This interview (my first in 2018) was first published in Womanthology on January 10th, 2018, issue 92 Future Focus, and edited by the fabulous Fiona Tatton. In this issue, Womanthogoy rounded up (quoting Fiona) “a group of super-awesome women who have interesting things to say about the future.” Fiona gathered the stories from “an epic roll-call of women from tech, medicine, architecture, film, science, engineering, law, insurance, psychology and more.” Their stories are remarkable, entertaining, inspiring and motivating. I feel truly honoured and blessed to be included in this special edition, to share my professional journey with (and for) women (who are, or aspire to be) in tech / business / law, in the hope to inspire those who read it to reach for the stars. Fiona shares my story here:
Why women in legaltech should go where no man or woman has been before and blaze a trail – Chrissie Lightfoot, Co-founder, Director and CEO of Robot Lawyer LISA.
Chrissie Lightfoot is co-founder, director and CEO of Robot Lawyer LISA, where she heads up strategy, research and development, as well as business development for artificial intelligence application legal contract solutions for businesses and consumers. Chrissie is a legal futurist, author, speaker and adviser, as well as an investor in artificial intelligence in the legaltech space. In 2015 Chrissie was named as one of the world’s top female futurists, she won the AI 2017 Legal Award for best legal professional coaching company and was appointed as an advisor to the board of The Telegraph’s Digital Enterprise Network.
What I have shared in this interview provides a clue about what is coming up next with LISA and the team. Whatever we do, it will be customer-led together with technology-led and ultimately mankind-led.
“Hello and welcome to the second Robot Lawyer LISA newsletter!
We’ve received great feedback after the first release, so we hope you find this second newsletter just as useful.
We have a variety of exciting news about collaborations with other platforms that are opening up the legal market to millions of people around the globe, news about both our NDA AI Tool service and soon-to-be released AI Property Tools plus details about some of the media coverage we have had over the last couple of months…” Read More Here
Press Release: Digital legal services link up to offer clients even more choice
Two pioneering providers of legal support have teamed up to give consumers and businesses even more choice when looking for services online.
Robot Lawyer LISA and ClerksroomBillyBot are at the cutting edge of digital law services, using emerging technologies to aid users looking for time critical and quality legal insight.
The collaboration will see both platforms have a brand presence on each other’s websites, as well as ongoing joint marketing campaigns between the pair.
This partnership between LISA and BillyBot marks possibly the first ‘robot relationship’ between two innovative legal bot solutions providers.
Chrissie Lightfoot, CEO and co-founder of Robot Lawyer LISA, said: “From day one we have been focused on making access to legal services cost effective, time saving and transparent for consumers and businesses to acquire their legal needs by using technology wherever possible in the first instance before moving on to garner human lawyer support, if at all necessary or desired. That’s why we developed Robot Lawyer LISA.
“Today we are delighted to reveal with this announcement the bigger picture in relation to our vision to bring together the right AI solutions and partnerships under the Robot Lawyer LISA website portal and brand to fundamentally change the way the average person can achieve affordable self-help, self-serve access to quality legal insight, documentation and advice.
“This is especially important now, as people who are using LISA have made suggestions with regard to additional AI tools they would find useful and as a result we are now developing a suite of property tools that will be released shortly. We are working hard to make sure that users have plenty of resources at their disposal to support them as they create these documents, as well as the opportunity to use the services of human lawyers too.
“Not only will this partnership mean they are able to protect themselves with LISA’s free NDA tool and purchase a variety of other tools in due course, but they’ll also be able to source quality legal advice direct from human solicitors who programmed LISA and direct from human barristers through the use and help of BillyBot leading to Clerksroom’s extensive barrister pool throughout England & Wales.
“While law can be complicated, giving people access to the most basic of legal services and insight need not be if the first step is to use tech tools and virtual assistants wherever possible. Inevitably where users of such tools then wish to seek out assistance or representation from a solicitor or barrister we aim to make it as simple as possible for the public to do this also.”
LISA, the world’s first impartial robot lawyer, is a hybrid human and machine system, knowledge engineered with legal reasoning, insight and judgment in a commercial context built in. LISA’s AI tools are powered by Neota Logic’s AI platform technology, and are developed with decades of human legal knowledge and experience.
