Allen & Overy Introduce ‘Harvey’, Their AI Chatbot

Lawyers using AI chatbot to work better

Allen & Overy has implemented an AI chatbot called Harvey to assist its lawyers in drafting contracts and to write memos in the first move by a Big Law firm to harness the power of AI in its workforce.

Allen & Overy is on LawFuel’s list of the most prestigious law firms in the world, (coming in at no. 23) and is one of the Magic Circle firms and a legal leader in London where it is based.

The technology uses “generative AI” software across the company for use in active cases, making it the first known use of such technology by a member of the magic circle.

The chatbot was built using the GPT technology created by OpenAI and is capable of tasks such as drafting merger and acquisition documents or memos to clients.

The AI move comes as companies and professional firms across industries explore using AI technology, which is poised to disrupt a range of sectors that depend on generating large amounts of text, such as media, advertising, and education.

Although some have raised concerns about the ethics of using AI in legal settings, Allen & Overy has said the technology will not replace any of its workforce and will not reduce billable hours or save money for the company or clients.

The firm said future versions of the technology could lead to cost reductions “eventually”.

A&O employ over 2700 lawyers globally.

“It’s not cutting out anyone, it’s not a cost-cutting exercise, it’s a nice smart way of working,” said David Wakeling, the head of the firm’s markets innovation group told the Financial Times. “It’s saving time at all levels.”

Allen & Overy have long focused on legal technology to develop their efficiencies and profits. Among the technology developments in which they have been involved have been Aosphere, an online subscription program and Fuse, a collaborative workspace for legal, tech and other specialists to develop new businesses and applications.

What Is Harvey?

Harvey is an application developed by a startup fund and uses OpenAI GPT technology used in the ChatGPT system backed by Microsoft.

To quote the definition from the Open AI Fund website:

Harvey is developing an intuitive interface for all legal workflows through powerful generative language models. Its technology expands a lawyer’s capabilities by leveraging AI to make tedious tasks such as research, drafting, analysis, and communication easier and more efficient. This saves lawyers time, ultimately allowing them to deliver a higher quality service to more clients.

“We believe Harvey will have a transformative impact on our legal system, empowering lawyers to provide higher quality legal services more efficiently to more clients,” Lightcap said. “Harvey’s vision for how AI can increase access to legal services and improve outcomes fits squarely within our mission. We are excited to accelerate Gabriel, Winston, and the Harvey team in achieving this vision.”

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