Top firm inks NZ’s first AI legal services joint venture

by Sol Dolor01 Mar 2017

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has established New Zealand’s first joint venture to explore the application of artificial intelligence on legal services. The top firm has entered a joint venture (JV) with Goat Ventures, and both organisations have made a $2m co-investment at the pre-seed stage.

“Businesses are looking for new ways to meet their legal obligations efficiently. We believe it’s time to introduce new technology into the legal services market to meet this need,” said Mike Schubert, MinterEllisonRuddWatts CEO and JV board chair.

The JV has already attracted four AI PhDs who have worked in renowned tech firms like Microsoft in the US, Xero, and Spark. MinterEllisonRuddWatts said that the JV starts on a blank slate, free from legacy structures and practices in the core business.

The JV partners have big plans for the venture. Shaveer Mirpuri, Goat Ventures CEO, said that the plan is to “create a credible and global AI business” people would be “hard pressed to find in Silicon Valley.”

MinterEllisonRuddWatts said that the legal services sector is ripe for radical improvement with the use of AI since it is a knowledge-based industry. Major firms have already invested in traditional technical means of drafting simple documents and automating legal processes, but AI promises to be able to do much more, including automating some work traditionally done by lawyers.

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