As the world turns from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness and on to the Belmont Stakes to round out the triple crown, many of us in the legal profession are returning from the Las Vegas CLOC Global Institute 2024.  As you think about what we saw from the attending vendors it is hard to miss the parallels with those famous horse races, except of course that not everyone in the running is a peak performance three-year-old.

Before attending I’m sure we all checked with the oddsmakers. Those oracles of business that through their “magic” tell us who is innovative and well established, who is up and coming, and who is on the decline.  But industry commentary isn’t always “gospel” so it’s worth a quick recap to validate the current state of the vendor offerings.

As we walked the paddock (exhibit floor), it was clear that certain stables are combining their horses, and known jockeys showed up with new colors.  It is a small legal world after all.  Progress from 2023’s AI hype has been steady but probably for most of us a bit slower than expected based on last year’s excitement.  Clearly the track is still a bit muddy, and vendors are jockeying to differentiate themselves as the market settles into a baseline set of capabilities that all must aspire to fulfill.  Key differentiators that vendors are emphasizing to varying degrees of capability are:

• The state of redlining (guidance v. substitution v. surgical editing)

• Use of multiple LLMs to optimize model performance

• MS Word or plug-in compatibility

• Summarization

• Data extraction

• Chat inquiry and search

• The state of their roadmap and direction of future enhancements.

AI security questions loomed large as the big market concern coming into this race. But messaging is beginning to coalesce around what constitutes a safe operating environment, and clearly, no one is sharing data outside of their instance or training anyone else’s models.

I don’t want to name names, but we’re seeing the beginnings of a convergence of CLM with ELM with Document Management. It is currently a toss-up whether success lies with the mature winners, the young thoroughbreds, the new colts, the overseas imports, or with older champions still clinging to their legacy. And, of course, we can’t lose sight of those scratch entries, conspicuous by their absence but perhaps a funding round or acquisition away from a come-from-behind victory. There is currently no clear winner, with the current leaders holding on by a nose-length advantage in a very fast-moving race.

Computer screen showing website

One nice to see development was entries in the alternative race category. For a change, there were vendors present who were actually focused on smaller in-house teams with solutions that specialized in affordable, easy-to-deploy, and use solutions.

Legal technology remains a competitive race, and that competition pushes great ideas and innovation. Generative AI as a language-based innovation is ripe for revolutionizing the way Legal work is done. It’s great to see so many vendors dedicated to embracing this technology and making a difference in the legal world. We may not see a triple crown winner this year, but we are seeing some great races that ultimately benefit us all.

Diane Homolak
Diane Homolak

VP - Technology Solutions

Based in Cleveland, OH, Diane joined Integreon in 2022, bringing over three decades of diverse legal experience to support our clients and services teams in applying technology to solve legal environment challenges. A published thought leader, Diane has worked with a broad range of legal technology spanning contracting, AI extraction, negotiation support, and reporting.

Read More