Litera announces go-to-market partnership with Microsoft and Copilot integration under development 

Litera announced today (1 May) that it is partnering with Microsoft to bring new tools to market, including developing a Microsoft Copilot integration in collaboration with Microsoft. 

Whereas Litera is already a Microsoft Gold (now called Microsoft AI Cloud) partner, it has had what could be regarded as a technical and integration-based relationship with Microsoft. This new phase is more of a go-to-market, commercial partnership that will see the pair approach large Litera and Microsoft customers together. 

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Litera’s vice president for sales advisors and engineers, Matt James, said that the pair will be undertaking new engagements and webinars together “so we present much more of a united front to say, ‘We’re thinking about a law firm’s experience in combination, not independently and what’s best for each of us.”’ 

James says that Litera was recently required to sign a new partnership with Microsoft to show that they are building on the new Microsoft 365 framework. “As a result of that, Copilot becomes a pretty interesting topic because Microsoft is going to allow legal tech providers to build plugins to Copilot. That’s exciting because when you open up any one of the Office applications, Copilot is front and center, saying ‘I want to own your user experience.’  

“One of my favorite sayings about Microsoft Word or even Office is that it wasn’t created for anyone, it was created for everyone, so having an opportunity to integrate with Copilot means we have early access to their developer program where we can work to integrate our core technologies into Copilot.” For clients James says: “Legal specific technology like Litera that customers have invested in can be surfaced in Copilot and utilised to accomplish the legal tasks they are trying to engage in, versus Copilot being very general. This will make it legal specific.” 

On the building relationships side, James said: “Microsoft has made it very clear to us that they can’t go into a law firm talking about the direction that Microsoft is going, especially in the M365 space, without a law firm saying, ‘What does that mean for providers that own our lawyer experience?’ and in drafting, per se, by Litera. Microsoft says they can’t have a conversation without hearing about Litera, so let’s show a united front and what that final experience would be, versus coming in from two different angles.” 

Many in the market have speculated on the future of a number of Litera products, particularly in the document drafting and review space, in light of developments by Microsoft in the generative AI space.  

James said: “Microsoft will be the first to tell you that they are not building specifically for legal, so we fully expect it to continue to work the way that it does today, which is that you need that additional layer that makes whatever task you’re looking to accomplish fine tuned for what you’re trying to do in in the legal space.” 

He adds: “We do envision Copilot being very influential in building momentum for lawyers around Gen AI, because if you think about how Microsoft is approaching this not specific to legal, it is about personal productivity. It is around taking advantage of what Copilot can do to save you time, which correlates pretty well to unbillable work. You can say ‘help me accomplish some of these things that are these necessary evils, but I can’t generate revenue behind it. They’re time consuming. They’re mundane.’ And if you could start to build that momentum and get people using these types of applications like Copilot to summarize the transcript, to get caught up on emails in your inbox when you were in court all day, if you can start doing that and you start to build momentum, then there’s an opportunity for this product to really move into changing the practice of law. 

“Trying to change the practice of law right out of the gate, there’s not many success stories behind that. The direction of where our technology is going, when we incorporate generative AI, it will work in the same fashion that customers are accustomed to but we’ll start to be able to overcome some of the fear around things like hallucinations.” 

Litera’s head of product, Adam Ryan, said in a statement: “We believe that by the end of 2024, many lawyers will be using Copilot in their day-to-day. Being a Microsoft partner empowers Litera to create a singular, seamless experience. We’re bringing our knowledge of legal workflows and user behavior to this collaboration to reduce distractions and improve user experience with Microsoft tools in the business and practice of law.” 

Meagan Smith, Microsoft’s regional director for the legal industry added: “We are collaborating with Litera to better understand how the legal community will leverage groundbreaking AI technology like Microsoft Copilot. This working relationship will provide better integrations and smoother workflows for our legal practice community.”