successful careers offer a compelling testament to the untapped potential within this demographic. Their success stories challenge long-standing perceptions of what constitutes competence in the legal field and are paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive legal workforce. Overcoming Challenges: Creating an Inclusive Legal Environment The integration of neurodiverse talent in the legal profession is not without its challenges. The conventional legal workplace, with its focus on uniformity and adherence to traditional work practices, often presents significant barriers to individuals who think and operate differently. Furthermore, the high-stress, high-stakes nature of many legal settings can be particularly challenging for neurodivergent individuals, who may require different types of support to thrive. To effectively incorporate neurodivergent talent, the legal industry needs to undergo a cultural shift. This shift involves reevaluating and adapting workplace practices to be more inclusive and accommodating of different cognitive styles and needs. Such outcomes would illustrate that embracing neurodiversity is not merely a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage that can drive innovation and enhance the competitiveness of legal practices. Hereunder I articulate 10 strategies to create a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent individuals: 1. Develop a recruitment process that actively seeks neurodivergent individuals, emphasizing their unique strengths.Traditional recruitment methods often overlook neurodivergent talents. To attract these individuals, tailor your job advertisements to highlight the value your firm places on diverse thinking and problem solving skills. Collaborate with organizations specializing in neurodivergent employment to reach a wider pool of candidates. During interviews, use structured questions and consider alternative evaluation methods like work trials or skill-based assessments, which might be more effective in showcasing a neurodivergent candidate's abilities. 2. Create an environment that accommodates neurodivergent employees' needs, such as quiet spaces and flexible work hours.A sensory-friendly workspace can significantly improve the productivity of neurodivergent staff. Consider providing options for noise-cancellation headphones, adjustable lighting, and quiet rooms. Additionally, flexible work schedules can accommodate varying productivity patterns and reduce stress, making your firm a more attractive and supportive workplace for neurodivergent individuals. 3. Conduct regular training sessions for all staff to foster understanding and support for neurodiversity.Implementing regular workshops and seminars about neurodiversity helps build an inclusive culture. These sessions should educate your team about different neurological conditions, how they can manifest in the workplace, and the benefits they bring. Encourage open discussions and Q&A sessions to demystify neurodiversity and promote empathy. 4. Establish mentorship and peer support programs specifically for neurodivergent employees.Mentorship can play a crucial role in the professionals development of neurodivergent workforce. Pairing them with experienced mentors who understand their unique strengths and challenges can facilitate their career progression. Additionally, create peer support groups to provide a platform for sharing experiences and strategies for success. 5. Use clear, concise, and direct internal communication, and offer multiple modes of communication.Neurodivergent individuals may have different communication preferences. It's important to offer options like written instructions, visual aids, or face-to-face discussions. Ensure all communication is straightforward and unambiguous to prevent misunderstandings and ensure clarity. 6. Align tasks and projects with the unique strengths of neurodivergent employees.Recognize the specific skills and interests of your neurodivergent professionals and assign tasks accordingly. For instance, someone with exceptional attention to detail might excel in research or contract review, while another individual's creative thinking could be invaluable in strategy meetings or brainstorming sessions. 7. Customize performance evaluations to be fair and reflective of neurodivergent employees' capabilities.Traditional performance metrics may not accurately measure the contributions of neurodivergent professionals. Adjust your evaluation criteria to focus on the quality and impact of their work rather than conventional benchmarks like speed or networking skills. Provide constructive feedback in a manner that resonates with them. 8.    Ensure all employees have easy access to the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs effectively.This could mean providing specialized software for those with dyslexia or ensuring that office spaces are accessible to individuals with peculiar physical conditions. Investing in technology and resources that support diverse working styles demonstrates your firm's commitment to inclusivity. 9.    Involve neurodivergent employees in creating policies that affect their work life.Including neurodivergent perspectives in policy development ensures that your firm's policies are truly inclusive. Invite feedback and suggestions from neurodivergent employees on issues ranging from workplace accommodations to career development programs. This not only aids in creating effective policies but also fosters a sense of belonging and value. 10.    