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How to Select a Responsible AI Business Partner

March 08, 2024 (3 min read)
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By Geoffrey D. Ivnik, Esq. | Director of Large Markets, LexisNexis 

The rise of Legal AI — Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) tools trained for the legal profession — creates an interesting tension for an industry that is deeply rooted in the commitment to principles such as deliberation, risk management and ethical boundaries. The practice of law requires that lawyers proceed very cautiously with any innovation that has the potential of transforming the way they represent their clients.

Indeed, the largest law firms in the industry are leading the way in creating responsible policies for how their firms will adopt and implement Gen AI tools in their operations.

The LexisNexis 2024 Investing in Legal Innovation Survey: The Rise of Gen AI at Top Firms & Corporations surveyed managing partners and other senior leaders at large law firms — as well as executives in corporate legal departments at Fortune 1000 companies — to better understand the business impact of Gen AI technology on the legal industry. Our survey found that 82% of Am Law 200 firms are developing and communicating policies regarding the use of Gen AI in client matters, compared to 53% of other large law firms and only 24% of Fortune 1000 companies.

“Law firms need to work with responsible technology partners and I think there are a lot of elements that go into that,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of LexisNexis North America, UK and Ireland, in comments during a recent Wall Street Journal event for law firm managing partners. “For starters, you need work with companies that are thinking about the real-world implications of the products they are developing. Make sure they are pro-actively ensuring their product isn’t biased or reinforcing bias that may be in the data.”

Fitzpatrick urged law firm leaders to focus in particular on a few crucial indicators to assess whether their Legal AI partners are demonstrating sufficient professional responsibility.


You should only work with a partner who can provide a transparent explanation of how its Legal AI product works. “You’re getting a Gen AI output in response to a query, but where did that answer come from? There needs to be transparency so you can link that answer back to the authoritative legal material it was based on. If these models don’t have an answer, they’ll make something up, so you have to make sure that you can tie all answers back to authoritative legal material and the material can be validated as good law,” Fitzpatrick said.

Humans in the Loop

Another key requirement for a responsible Legal AI provider should be for them to have “humans in the loop” with their product development, according to Fitzpatrick. “These models don’t train themselves, you need to deploy on army of subject matter experts to fine-tune these models and really make them applicable to the legal market, making sure the answers are high-quality legal answers,” he said.

Data Governance

A proven commitment to world-class data governance and data security is an absolute necessity for a Legal AI company to be regarded as a responsible business partner. “The matters that law firms are dealing with are highly sensitive and you can’t risk a data breach with your Legal AI provider,” Fitzpatrick said. “In addition, your intellectual property is involved here and you want to make sure that the partners you’re working with have really solid data governance so the intellectual property your firm has developed over the years isn’t used to train the model that will then be used by your competitors. You’ve got to find a partner that has data governance and data security in the DNA of their organization.”

This article was based on one of the panel discussions at the Wall Street Journal event, “What Every Managing Partner & C-Suite Leader Needs to Know About Legal AI,” which took place on January 31st in New York City. Watch the entire session, The New Legal Frontier, for more insights from industry leaders.