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AI for Women in Law: Answering the Call for AI-Savvy Legal Leaders

Kim Lamba

Unstructured data like emails, instant messages, and image files now make up 80 to 90 percent of corporate data – and it’s growing three times faster than structured data, according to Gartner. To keep up with this onslaught of hard-to-manage data, companies are expected to invest $190 billion in AI by 2025.

To help our community keep pace with advances in AI, Relativity hosted our first AI Bootcamp for Women in Law last week in Washington, DC. This invite-only event combined AI-focused sessions with networking events to provide the essential AI knowledge needed to be a legal innovation leader. Attendees received a working knowledge of AI, an AI Bootcamp certificate of completion, CLE credit, and RCE credits, and the 30 women in attendance left feeling empowered and inspired.

Laying the Groundwork for Embracing AI

After an inspiring welcome from Marla Persky, CEO and President of WOMN LLC and former GC of Boehringer Ingelheim, attendees got down to business as our half-day of sessions kicked off. Relativity senior data scientist Roshanak Omrani, Ph.D., helped set an educational baseline for our AI Bootcamp by presenting “AI 101.” Dr. Omrani cut through the AI buzzwords with relatable definitions and descriptions for the audience of AGCs, e-discovery directors, Am Law 200 partners, and senior in-house counsel.

With machine learning, responsible AI, and efficiencies still fresh in everyone’s mind, AI Visionary Katherine Lowry, head of IncuBaker at BakerHostetler, and Laura Kibbe, AGC at IQVIA, shared how they have successfully operationalized AI. Lowry described some of the unique challenges she faced while working without a roadmap to lay the groundwork for innovation in an industry with a stodgy reputation. Kibbe stressed the importance of finding champions, since even at a Fortune 500 company with a culture of collaboration and innovation, AI can still be a tough sell. “Usability is key,” was echoed by audience members and presenters alike. The consensus was that for any AI tool to be successful, it needs to be approachable and easy to use.

Attendees dived deeper into how to introduce AI at their organizations during interactive breakout sessions. Ausra Deluard, partner and co-chair of Dentons’ U.S. Competition and Antitrust group, and Selina Coleman, partner in the Life Sciences Health Industry Group at Reed Smith, fielded questions for law firm guests, while Marla, who had given the opening remarks, focused on networking and finding champions for corporate the guests.

Armed with a working knowledge of AI and its legal use cases, the final session covered the ethical implications of AI in law. Citing the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct in regards to competence, diligence, and fees, Amy Endicott, partner at Arnold & Porter, made the case that attorneys may have a duty to use AI if it allows them to be better counselors for their clients. Kibbe pointed out that a majority of states have now adopted the duty of technological competence for lawyers.

Building an AI Support Network

Attendees also had the opportunity to build and strengthen their female AI network. The evening before the AI Bootcamp, Relativity's Stellar Women community presented a welcome reception and networking dinner. In the dinner’s keynote, Farrah Pepper, chief legal innovation counsel at Marsh and McLennan, stressed the importance of this support network. As someone who isn’t afraid to innovate and push boundaries – including creating her own title – Farrah routinely mentors young female attorneys in her highly regulated, male-dominated industry.

This message was echoed at the close of the AI Bootcamp by Lynn Charytan. In her role as EVP & senior deputy GC, Comcast Corporation, and EVP & GC, Comcast Cable, she oversees many of the same budget and time struggles in her legal department that most legal leaders are living with. One piece of advice Lynn recommended is never letting a good crisis go to waste. She pointed out that times of crises are often an opportune moment to introduce new technology, since deadlines are looming and purse strings are loosened. Preparation is important for this strategy to work, though. Creating a tech proof of concept can lay the research and relationship groundwork, making implementation at a moment’s notice possible.

Applying AI to Their Organizations

As the event wrapped up, attendees were left with a feeling of companionship in a somewhat daunting legal tech space. With their new knowledge and kinship, they returned to “normal” life empowered and inspired to bring change to their organizations with the use of AI.

2021 Data Discovery Legal Year in Review

Kim Lamba is a member of the marketing team at Relativity