Am Law 200 law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has become an early public adopter of IBM Watson-backed digital legal research solution ROSS Intelligence, following in the footsteps of Am Law 100 firms Latham & Watkins and BakerHostetler; Wisconsin-based firm von Briesen & Roper; and Detroit firm Dickinson Wright.

With the support of Watson’s cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers at Womble Carlyle will be able to ask ROSS their research questions in normal speech. ROSS then runs through available case law and legislation, gathers evidence, draws inferences and quickly returns evidence-based answers. ROSS also monitors the law around the clock to notify users of new court decisions that can affect a case.

At Womble Carlyle, which in June entered into a strategic partnership with Bond Dickinson, chief strategy officer Bill Turner said: “Embracing cutting-edge technologies, like ROSS Intelligence’s platform, is important for Womble Carlyle to proactively deliver better service, more efficiently. Our pursuit of the ROSS Intelligence relationship was directed by our Innovation Center, which we launched this year to identify leading solutions and client service approaches like ROSS Intelligence.”

The Ross partnership also follows the creation of an Innovation Board at Womble Carlyle, made up of attorneys and staff members who are charged with stimulating new thinking and new ideas.

In May, BakerHostetler revealed that it has signed up with ROSS for use in its bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors rights team, having been a member of a test group since ROSS’s inception.

Ross, led by co-founder and CEO Andrew Arruda, is backed by Dentons investment arm NextLaw Labs. It began out of research at the University of Toronto in 2014 and in June 2015, after receiving funding from Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, relocated from Toronto to Palo Alto, California, where it has been taught bankruptcy law. The company is in the process of teaching ROSS other practice areas.