LISA is fast and easy to use, allowing those without legal expertise to get to the heart of the matter and come to an agreement quickly. The free flagship NDA tool enables users to create a bespoke, legally binding non-disclosure agreement in less than 15 minutes between themselves.
Stephen Ward, MD and co-founder of Clerksroom said: “We’ve been hearing rumours about Billy Bot and robot LISA for quite some time now, but we’re delighted that they’ve finally decided to make it official. People say office romances don’t last, however we’re looking forward to potentially the first bot wedding in a few years’ time!”
Clerksroom provides advice, representation and mediation services across England & Wales for lawyers and non-lawyers. They help lay clients find barristers, allowing them to work together, providing true access to first rate legal advice and representation through the traditional chambers route or via the innovative public access portal for non-lawyers.
Billy Bot is a junior clerk robot that has been programmed to help users find the right barrister or mediator for their legal problems, offer a quote, check the barrister’s diary, book the hearing into the diary if accepted, send acknowledgement letters and confirm the terms agreed. Billy Bot is currently in training and working with other legal software suppliers to offer a broad range of services. Working with LISA is one step towards an ever growing API library.
LISA is the world’s first impartial robot lawyer. LISA’s AI technology enables you to create legally binding agreements with another party, together, helping you both find a middle ground as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Whereas a human lawyer cannot advise or act for both sides when creating an agreement, LISA’s machine impartiality means she can save both you and the counter-party time and money.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a consumer, an entrepreneur, a start-up, a small or medium-sized enterprise or a large corporation. LISA levels the playing field and allows you or your business to:
Understand the key legal and commercial principles underlying your legal problems, which need to be considered by you and the receiver.
Find the middle ground for you and the receiver, while offering guidance to help you move forward without the costly interference of a human lawyer.
Get your basic legal questions answered, documents drafted and an agreement achieved on terms that are fair and reasonable for both sides.
Assess whether you fall within the law or outside.
Chrissie Lightfoot studied her first degree in Leisure & Business at Leeds Becket University and then went on to do a Masters degree in Law at Sheffield Law School.
She trained as a corporate solicitor at Lee & Priestly LLP law firm in Leeds (now merged with Lupton Fawcett LLP). In 2009, she left the firm and became a legal futurist, founding Entrepreneur Lawyer and working from a makeshift office in her apartment in Leeds. Entrepreneur Lawyer helps lawyers, entrepreneurs and technologists future-proof their careers and businesses. Subsequently she has become one of the world’s top women futurists, an in-demand global keynote speaker, writer, author, consultant and advisor around topics such as the impact of AI and robots in society and law, as well as marketing and branding.
Chrissie lives and works between Harrogate, Leeds, Ripon and London.
This article was first published in ITProPortal 25th July 2017 and is reproduced here in its original form:
Artificial intelligence will transform the way lawyers do business.
“What’s the next legal frontier?”
When you’re a legal futurist it’s a question you hear on a frequent basis. When and where are technology and the practice of law next going to collide with one another, and what are the implications for those in the legal profession, for business and for the man on the street?
In the past this sort of question may have given me pause for thought. After all, as Peter Drucker once said: “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window”. Thankfully you don’t have to look too far back to see where it has already intersected or down the road to see where the tech and law are going to cross paths in the future. Over the next few years we’re going to witness the rise of fully automated intelligent legal services that will become mainstream. As a prelude to this, we’re going to experience a range of robot lawyers that will fundamentally change the way the average person can have affordable self-help, self-serve access to quality legal insight and documentation. This is happening now.
That may not come as too much of a surprise. Artificial intelligence and robots are becoming an increasingly familiar fixture in our day-to-day lives, both at home thanks to tools such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as in the workplace. No industry is insulated from this change, even the legal world. Spend a few minutes browsing the internet and you’ll soon discover that there are already robot lawyers that are out there changing the way ordinary people interact with legal services.
I strongly believe that this technology is going to benefit consumers, businesses and law firms. That’s why we developed LISA, the world’s first impartial and unbiased AI-powered robot lawyer that provides objective support, delivers bespoke, legally sound non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) at absolutely no cost for users on opposite sides of a legal matter to self-help together; negating two sets of human lawyers ergo two sets of time and cost. The reception since launch in April from around the globe has shown us that this is a service the business world and consumers have been crying out for, and that the robot lawyer revolution is only just beginning.