Actively participate in community initiatives and advocacy for neurodiversity.Engaging with the wider community on neurodiversity issues can enhance your firm’s reputation as an inclusive employer. Participate in events, support neurodiversity charities, and advocate for legal changes that support neurodivergent individuals. This external engagement not only benefits the community but also enriches your firm's culture and broadens the understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity among your staff. Implementing these strategies can transform your law firm into a more inclusive environment that not only supports neurodivergent individuals but also benefits from their unique strengths, leading to a more dynamic, innovative, and competitive practice. Conclusion: Embracing Neurodiversity for a Dynamic Legal Future The integration of neurodiversity into the legal profession signifies a transformative shift towards a more inclusive, innovative, and effective practice of law. This movement goes beyond simply adhering to diversity norms; it taps into a rich reservoir of untapped potential and different perspectives. By welcoming and nurturing neurodivergent talent, law firms and legal departments can achieve more than just a diverse workforce; they can attain a higher level of excellence, innovation, and adaptability. The future of law, vibrant and diverse, will be shaped by the inclusion of neurodiversity as a critical component. This evolution reflects the varied needs and backgrounds of the clients and communities that the legal profession serves and is a step towards a legal practice that is not only fair and representative but also robustly equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the modern world. As awareness and understanding of neurodiversity continue to grow, so too does the potential for transformative change in the legal landscape, driving the profession towards new horizons of innovation, excellence, and inclusivity. About the Author Marco is founder and managing director of Better Ipsum, a benefit corporation focused on legal design, legal innovation, and legal wellbeing. He has extensive experience in legal design, legal tech, and in the interplay of copyright law and the entertainment industry. Whenever he finds time, he also works as mediator, teaching fellow for Harvard Law School (CopyrightX course), and mindfulness trainer. He is a frequent public speaker and the author, together with Barbara de Muro, of the first Italian book on legal design. #MarcoImperiale #neurodiversity #talent #change #workplace #inclusive #wellbeing

  • SPRINGBOK AI ANNOUNCES THE GENERAL RELEASE OF ITS NO-CODE LEGAL TOOLKIT: SPRINGLAW

    [LONDON, 11 JUNE 2024] - Today, Springbok AI announces the general launch of SpringLaw, a powerful LLM-agnostic solution that enables law firms and legal professionals to transform their knowledge and processes into effective, generative AI-powered tools for everyday workflows and client-focused solutions. Currently in private beta and with an invite-only waitlist of over 40 law firms, Springbok will officially begin accepting new applications to the waitlist from this Thursday, 13th June, the first day of the Legal Tech Talk conference where Cofounder and CEO, Victoria Albrecht, is set to speak. “With the release of our game-changing SpringLaw tool suite - Wizards, Chats and Tables, we’ve taken the process of turning firms’ long lists of use case ideas for workflow automation and client solutions into tangible tools to the next level,” remarks Victoria Albrecht, CEO at Springbok AI. SpringLaw has data privacy, simplicity, and customisability at its heart, recognising that each law firm and respective clients have unique needs that are not addressed by the market’s current offering. The user-friendly SpringLaw platform allows legal professionals to easily get started with generative AI, configure tools to their specific workflows, and build out entire practice toolkits. There are two main ways to achieve this on the SpringLaw platform: firms with available Legal Engineer and Data Scientist resources can configure and create custom tools directly via SpringLaw Wizards. Alternatively, firms and GCs can partner with Springbok AI for its concierge service. Lawyers are chronically time-poor. Our concierge service enables ambitious firms whose biggest challenge is getting lawyers’ time to be time-efficient. In other words, we hold firms’ hands and ensure it gets done within typically 4-8 hours. The SpringLaw platform has three modules: Wizards: Create reusable workflow tools and monetisable client solutions based on your unique knowledge, expertise and processes. This builder, when used out-of-the box, lets users create reusable workflow tools and monetisable client solutions based on your unique knowledge, expertise and processes. Configurers provide “context” in the form of documents and “directions” in the form of background prompts, enabling practices to create and share entire templated document generators, assistants, and workflow automations. A Concierge Service (get it done fast) and White-Glove Service (quality guarantee) are both available options. Chats: Whether it’s contracts, white papers, reports, RFPs or anything else, Chats enables legal professionals to dynamically and interactively work with multiple documents at once. Use Springbok’s existing prompts or create a bespoke library for your firm, and talk to your documents. Summarise. Draft. Extract. For those that have been following Springbok for a while, Chats was previously known as “Springbok GPT”. Tables: Need to assess 200 property portfolios for the impact of a leasehold reform bill? Or review 160 director’s liability case outcomes for financial penalties? Want to monitor 5 of your client competitors' sustainable forestry claims for ESG tracking? Consider it done. SpringLaw Tables lets you find, filter and structure information from 100’s of documents – in minutes. Tables will be rolled out for general access from mid-July. The most remarkable thing about SpringLaw is its output accuracy. Springbok’s secret sauce is in