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Prestigious magic circle law firm Allen & Overy has introduced a new AI chatbot called ‘Harvey’ to assist its lawyers with tasks such as drafting documents and client memos. Based on GPT-3.5, the firm has been testing it for a while now and claims it is not a threat to any jobs or a cost-cutting exercise.
Harvey chatbot is developed by a startup, also called Harvey, which was incubated by OpenAI Startup Fund with $5 million, led by Brad Lightcap, OpenAI’s CCO and the manager. The company is also backed by Jeff Dean, the lead of Google AI, alongside Mixer Labs co-founder Elad Gill and other angel investors.
The firm said Harvey would not replace any employees. The chatbot could eventually reduce costs but its main purpose is to generate basic drafts that lawyers can edit and improve upon.
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Seems like the name Harvey is inspired by the character of lawyer Harvey Spectre (played by Gabriel Macht) from the legal drama ‘Suits’.
It is the first time a magic circle member has used generative AI software in live cases. Harvey comes at a time when there is increased pressure on law firms to use technology to boost productivity. The AI assistant’s disclaimer informs users that it sometimes gives inaccurate or misleading results and that skilled legal professionals must keep an eye on it. It is suggested that attorneys use the tool to produce documents and fact-check all the information they come across.
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The ethics of deploying the technology in the legal environment, where accuracy is crucial, has often been questioned. Allen & Overy, on the other hand, insists that Harvey is a “smart method of working” that cuts waiting times. Despite not disclosing the price of its AI assistant, the firm said that a “significant purchase decision” had been made to introduce it. Although other organisations have experimented with similar technology, their incorporation by the magic circle represents a significant advancement in the area.
Besides Harvey, OpenAI Startup Fund also backs Descript, Mem and Speak.
While Mem is working to develop a self-organising workspace that uses advanced AI to organise personal notes and predict which information will be most relevant to the user at any given moment or context, Descript recently unveiled a new framework called Storyboard for making videos as easy as making a slideshow. They started out in East Asia, concentrating on South Korea, and now have close to 100,000 paying customers.