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What does Microsoft’s Ignite Mean for Legal?

Published October 12th 2020 – By Greg Wildisen, co-Founder Panoram. Second in a series of four blogs.

Part 2 – Project Cortex

In the previous blog we started looking at how the announcements in MS Ignite 2020 would affect legal. The new citizen development strategy will certainly help law firms and corporate legal departments re-imagine the way they deliver innovation and also the way they solve real needs today. Well the second take away from Ignite is equally important to lawyers (and professional services generally)

Second Observation – Enterprise grade AI tools built right into the Platform.

The big release this year that will positively affect legal is Project Cortex. In short it is your knowledge network in M365. Project Cortex uses advanced AI to deliver insights and expertise in the apps you use every day, to harness collective knowledge and to empower people and teams to learn, upskill and innovate faster.

And that’s great but here’s the thing that matters more to legal. Project Cortex uses AI to reason over content across teams and systems, recognizing content types, extracting important information, and automatically organizing content into shared topics like projects, products, processes and customers. Cortex then creates a knowledge network based on relationships among topics, content, and people.

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Its early days but if it delivers on its promise, Cortex will helps solve the age old challenge of quickly understand multitudes of documents. Massively helpful at driving efficiency into the litigation and investigation space. It will provide a reviewer a short precise of the document instantly helping them to determine if it might be relevant to a matter. So now you can not only use CAL (Continuous Active Learning) to ensure the review team are queued with the most relevant documents first, but then you can accelerate their review even more by providing a precise of the document meaning they might no longer need to read it all.

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But there’s more. Now its not just litigation that can benefit from AI algorithms. Its document and contract management as well. The text extraction and machine teaching tools within Cortex and LUIS have the built in text extraction capabilities lawyers have been looking for to power their contract management systems. It can recognize information in unstructured documents such as contracts, proposals etc and tag them to create reusable models based on small sample sets. And this will be available straight from within SharePoint and on M365 with all its inherent security and compliance. So there will no longer be any need to buy third party tools to provide that functionality, its all integrated right within M365.

Finally, it has the potential to reinvent the way law firms and corporate legal departments deliver Knowledge management. Simultaneously empowering the experts whilst simplifying the KM process. Just-in-time knowledge and expertise become available through Topic Cards and People cards. Topic pages are built automatically from the content in your organisation and rolled up into your organisations Knowledge Centre.

Its fair to say, Cortex has the potential to deliver game changing functionality to law firms, legal departments specifically and professional services generally. Surfacing the power of AI right within the platform most businesses already use, and delivering all that power with security and compliance model the business has already chosen.

Coming shortly, third observation – Teams, and entirely new desktop paradigm