Thomson Reuters unveils new legal research platform with advanced AI: Westlaw Edge
Thomson Reuters today introduced Westlaw Edge, the latest advancement in legal research, providing legal professionals with the next generation of AI-driven legal search, exclusive new warnings for law that is no longer valid, unrivalled litigation analytics, and sophisticated new research tools that help legal professionals deliver results to clients faster and more accurately.
Law firms today are competing with each other to provide high-quality results at a lower cost to meet client expectations for efficiency. In Thomson Reuters ongoing research with customers, its analysis shows that complex legal research tasks take an average of six hours, with some taking much longer. Lawyers also report that with deadline-driven work, they often worry they may have missed something important. “We’ve been working with hundreds of attorneys to deeply understand how some research tasks can still take many hours to complete, as well as how mistakes are made, even by experienced lawyers,” said Mike Dahn, senior vice president, Westlaw Product Management.
“We brought together a team of Thomson Reuters research scientists with expertise in AI and legal data with our attorneys who best understand our exclusive collection of law summaries, legal classifications and legal citation relationships, and had them work with our most talented product designers to address the areas where both new lawyers and experienced practitioners want better tools,” added Dahn. “The result is Westlaw Edge.”
Introducing Westlaw Edge
Westlaw Edge, the new version of Westlaw, enables lawyers to move through routine work much faster and helps even experienced practitioners avoid mistakes when working on something complex, while offering attorneys new insights they’ve never had access to before. Westlaw Edge represents Thomson Reuters largest investment in AI since 2010 and was developed with attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing in Toronto working side by side. In this way, state-of-the-art AI technologies could be specifically tuned to attorney-authored content and powerful legal research tools, including the West Key Number System and KeyCite.
The new research capabilities of Westlaw Edge include:
- Exclusive Warnings for Invalid or Questionable Law. Modern citators that put warnings on overturned or invalidated cases are essential for research, since checking the validity of cases can take hours longer without them. But a major limitation of these citators is that they have almost exclusively addressed explicit citing relationships only, where one court overrules or invalidates the law in a prior case. Based on sophisticated machine learning and natural language processing techniques, the new KeyCite Overruling Risk symbols in Westlaw Edge warn researchers of cases that have been invalidated implicitly, and the new symbols link researchers to the up-to-date law that contains the invalidating language.
- WestSearch Plus is a next-generation legal search engine that uses state-of-the-art AI to guide lawyers to answers to legal questions much faster. The first of its kind, WestSearch Plus uses machine learning, natural language processing, citation networks, and Thomson Reuters proprietary taxonomy of the law – the West Key Number System – to bring back the relevant documents researchers are seeking, and it also provides answers to thousands of types of legal questions in seconds.
- Integrated Litigation Analytics enable legal professionals to quickly view relevant insights on judges, courts, attorneys and law firms to help guide the best trial strategy; inform litigation timelines, resource needs and budgets; and allow for faster, more sophisticated legal research. No other legal analytics tool has as much data or as many practice areas across both state and federal courts. Litigation Analytics covers dockets for every federal case type, except bankruptcy, and it includes almost 8 million federal cases and motion analytics for 13 types of federal motions, as well as expert challenge reports.
- Statutes Compare enables researchers to see all statutory language changes with just a click of a button, and it is available for both federal and state statutes. The tool can be used to understand legislative intent for litigation or to advise clients how their business operations might need to change based on revisions in the statutes.
Multiple Am Law 100 firms, including Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman & Sterling and Locke Lord, have already started using Westlaw Edge. According to Wendy Butler Curtis, Orrick’s chief innovation officer, “As part of our innovation strategy, we are continually looking at new ways to streamline processes, adopt technologies and empower our teams. Westlaw Edge is an important part of our innovation toolkit.”
Thomson Reuters has used AI and machine learning-based tools in products for more than 25 years to solve specific problems for lawyers. According to Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president of Research & Development and head of its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing, Thomson Reuters AI relies on three key ingredients: content, subject matter expertise and technology expertise. “Content is key. It is what customers come to us for in the first place, and it is what we use to train our algorithms. In the case of our attorney-authored editorial enhancements, it’s the most valuable metadata to help us design algorithms that mimic legal researchers,” said Al-Kofahi. “Our subject matter experts – both attorneys and scientists – ensure that we design optimal solutions to the right set of problems.”
On top of the natural patterns that appear in the law, Thomson Reuters attorney editors have integrated advanced editorial analysis and other enhancements. “By tuning our AI to the West Key Number System, citation networks and other attorney-authored content, our legal and technology experts have created something that no other legal research provider relying on AI and raw data alone could ever make, allowing machines to connect related information and documents to find answers even when search terms don’t match the language used in the original court document,” added Al-Kofahi.
“Westlaw Edge is full of breathtaking science, and the AI and machine learning components build perfectly upon our previous innovations and exclusive legal expertise,” added Dahn. “With Westlaw Edge, legal professionals can conduct legal research more quickly than ever before and uncover valuable new insights, giving them greater confidence when filing court documents or advising clients.”