Continuous Improvement

Will your next associate be a robot?

May 12, 2016

Change is the law of life. Those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
– John F. Kennedy

Will your next associate be a robot? Maybe – and perhaps sooner than you may think. Meet Ross, the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney, built on IBM’s cognitive computer, Watson. Ross has been blowing up the internet today because BakerHostetler has made Ross part of its bankruptcy practice.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, I’ve met plenty of attorneys who are artificially intelligent. [Ed. Note: They are always opposing counsel.] I have no idea how some of them got through law school.” That’s not the kind of artificial intelligence I’m talking about.

Ross uses Watson’s cognitive computing skills to mine facts and analyze data in seconds. Ask Ross a question in plain English, and Ross can research your question and return an answer in seconds. Seconds.

ROSS is built upon Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer. Almost all of the legal information that you rely on is unstructured data—it is in the form of text, and not neatly situated in the rows and columns of a database. Watson is able to mine facts and conclusions from over a billion of these text documents a second.
– From

The implications for the legal profession are staggering. From how lawyers bill for their services to how informed potential clients may be about a legal issue before they seek out an attorney and everything in between – Ross is changing the game. Now.

Ross may not affect your practice this month, this year, or even next year. But Ross is out there and he/she/it is here to stay.


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