Springbok AI Engine’s proprietary data pipeline, developed with close feedback loops from multiple Global 200 law firms over the past 18 months. It has been created specifically for legal workflows, which ensures the LLM meticulously reads every word - just like a lawyer. Springbok's deployment philosophy will also be music to the ears of any Innovation Leader: Springbok’s centralised legal GenAI sandbox ensures that the compliance ordeal only has to be endured once—rather than anew for every single solution. SpringLaw, currently in the final days of its beta stage, has been tested by top law firms around the globe, including Charles Russell Speechlys. Joe Cohen, Director of Innovation at global law firm Charles Russell Speechlys remarks that: “There’s a lot to be said for building your own tools on top of foundational models that exist on the market. Ultimately, our goal is to leverage generative AI to build client solutions.” He continues, “Most generative AI technology options are either too broad or too specific, with little scope for customisation. We needed a secure generative AI platform to create prompts and tools that are customised to us, and for the platform to be easy to use and collaborate on – SpringLaw is just that for Charles Russell Speechlys with our new Sidekick platform. I value Springbok’s no-fluff approach, candid guidance, and flexibility. My favourite perk of being a Springbok partner is probably being able to influence the roadmap". For Cofounder and CEO Victoria Albrecht, “SpringLaw is the result of 18 months of continuous client feedback integration and iteration; we’ve been optimising the prompt architecture and data pipeline, and grounding SpringLaw in legal data to deliver relevant output for legal work - and now we’re thrilled to share it with the wider market,” she notes. “So far, we’ve focused on the Global 200, and we’re pleased to now finally open our waitlist to meet wider demand and be accessible to mid-tier law firms and GCs as well. SpringLaw enables your firm to both leverage and master generative AI ASAP and begin planning differentiation and client solutions into the core of your future proposition without the need for large in-house development teams,” she continues. SpringLaw uses a unique prompt architecture methodology that maximises the ability of LLMs to extract information from your data in a safe and secure way. It uses military-grade encryption at rest and in transit and can either be hosted by Springbok or by your firm. The waitlist to sign up for the general release of SpringLaw will go live on the Springbok website, www.springbok.ai, this Thursday 14th June at the Legal Tech Talk conference. About Springbok AI Springbok AI is an award-winning Generative AI management strategy and product development boutique. Since 2017, it has empowered some of the world’s largest law firms and enterprises with the context, strategy and solutions to step into the new world of AI-powered client and employee experience, process optimisation, and data-driven decision-making. Generative AI is disrupting legal services. This creates an opportunity for law firms to leverage their knowledge and expertise to create the next generation of client service delivery and defend their position in the market through the legal-specialised GenAI all-rounder that can be rolled out with ease: SpringLaw. Learn more about SpringLaw here, and visit their website this Thursday at 9am to join the waitlist. Media contact: Ryan Wightman, Springbok AI, ryan@springbok.ai

  • Unifying Privacy, Investigations, and E-Discovery to Find Truth in a Digital World 

    By Ari Kaplan and Jonathan Rubinsztein Ari Kaplan speaks with Jonathan Rubinsztein, the CEO of Nuix, a leading provider of investigative analytics and intelligence software. Ari Kaplan Tell us about your background and your role at Nuix. Jonathan Rubinsztein I am a serial CEO of companies in transformation, and I was super excited by the opportunity at Nuix. It has great world-class products, great people, and a compelling purpose, the purpose being a force for good in the world and to try to help our customers get to the truth, get to justice, and get there quickly was super exciting for me. We have transformed the company over the past two years by connecting with our customers, understanding their needs, and sharpening our products to meet them. As for our legal customers, we are very excited about our five differentiated offerings or our thoughts around our solutions that link to what we think our legal customers need. We want to provide a full EDRM-centric, end-to-end solution that satisfies the full array of customer requirements. Our data expertise is also a big differentiator. Understanding data is core to everything we do and we are working critically to manage larger data sets, particularly for complex data privacy matters, large investigations, and AI. Naturally, AI is critical, but Gen AI is table stakes and we have embedded NLP at the heart of everything we do as reducing data bloat is crucial, reducing the total cost of a case. Understanding the full corpus of data is also super valuable. We also focus on deploying our software behind their firewall or in the cloud, according to the preferences of our customers. Ari Kaplan For what types of matters is Nuix most often used? Jonathan Rubinsztein Nuix has been used for some of the world's largest and most complex investigations and analytics programs. Over the last 20 years, we have been helping our customers solve data challenges, including a vast array of data interrogation needs, from data privacy and cyber breach to fraud investigations and ECA. These use cases then inform our legal solutions so that we process more, review deeper, and automate faster to get to the answer quicker. The convergence across those means