Working over holiday weekends is not extraordinary for Biglaw associates. Frankly, it’s not out of the ordinary for small law associates. For over a decade I was home on Memorial Day exactly once. Working holidays is unfortunately part of the job.
But even though it’s sometimes necessary, a lot of times it’s just… not.
We’ve litigated the question of whether or not lawyers are technophobes to death. Whether it’s a fear of technology or the inefficiencies of any large organization, there are associates out there struggling because they’re doing tasks by hand that the legal technology community automated years ago.
Are you a transactional associate doing due diligence this weekend? Looking at key provisions from a hefty sample significant deals? Did you know Kira Systems has a solution that could let you review every deal using artificial intelligence. In a fast, cost effective manner, you could have problematic provisions flagged for evaluation instead of trying to dig them out of a sample. Frankly, this isn’t only a time-saving measure, it might be a professional responsibility matter — if tech exists that could find problems and the firm doesn’t identify them as part of the sample, is that really due diligence?
And contract review is not just about due diligence. There are multiple aspects of the contract review from BlackBoiler to Luminance process that all have their own AI-based solutions designed to expedite the drudgery.
On the litigation side there are discovery platforms that use AI to charge through mounds of documents more efficiently. There are products like Casetext for research and writing. LexisNexis and Westlaw offer various analytics tools to streamline the annoying “look up every thing our judge has ever said about this issue” task.
Everywhere you turn there’s a product designed to help associates do these tasks faster. If you’re looking to find out what’s out there, we have a guide right here. Has your firm taken the steps to help you finish your job in time for Friday happy hour? If they haven’t, get active within the firm — maybe there’s a tech committee, or allies to find on the IT staff or among the law librarians — and make sure the firm has access to the tech it needs. Or more importantly that it’s adopting the tech it’s already bought.
As a second-year associate, I got on a Biglaw firm tech committee. You’re not too young and inexperienced to push for shaping the tech landscape of the firm. You’re the ones feeling the brunt of the firm’s mistakes. Get out there and advocate for yourselves and your colleagues.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.