How Watson helps lawyers find answers in legal research

ROSS Intelligence takes Watson to law school

It’s tough keeping up with the latest rulings in the legal field. Lawyers can spend hours poring over legal documents and past cases in what amounts to expensive research, a cost often passed on to the client as billable hours.

Now IBM Watson is coming to the rescue. Ross Intelligence is a startup which helps lawyers find relevant cases using natural language search. The application allows you to ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed. The application is not designed to replace lawyers, but rather help them with knowledge management: keeping up with all the latest legislation.

A standard question could be along the lines of “Can an automatic stay be lifted if a plaintiff in another case requests it?” Answers against this kind of question can be tricky with keyword searches but artificial intelligence is well-suited to parse out the meaning from this question and look for answers across billions of documents. The system analyzes the meaning and relationships between words to understand the legal concepts they form. For each answer, the system shows the level of confidence it has in its answer.

As a video from ROSS Intelligence point out, these kinds of applications help put AI into the hands of people outside of the tech industry, who may have not have considered its potential.

Techcrunch quotes Andrew Arruda, CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence:

“There are thousands of laws are being published each day… But until recently, our computers have had a very superficial understanding of natural language. ROSS pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from the document in question.”

Learn more about the ROSS Intelligence solution in this article in the Washington Post.