that orchestration becomes key so Nuix products integrate with existing technologies to make enterprise-wide data, structured and unstructured, searchable. One large government agency recently told us that before Nuix, it was taking them six weeks to complete a Freedom of Information request, and now they can do it in 12 hours. Ari Kaplan Nuix has launched NEO, a unified platform to apply data intelligence across data privacy, fraud and investigations, and e-discovery matters. What are the benefits to organizations in this singular approach? Jonathan Rubinsztein Nuix NEO is a unified platform. Previously, we had components that we'd assemble to provide a unique and bespoke solution, but we have realized that training a platform means that we can repeatedly build intellectual property and it allows us to be faster, easier, and smarter in handling repeatable use cases. Ultimately, a unified platform that ingests, processes, contextualizes, and analyzes the data, and then reviews in a much more streamlined and efficient manner, with AI, creates risk, efficiency, and cost-savings opportunities. NEO provides a singular approach, and this supercharged orchestration allows us to reduce the complexity of managing multiple tools. It also makes it easier for law firms to integrate across their platform and the existing technology legal stack. This consistency is crucial for maintaining accuracy and reliability in legal proceedings and investigations, which makes cross-functional collaboration across teams easier. And, of course, the one thing that differentiates NEO is our no-code AI model builders. Ari Kaplan How do you uniquely incorporate artificial intelligence into your technology? Jonathan Rubinsztein Our NLP is a cornerstone of our new NEO platform and we are integrating it into our Discover review platform, which will be in production by the end of June, so we can use large language models that are trained on data owned by our clients and residing behind their firewalls. Being able to train our AI on your large language model behind your firewall is supercritical and having it fully integrated into our platform eliminates the need to shift data sets from our platform to another platform and back into a third. Ari Kaplan How does your team leverage artificial intelligence internally for its day-to-day activities? Jonathan Rubinsztein AI is now everywhere, and is particularly prominent in risk and compliance. We have our own technology to find data and efficiently manage our information requests. I am also seeing more use cases in marketing and penetration testing. AI has become a tool that empowers humans to do things faster and better, and I am seeing the manifestation of that everywhere. Ari Kaplan As the leader of a global company, how do you simultaneously manage client expectations in terms of the capabilities of advanced technology and also ensure compliance with internal policies associated with its usage? Jonathan Rubinsztein Managing client expectations is absolutely crucial and we honor them through open and honest conversations about our advanced technologies and how we use them to achieve specific outcomes. It is very easy to sell the future, but I think the reality is setting realistic expectations and being very clear about how that technology aligns with our company's commitment to being a force for good by finding truth in the digital world. That positive affirmation becomes part of our DNA and that overall purpose statement affects everything we do. Also, compliance with internal policies is just a non-negotiable and means that we have to safeguard our client data and maintain the highest ethical standards. Ari Kaplan As the legal industry enters its second full year exposed to generative AI, what do you expect to see in terms of the array of applications? Jonathan Rubinsztein We have seen the integration of AI accelerate, especially in legal review. We must ensure that the need for speed is not at the expense of accuracy, integrity, and defensibility. We have to ensure that AI makes legal tech more and not less inclusive, and that you don't need coders to use the technology to serve your business purpose, which is why we have a no-code AI structure. Finally, we need to embrace AI and produce results with a process that is traceable, transparent, and defensible. As we mature in using AI in our legal tech and AI becomes standard within the legal industry, I expect that the demand for ethical, defensible AI will grow. Ari Kaplan How do you see e-discovery evolving? Jonathan Rubinsztein We are absolutely seeing an enduring appetite from our customers who want both cloud and on-prem solutions, but also want on-prem solutions. We will continue to see increased use of AI, predictive coding, concept clustering, and advanced analytics, which are increasingly employed to enhance the efficiency of document review by reducing the time and cost associated with e-discovery. There is more focus on data privacy regulation, such as the GDPR, among other laws, so more privacy-aware e-discovery processes are becoming a priority. And, of course, remote work is here to stay, so remote e-discovery capabilities are becoming crucial. Finally, with continuous regulatory changes, we need to adapt our e-discovery practices to remain compliant. About the Author Ari Kaplan (http://www.AriKaplanAdvisors.com) regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspectives, highlight transformative change, and introduce new technology at http://www.ReinventingProfessionals.com. Click here to listen to the conversation. #AriKaplan #Jonatha Rubinsztein #data #governance #compliance #tools #analytics #intelligence #litigation #value #legalservicesprovider #legalops #legaldata #legaltech #regtech #AI #legalservices

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