Meet Lara, Your Legal Assistant

Today is a big day at Legal.io. A really big day.

Here’s why — we’re introducing our AI-powered legal assistant, LARA, to the world.

LARA is a machine-learning powered interface that pulls from millions of data-points across the entire Legal.io network.

Check it out here: https://www.legal.io/lara

Background

Much has been written about the application of Artificial Intelligence in law. Recently, we’ve seen a number of products prove themselves in the market, most of them geared towards legal professionals (e-discovery, legal analytics, and legal research).

Source: LawGeex

But what about AI that directly benefits legal consumers?

Most of the articles and ideas receiving fanfare in this realm lead with a goal of replacing human lawyers with armies of robot lawyers.

At Legal.io, we see the potential of AI, but we also recognize most people will not trust a robot to fully handle their most important, sensitive needs. We’ve also witnessed how the work of lawyers has transformed lives and helped individuals and businesses be protected and thrive. That’s why at Legal.io, we are taking a distinct approach to the problem we are passionate about:

How can we empower clients to find trusted legal help?

This problem is vast in scope and complexity. After having built an attorney network rivaling the size of the largest law firms in the world, and having facilitated millions of dollars worth of referrals, we still don’t have the exact answer, but we’ve learned this:

The solution has surprisingly little to do with AI, or even with technology in general. But it has everything to do with data.

Because despite technological advances, the process of finding the right legal help remains daunting and inefficient. It’s hard to find out which attorney is good at what. It’s near impossible to find accurate pricing information. Most people perceive the cost of legal help to be significant at best, prohibitive at worst. In short, that data is rather hard to come by, and as a result, the legal marketplace isn’t very efficient.

We’re not the only ones that have noticed:

That does not mean that AI does not have a significant role to play in the future of legal service delivery. In fact, the opportunity is sizable.

The market for consumer and small business legal services is estimated at roughly $130 billion in the United States alone, and there is plenty of room for process improvement. We believe that AI has a big role to play here, and that these advances will be nearly invisible, like magic.

Introducing LARA

So imagine that you were able to create that magical legal assistant. That guiding star when the stakes are high. What would you imagine?

In our previous article, we identified some of our expectations. Receiving useful information when dealing with a legal issue. Getting introductions to trusted lawyers who understand our specific situation. Resolving specific, standard legal tasks, on the spot, there and then.

LARA is the humble beginnings of a system that does just that: An AI-powered interface that pulls from selected, secure data sources and applications provided by the Legal.io platform, based on a user’s intent.

Our vision, to empower everyone to find trusted legal help, may be big, but we’ve taken a laser-focused approach to how we’re building LARA. Today we’re launching LARA’s first legal skill — non-disclosure agreements.

Here’s how it works:

  1. A users can ask LARA about NDA’s using text or voice.
  2. LARA will detect this intent, and activate the corresponding skill.
  3. This user gets access to relevant info, attorneys, and an NDA generator.
“Ugh. Not another document generator claiming to be AI.” — You, right now.

Yes, none of this technology is particularly novel. For a while now, organizations from law firms to LegalZoom have been creating NDA document generators and putting supporting information online.

But the vision here is larger. LARA allows for consumers to not only ask about NDAs in plain language, it also renders results that are updated in real-time.

Instead of a static price posted on a landing page, pricing information is pulled directly from hundreds of attorneys across the globe. Instead of Avvo telling attorneys what to charge for an NDA, our platform collects thousands of legal data points and collates that information in a single location.

Further, it’s more than just another chatbot or document generator. It gives the client a direct way to connect with a trusted attorney or local bar association lawyer referral service.

It’s like a decentralized Amazon — for legal.

Decentralized, because we believe in a model that works with local communities and trusted institutional and jurisdictional partners. Working with those local partners, we’ll be teaching LARA new skills based on local, relevant data.


If you’re an attorney, sign up and create an account here, to be accessible via LARA or to join a Legal.io platform run by one of our trusted institutional partners.

If you’re an institutional partner interested in teaching LARA to empower your community, get in touch with us here.


Pieter Gunst is the Co-founder and President of Legal.io, a legal technology company founded at Stanford University. The Legal.io platform is used by industry leading organizations to facilitate and track referrals to trusted attorneys.