K&L Gates launches firmwide AI client support initiative

seattle-skyline-1545099-640x480With slightly spooky timing, global law firm K&L Gates has announced a firm-wide cross-disciplinary initiative to advise and support clients that are or may be developing or incorporating AI technology in their businesses and products.
Yesterday (21 November) we wrote that law firms ought to be focussing more on helping their clients navigate the huge challenges presented by disruptive technologies such as smart cars than obsessing about their own internal tech; reporting a speech given by futurist Rohit Talwar at ILTA London.
K&L Gates, in light of an anticipated 300% increase in investment in AI business in 2017, will help clients capitalise on a broad range of technologies and applications, from process optimisation, custom controls, and automation to robotics, machine learning, predictive analytics, computer vision, and Internet of Things (IoT), including such areas as smart-cars and autonomous vehicles, home/service robots, unmanned aircraft, and intelligent tutoring and online learning systems.
Headed by Seattle partner David McDonald, a leader for K&L Gates’ firmwide intellectual property practice, and Pittsburgh partner David Lehman, the team will comprise lawyers from across K&L Gates’ global platform, including those in the intellectual property, policy and regulatory, financial services, corporate/M&A, emerging growth, and insurance coverage practices, among others.
“AI development and deployment raise legal issues that do not fit neatly into one traditional bucket,” said McDonald. “K&L Gates offers a world of experience in a wide range of legal subjects that we can readily bring to bear as new technologies emerge and penetrate markets.”
The launch of the AI initiative follows the firm’s announcement earlier this month of a $10 million gift to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for the establishment of the “K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies” to study the ethical issues posed by artificial intelligence. The gift allows for the creation of several new faculty chairs, doctoral student Presidential Fellowships, and a biennial conference in the area of computational technologies as well as an undergraduate scholarship and a prize for a graduating senior demonstrating high levels of scholarly achievement.
The K&L Gates initiative reflects advice given by Talwar, who said at ILTA: “All these new developments require us to reinterpret the law and create a new framework, new legal concepts.
“It is a phenomenal opportunity and some firms really get it. You should focus more on that than whether your internal IT is in order. It’s all up for grabs.”