Raising the bar on current awareness solutions in the legal industry

Part of a series that looks at building current awareness solutions for legal firms, this blog explores the key elements that will ensure that the awareness solution you build today, will be able to stand the challenges of tomorrow. You can read our other blog here.


In our last blog, we covered some key fundamentals that the legal sector needs to consider when looking to build an effective current awareness solution. In this post, we take this a step further and explore the key elements that will ensure that the awareness solution you build today, will be able to stand the challenges of tomorrow.

So let’s assume you’ve covered what we outlined in the first blog in the series – you’ve laid the foundations for your current awareness solution by devising a centralized platform for all of your information sources which is available within an environment that suits the needs of your end-users. Now, let’s look at what you can do within that solution to maximize its value and future proof it for your organization.

Where to start?

Enriching for relevancy

Enriching your content sources with machine learning and AI for relevancy is where the true magic happens. Terms such as document preprocessing, natural language processing, entity recognition, concept disambiguation, and semantic indexing are complicated and on their own don’t capture the actual value they add to the process. Yes, each is a vastly complex process and involves an impressive combination of human expertise and advanced technology; but you can read all about that here.

What enriching really achieves is to ensure that the information you, or your end-users, are seeking, is found. It is also about ensuring that this retrieval is grounded in the individual’s needs and preferences. Whereas one lawyer might need a concise monthly summary of developments in ESG, another might need to track closely breaking news on a high profile client going through a dispute. Enriching ensures that a single information solution can provide distinct and tailored sets of information based on end-user needs.

The same machine learning algorithms that can allow your information solution to tailor its results to the individual, will also ensure that your tool remains relevant for your user group as their needs and preferences change. As your end-user behavior changes based on their changing requirements, the advanced AI capability learns and reacts. The dynamic and evolving nature of these AI systems ensure that you can remain confident in your solution as needs change into the future.

Timeliness of information

‘Time is of the essence’ or so the saying goes. But we suggest when it comes to your current awareness solution the saying should be “time-ly is of the essence”. What do we mean by time-ly? It is ensuring your solution is providing the information in a timeframe that suits those who need it. Is it real-time, is it a daily briefing, is it a monthly report, is it ad hoc? These are only some of the options available. When you’re looking to implement a successful current awareness solution it is critical that the distinction is made and that the right option, based on your end-users workflow, is chosen. 

Think about something like a piece of legislation. A new bill doesn’t suddenly appear and surprise everyone with a change to the status quo – it is pored over by civil servants, politicians, committees, lawyers, and many more before it is passed into law. What would the value be of your current awareness solution providing real-time updates on this to your firm? You would probably be more interested in a detailed analysis of the bill, its effects, and how it might change future undertakings delivered to you in a time-frame that is still timely, but not necessarily real-time. Yet, real-time updates on a bill vote in Congress/Parliament that is down to the wire is probably of great interest.

This hypothetical example serves to underline the point that you need to understand your end-users needs and how these might change when considering the timeliness of your new current awareness tool. Whether it’s real-time or delivered at timely intervals, each has its own benefits and is solely dependent on the needs of your users – now, and in the years to come.

Personalized information journey

Finally, the ability of your user audience to personalize their information delivery is key to ensuring longevity, ongoing value, and ultimately, the success of the solution. As a society, we are slowly coming to terms with the idea that one-size does not fit all. Where solutions of the past often settled for averages or the middle ground – often to embarrassing effect – this is no longer viable for a solution for the future. End-users require a solution that is tailored to their individual preferences. 

While an associate may want the full transcript of a decision, a senior partner only has time to read the judge’s summary. One lawyer may prefer information provided in full-text, another may prefer graphs and visualizations. And, so on. 

Your new information solution needs to match the individual’s preferences. It needs to provide critical insights in the format that is best suited to the user. And, it also needs to be malleable enough that the user can personalize the delivery of that information to suit their needs. 

Using our senior partner from earlier as an example, imagine the power a personalized information solution can provide: On her way to see a client, the senior partner accesses her mobile-friendly current awareness platform. On her mobile, she has set up a feed dedicated to that client, with information specific to that organization, it’s competitors, industry updates, new regulations, and much more. Within a few minutes, she can be confident that she is walking in to see her client with the most up-to-date information available. Meanwhile, her counterpart can do the exact same thing for a client of his own.

In this scenario, each partner has a client with completely distinct challenges, needs, and opportunities, yet the personalized nature of the current awareness tool ensures that both can provide equal and exceptional service to their clients.


Conclusion

Technology is an ever-changing discipline, yet with the right consideration and emphasis, your current awareness solution can evolve to meet those changing demands. A solution that is personalized for the individual, tailored for your end-user needs, guided by AI technology assessing changing behaviors is critical in developing a solution for the future.