News in brief 15 December 2016

AI comes to costs

Artificial intelligence (AI) software provider RAVN Systems has begun developing a system to assist lawyers cost matters by reference to previous similar cases but also taking into account key differentiating factors.

RAVN, which specialises in the natural language processing and machine-learning branches of AI, said the proposed system, called AI Matters, was designed to use AI techniques to increase the ability to cost matters by reference to previous similar cases. It is based on a concept from well-known legal IT consultant Neil Cameron.

A press statement from RAVN said: “The significant feature of the system is that it will use heuristic algorithms to identify the key factors (‘complexity factors’) that determine, in relation to any particular case type, whether any particular new matter is likely to use more resources and cost more, than other similar cases, or take less time and cost less.”

This would become increasingly accurate over time as the system got better and better at estimates “due to the accretion of more and more useful source data”.

RAVN added: “It will also be able to monitor the initial assumptions of factors that were unknown at the start of the matter and alert the partner that the initial fee estimate will need to be revised. This will help the firm manage the client’s expectations over the life of the case.

“The overall objective of this system is to enable the firm to recover a greater proportion of their recorded chargeable time and thus increase matter realisation and the overall profitability of the firm.”


Averill stands down

ACL treasurer Stephen Averill (pictured) has stood down from the Council, just months after being re-elected, due to pressure of work.

Mr Averill, who is managing director of Phoenix Legal Costs Services in Cardiff, said: “I am proud to have been a part of the running of the ACL for over three and a half years. It is with regret that I have had to stand down so soon into my second term of office. The reason is a happy one – my business is expanding and the team is growing. I need to be here to steer the ship.”

Looking more broadly, he added: “The profession is undergoing change and will continue to undergo change in the future. There have been threats to our profession ever since I first started drafting bills back in 1986. Threats will not go away. It is how we deal with those threats and how we turn them into opportunities for the members that is important.

“Having a dedicated Council with a strong vision will allow us to meet those threats positively and continue to create opportunities. But remember, Council is only effective with the engagement and support of the members. This is your Association – be proud of it and fight for it.”

Mr Averill expressed gratitude to “everyone who has supported me over the years, in particular the Council members from 2013 to date, along with Diane and Maurice. I look forward to seeing everyone at the conference in May”.


Cup winners gather

Costs Lawyer Michelle Farlow has moved to A&M Bacon from Attain Legal Costs Management, making her the third member of staff at the firm who has won the ACL’s annual Student Cup for achieving the highest mark in the Costs Lawyer examination. She joins Jessica Swannell and Caroline Cousins. A&M Bacon now has 10 fee-earners.


This post was posted in ACL e-Bulletin

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Post type
Costs News
Published date
19 Dec 2016

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