#TBT India’s First Law Firm to Recruit a Legal AI Company

In January 2017, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) made history when it became the first Indian law firm to license Kira, a machine learning contract review and analysis software built by Kira Systems.

CAM were rightly excited and a swathe of legal press covered the announcement with CAM becoming the first Indian law firm to deploy such a technology. Five months later, CAM backed up the deployment of artificial intelligence with the establishment of a new role at the firm: the Head of Innovation & Artificial Intelligence, recruiting Komal Gupta to the role.

At the announcement of the deal, CAM’s press office spoke of its “ongoing commitment to lead the Indian legal industry’s evolution and transformation.”

But since then (May 2017), we’ve not heard much. Presumably, and rightly, it’s been head down for Gupta as the work of onboarding Kira Systems’ technology across its six offices has taken place.

Komal Gupta

Komal Gupta is the Head of Innovation & Artificial Intelligence at top Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Prior to joining CAM in May 2017, she had worked at Integreon Managed Solutions for 10 years, rising to the post of Vice President, Legal Services. 

At Legal Geek we yearned to know more however, so we reached out to Komal to ask for an update on how making legal history was progressing into real-world change.

“The idea of subscribing to Kira was initially to improve efficiencies and accuracy in our due diligence process,” Gupta informs us via an interview conducted over email.

“Kira has enabled us to quickly run through similar documents and spot the risk areas. As a result, the tightest of deadlines are no longer tight for us – we are now able to flag risks in the shortest time given with a high level of accuracy. While my team spots the essential clauses, the practice groups focus on analysing the findings and advising our clients.”

Kira’s technology is running across all 6 CAM offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad with a dedicated Kira team operating out of New Delhi.

And Kira’s team has been busy over the past year as installing artificial intelligence systems is not the plug-and-play process of a technological utopia.

Gupta highlights the following areas as obstacles which CAM and Kira Systems have worked together to overcome:

  • “A unique style of drafting which Kira’s built-in provisions do not recognise – we have trained Kira on 439 CAM provisions and 49 custom CAM worksheets to familiarise it with an Indian style of drafting and it has picked up quite well.
  • “User enhancements – continuous feedback is given to the Kira team through regular calls and meetings which they incorporate in the next update.
  • “Quality of scanned copies received from clients – we do a combination of manual and automated work for poor quality scans and also try to obtain better quality documents from clients.
  • “VDR (virtual data room) restrictions – we are educating clients on the permissions required for a diligence to be done on Kira and they are being very supportive of the technology.
  • “Responsive customer success – any problems we encounter are rectified by the Kira team when informed by us.”

With Kira Systems’ technology having whetted the appetite for AI at CAM, the firm is exploring adopting further AI tools in legal research, document review, IP and proofreading but have not made any formal announcements yet.

With more than 625 lawyers on the books, AI-driven efficiency gains will presumably have a wide reaching impact across the whole of CAM. But what of the wider Indian legal sector, is AI being adopted across the board?

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Gupta believes so but is yet to see the equivalent levels of commitment from CAM’s peers. She wrote: “I am aware other Indian firms are exploring various technologies but they have not yet been finalised. I have also received interest from clients in exploring and educating themselves on appropriate technologies. There is an increase in the developers of legal tech products, conferences are full of enthusiasts who have accepted AI to be a part of the present and future and are strong supporters of smart lawyering with the help of technologies.”

From Kira’s perspective, the company has told Legal Geek that breaking new ground in the Indian legal sector has been “exciting and rewarding” with Sam Spivack – an AI Practice Consultant at Kira Systems – adding: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with such an innovative and forward-thinking firm, like CAM and, in particular, with Komal and her team. Whilst, we’re still in the early stages of the AI revolution, it’s clear that CAM have taken advantage as a first mover in this market.”

In our #TBT series, Legal Geek takes a look at the major Legal Tech news from the recent past and asks what happened next. Let us know if there are any stories you think we should be re-visiting by scribbling us a line at [email protected] [yes, it is dot.co] 🙂