Janders Dean: Meet Amy, our new AI administrative assistant

Janders Dean has this month begun using an artificial intelligence-based bot to liaise with its clients and contacts and schedule meetings.

x.ai personal assistant Amy has since the start of October scheduled close to 20 external meetings for the legal industry management consultancy, ranging from meetings at the Janders Dean offices to partner sessions at its clients’ offices. Her interaction with clients follows a successful internal pilot that began in June.

Users cc amy@x.ai who then takes over the email exchange and sends a meeting invite when a time and date has been agreed.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Janders Dean founder Justin North said: “Because Amy uses natural language, the contacts that we have who are interacting with her believe that she’s a human being. She learns from our use of language, and the language of the people she corresponds with. It means we don’t have to spend the time going back and forward with scheduling and logistics information.”

Amy’s ability to understand and learn from the language she interacts with means that she can interpret colloquial expressions and North says: “If a client asks us to ‘grab a coffee and chat this through’, Amy knows where to meet, where the person is located, and how long they need to meet for.”

He adds: “She also understands that if someone is in Sydney and says ‘let’s discuss this’ that the conversation will automatically be a conference call, and not in person. Her scheduling of the call takes this into account. We’ve not yet unleashed the “Ashes Banter” but the fact that our inbox is saved from all these exchanges, means that we’re able to focus on the high value advisory tasks.”

Given the amount of time PAs spend on arranging meetings, administrative AI bots have huge cost saving potential for law firms looking to find efficiencies.

North says: “From a fee-earner and secretarial resourcing perspective, the use of emerging technologies and artificial administrative assistants have the potential to change the dynamics of the way a law firm works from an operational perspective, the way it supports its fee-earners, and the way it supports clients.”

While a number of firms are engaging with AI legal assistant ROSS, much of law firms’ focus in the AI space currently revolves around cutting the time it takes to conduct due diligence by using machine learning-based solutions from Kira Systems or, more recently, Luminance.

North said: “We’re advising our clients to explore opportunities with emerging technology without their blinkers on. Our advice is to stop only looking at your neighbours in the industry, and start looking at ways in which other industries are adopting the technology. If you continue to focus your efforts on only the client-facing use of the technology, you’ll miss a number of opportunities as to how this technology can transform the ways in which both your operational functions are staffed, and the roles you develop inside the firm over time.

“Every firm will move into using AI in due diligence. This is not rocket science or revolutionary.”

x.ai, a New York-based startup, formally launched Amy and her male counterpart Andrew on 13 October, having been in beta since June 2014.