Fully virtual firm embraces automating processes to deliver higher value to clients
This article was produced in partnership with Alexi Inc.
SpringLaw is a Toronto boutique law firm practicing exclusively in the areas of employment, labour and human rights law, and from its inception in 2017 it has run completely virtually and fully paperless as founder Lisa Stam envisioned.
“Lisa is a huge tech nerd and she wouldn’t mind me saying that,” says Hilary Page, employment, labour and contracts lawyer at the firm. “She always wants to try out the latest technologies and systems to optimize whatever she can.”
Though there’s no denying SpringLaw’s tech-forward approach paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of running on a virtual model predate 2020. SpringLaw’s intake process has always been smooth, Page notes: clients have never had to print and sign anything and on top of increasing accessibility, consulting via a Google Meet video call disrupts a client’s day far less than them travelling downtown to meet with a lawyer.
In terms of the client experience, even the simplest technology – such as a shared Google folder – makes a difference. Allowing clients to upload relevant documents themselves rather than bringing the files in physically and waiting a few days for a clerk to scan it all into the computer helps the process run smoother, and because like many firms SpringLaw mostly bills by the hour, anything that takes less time costs less money – an increasingly important consideration for clients.
“We’ve never billed a client for photocopying, which is something you’d see on a more traditional law firm’s bill, because we feel there’s no place for that type of thing anymore,” Page says. “Similarly, clients don’t want to see hours and thousands of dollars for research on their bill. Using something like Alexi is helpful because it does cut down on that time.”
Alexi, an Artificial Intelligence platform, provides high quality and affordable legal memos on demand. Using proprietary A.I. technology, it reviews and synthesizes millions of documents in a fraction of the time it would take a lawyer to gather the same information. While it’s an innovative tool in the practice of law, leveraging technology to streamline the delivery of legal services is quickly becoming table stakes. As clients become more sophisticated, they expect their lawyers to “deliver higher value for lower prices,” says Daniel Diamond, head of business development at Alexi.
“Litigators, at their core, are battle-hardened warriors, heading into war on behalf of their client. They are paid for their communication skills, their battle strategy and their ability to navigate lawsuits with calm. As litigation becomes more subspecialized, litigators should focus on these core skills and automate everything else in order to deliver the best service possible for their clients.”
Practicing in an area of law that experiences a lot of change and therefore calls for a lot of research, Page finds Alexi particularly useful in her practice. In the past, she’d do keyword research on a case database and have to take the time to develop her Boolean terms and scan through hundreds of cases, but with Alexi “I can ask even a complex research question and it’ll generate a memo that gives me an amazing starting place for understanding the leading cases and determining what I might want to look into further.”
“You really want to understand the law behind your case, and in terms of conducting research or drafting pleadings Alexi is my first stop,” she adds.
It’s also a significant time saver, which for any lawyer – but especially litigators – is a valuable resource. By outsourcing lower-value tasks, they can focus on the case at hand and those essential core skills: persuasion, negotiation and communication. For Page, asking a question to Alexi and reading the memo “takes a fraction of the time it would with a manual research process where you’re reading through cases with relevant terms trying to find a needle in the haystack.” She calls Alexi “constantly useful” and notes she’s not the only lawyer at the firm who feels that way.
“We were early adopters and if it’s not already, Alexi should be widely used,” Page says. “It’s definitely the way of the future.”
Alexi provides high-quality answers to complex legal questions at scale. We are a team of AI scientists and lawyers advancing the state-of-the-art in how artificial intelligence is being applied to the law.