But why are tools like LISA gaining traction among businesses and consumers? AI-powered lawyers are changing the way that businesses are protected and legally supported. At the moment there are a lot of people who are so alienated by the impenetrable nature of the legal world and human lawyer behaviour that they’re not seeking any sort of protection. It should be obvious to everyone within the profession that while law is complicated, giving the consumer access to the most basic of legal services and insight need not be.
Understanding how we create pathways for consumers to protect themselves opens up a world of opportunity for firms. Access to these sort of services is particularly problematic for small business owners, for entrepreneurs, whether they’re young students, seasoned or serial, and for burgeoning startups. These people need quality basic legal knowledge, insight, guidance and support to progress their ideas. However, they often find themselves in situations where lack of time and money makes liaising with legal experts to acquire insight and to get these documents in place more stressful than it really should be. The result? This ‘latent legal buyer in need’ goes to ground.
It’s impossible to know the true scale of the latent legal buyer market, but studies show that in the USA 80% of businesspeople don’t use a human lawyer. In the UK, 54% of all SMEs and 33% of consumers muddle on unrepresented. In addition to time and cost, individuals in this situation often point to the lack of availability and inconvenience when it comes to accessing these services, legalese and a desire for independence as to why they go it alone. The result of all this? A lot of self-made hacked together inadequate documents that don’t offer businesses and individuals the protection they sorely need. That template confidentiality agreement, delivered as a form for you to fill in, purchased from the shelves of your local retail store, can be out of date, or maybe you use basic document automation processes online discovered when searching after a long day of client and investor meetings, which lacks human lawyer guidance and legal insight? I’m sorry to say it’s probably not worth the paper it’s written on.
Despite this, the legal profession is booming. How can that be if people are actively avoiding going to see lawyers in the numbers they are? Well, that’s because time spent creating documentation like NDAs can be spent much better elsewhere. This is an essential legal service, something which law firms will always provide, however it requires manpower which is time consuming to churn out these basic legal agreements.
Going forward in order to provide legal value to disgruntled consumers and businesses that currently use human lawyers, and solve the problem of the legally unrepresented, underserved and neglected, the answer lies in solutions like LISA; a hybrid human and machine system knowledge engineered with reasoning, insight and judgment built in.
Technical products and services in the form of robot lawyers like LISA are available at all hours, intelligent, fast, free and insightful in a commercial and consumer context. They use decades of human legal knowledge, intelligence and experience, are easy to use for the uninitiated who can cut straight to the heart of a legal matter and come to an agreement as quickly possible. They are going to be vital, not only for hard working entrepreneurs, but the legal professional with a pile of work on his or her desk.
LISA is also working with the next generation of lawyers to make sure that they’re prepared for the impact of emerging technology on their profession. We’re delighted to have been able to team up with the University of Westminster and its Law School, one of the leading institutions in the UK in the field of technology and the law. This partnership will help their students understand how AI-powered solutions like LISA work and how they as lawyers can best use them.
This doesn’t end at NDAs by the way. Tomorrow’s legal practitioners and entrepreneurial legal service providers are going to be able to intelligently automate a lot more than they already are currently due to the variety of technologies available ranging from the rudimentary to the highly sophisticated. Examples include chatbots, robotic automation systems, expert systems, cognitive computing and machine learning tools. All have their value when deployed and used by consumers, ‘solopreneurs’ or multi-national conglomerates.
But what makes them useful in solving real problems for consumers and businesses just as LISA does, resides in the imagination of the new legal service creators in how they use these technologies and their willingness and ability to go there.
In addition to LISA’s technology, which is powered by Neota Logic’s AI platform, the chatbot technologies used by LawBot-X, DoNotPay and other services have demonstrated just how powerful existing and emerging technology is going to be in shaping the future of not just the legal industry, but every area of society.
LawBot-X, DoNotPay and LISA all offer entirely different yet complimentary services to many people who truly need a variety of legal services that were not possible at such reach or scale with omnipresent allure.
In the next few months, the team at LISA plan to reveal new partnerships and a range of new AI tools for students, businesses and consumers. The technology is here to bridge the gap between people who don’t have the resource to afford time critical and quality legal insight from human lawyers, and a legal industry that would much rather spend its time looking at the bigger picture. Preparing the profession and industry for this dramatic change, and ensuring that it is ready to engage with this technology in a way that is beneficial to business, is the next major challenge.