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Combining Extractive and Generative AI for New Possibilities

June 06, 2023 (3 min read)
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By Jake Nelson | Product Manager

Much has been written already about the potential impact of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools on the legal industry. The New York Times reports that it will “change the practice of law” and a Brookings Institution white paper predicts it will “revolutionize the practice of law” by improving the efficiency of attorneys.

But let’s pause for a moment, step back, take a deep breath and try to connect the dots with how we arrived at this exciting moment in time. In spite of how it might feel to many of us, the roadmap toward the development of responsible and trustworthy AI tools has been underway for several years.

The best way to understand the emergence of generative AI is to briefly track the LexisNexis journey with the development of AI tools for legal professionals. These tools can be broken down into two primary categories: (1) Extractive AI tools; and (2) Generative AI tools.

Extractive AI

Extractive AI models are generally designed and trained to recognize patterns and make predictions in order to retrieve the most relevant information from a specific volume of data and make connections between related documents. They typically involve a combination of natural language processing (NLP) and other machine learning techniques.

LexisNexis has been — and continues to be — an early leader in extractive AI, beginning with our pioneering work in this area back in 2017. As technology evolved, we quickly embraced the power of Large Language Models (LLMs), starting with a customer favorite, Lexis Answers.

Lexis Answers goes beyond traditional keyword searching to identify relationships between words and concepts to return key passages extracted directly from the unparalleled LexisNexis network of libraries and databases containing primary and secondary law sources — reducing time and effort to obtain the information needed for a legal research or drafting task. 

The machine learning and deep learning technologies that serve as the foundation for Lexis Answers have now enabled more than 10 other Lexis+ product features around the world that are either currently in production or scheduled to release in the coming months. A prime example is Brief Analysis, which uses extractive AI to identify key legal concepts in an uploaded brief and delivers related concepts, similar briefs, relevant cases and other insights to help strengthen legal arguments.

These tools are all geared toward making legal research and drafting quicker and easier.

Generative AI

Generative AI describes LLMs that are designed to create new content in the form of images, text, audio and more. This is the category of AI from which emerged ChatGPT, the model launched in November 2022 that sent the global conversation over AI into overdrive.

While the potential application of generative AI in the legal industry is enormous and exciting, the risks are equally large. One lawyer shared a cautionary tale of using ChatGPT to produce an impressive list of 15 law review articles — complete with full citations and page numbers — that turned out to be completely fabricated out of thin air. Another lawyer blogged about his experience using ChatGPT to surface an on-point case precedent for a brief he was compiling, only to discover the case does not exist.

These examples have driven LexisNexis to pioneer the use of generative AI for legal research, drafting, and summarization with a focus on reliability, consistency, and data security — enabling legal professionals to achieve better outcomes and advance the rule of law.

We recently unveiled Lexis+ AI, a generative AI platform that we believe will allow us to meet users wherever they are in their legal research or drafting task. Lexis+ AI is built on the largest repository of accurate and exclusive legal content, which means it will provide legal professionals with trusted, comprehensive legal results that are backed by verifiable and citable authority.

LexisNexis is teaming up with a number of leading law firms as part of our Commercial Preview Program to tap into those firms’ expertise for advice and feedback as we continue to build and refine our generative AI solutions. We are committed to the responsible development of AI tools with a focus on reliability, consistency, and data security.

The opportunity to pair our unsurpassed legal content with breakthrough generative AI technology is one that could redefine the day-to-day lives of legal professionals and the way that legal work product is created. Specific applications that we envision for the future include conversational search, insightful summarization, and intelligent legal drafting capabilities, all supported by state-of-the-art encryption and privacy technology to keep sensitive data secure and ensure reliability.

We invite you to join us on this journey by following our Lexis+ AI web page, where we will share more information about these AI-powered solutions and how they can responsibly support the practice of law:

See Lexis+ AI