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Legal tech, or the use of technologies in conducting legal processes, is growing in today’s digitized world. With its development, we see various implementations in fields such as arbitration.

Commercial arbitration expert Mark Deem joins us in discussing 3 ways legal tech is used in arbitration and their effects on transforming the legal process as we know it.

#1. Legal Tech through Predictive Coding

“A technology which I think is incredibly useful is predictive coding or the ability of the technology to rate and promote documents that may be more relevant to the case,” Mark opens when we asked what he thinks is the most innovative legal tech application today.

“That technology uncovers a mass of material and helps us get to the heart of the matter at hand,” he expounds. “Lawyers nowadays will drown in paperwork without the assistance of technology.”

Mark enumerates two ways why this legal tech application is important in arbitration:

  1. Predictive coding helps review documents in a non-linear manner, which is important in order to piece together a web of information into a cohesive narrative.
  2. The speed afforded by predictive coding enables lawyers to quickly arrive at an answer during the discovery phase leaving them time to prepare for other necessary steps in the procedure.

The power of predictive coding is something that Mark has already experienced. This was back when he handled a case that potentially had around 31 million documents, whittled down to just 650,000. That’s a volume of 95% less!

#2. Legal Tech through AI

Related to predictive coding, AI or artificial intelligence is one prevalent use of legal tech in the field of arbitration. “AI can really assist in making sure that we are efficient in the way that we access documents,” Mark says. 

In order to ensure the quality of the AI’s discernment, however, human intelligence is still required. One way of doing this is by employing the help of senior arbitration experts in “teaching” AI which information and documents are relevant and which are fluff.

“By using more senior lawyers to train the algorithm, you are arguably getting the most legally competent, commercially aware, and factually aware information related to the case. So in theory, the quality of the review should be more enlightened which will bring forth the key documents that you really need.” Mark explains.

However, Mark reminds us that AI is there to augment, not replace human arbitrators.

“AI is always looking at correlations that exist in datasets and pieces of information. We, humans, know that correlation does not equate to causation. But because AI is always looking for correlations, there is the risk that it’s looking to the past rather than the future,” he says.

And why does the future matter? The future is significant because judgments today can affect future arbitral cases, legislation, and many more.

#3. Legal Tech through Blockchain

Mark also discusses more emerging technologies such as blockchain and its legal tech application in arbitration. “Blockchain is there to assist with the anonymity and the security of data and information. It can be that verification aspect,” Mark says.

This is important and applicable in digital arbitration because most cases are confidential in nature.

“The ledger can prove that something is what it says it is because that something is validated by different sources, ensuring the veracity of data,” he explains.

“To my mind, I think it is easier to explain to the person on the street how AI works versus the concept of blockchain as it’s still a new and evolving technology” adds Mark who anticipates that with more blockchain projects emerging left and right, it’s only a matter of time before people start adopting this exciting technology.

These 3 are just some of the applications of legal tech in arbitration. There are still more being developed every day, and we are excited to see how far technology can push the boundaries of legal processes.


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