Life Tech Could lawyers be replaced by robots?

Could lawyers be replaced by robots?

Robots could be used to do lawyers' leg work. Photo: Getty
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The entrepreneur behind British software company Autonomy has invested in a start-up called Luminance that uses artificial intelligence to read documents and speed up the legal process around deals, potentially cutting out some lawyers.

Mike Lynch, who founded technology investment fund Invoke Capital after leaving Autonomy, said on Wednesday he saw great potential in Luminance, which was set up by Cambridge University students and has worked with lawyers at Slaughter and May to develop software to analyse documents.

Luminance says its software can read and understand hundreds of pages of legal documents a minute, enabling lawyers to carry out due diligence far faster than previously.

The company’s chief executive officer, Emily Foges, says the system has been trained to think like a lawyer.

She said in a statement the software can highlight important information without needing to be told what specifically to look for. Rather than employing lawyers to scan through thousands of documents to identify possible issues, those experts can now devote their time to analysing the software’s findings.

Foges didn’t believe the system would replace lawyers, but would enable them to work faster.

Lawyers would be able to spend their time on tasks that were more intellectually demanding – and rewarding.

Luminance is not the only company developing artificial intelligence to scanning complex legal documents, but Mike Lynch believes it is the only system that can read and understand natural language, rather than just searching to match key words.

Mike Lynch said in an interview with Bloomberg that the investment in Luminance was “in the low millions”.


Lynch established Invoke Capital after he left Hewlett-Packard Co in 2012 in an acrimonious split over the $US11 billion ($A15 billion) acquisition of Autonomy by the US company less than a year earlier.

– with agencies 

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