Toronto’s Next Dynamite Lawyer
The legal scene in Toronto is bracing for the arrival of one of the most qualified and talented junior associates the industry has ever seen. This new associate, simply named Ross, will most likely be working at a Bay Street law firm within the next few years.

Ross’ main duties will be to handle legal research on big cases, and the senior partners at the lucky firm are sure to appreciate his quiet, efficient, and effective working style. Ross’ resume is quite impressive. He even won a television quiz show a few years back.

As great as Ross might sound, he might not be a good fit for a company looking to bring on a “class-clown” type to spice up their holiday parties. Ross will most likely prove to be boring company if invited to your firm’s cocktail events.

An Introduction to “Ross”

Why is that, you might be asking? Well, that’s because Ross is a computer program. Ross was developed by a group of University of Toronto students. These students were given access to Watson, the artificially intelligent computer system, developed by IBM, that made headlines back in 2011 with its victory on the television show Jeopardy!

In effect, the students trained Watson’s powers on a body of Ontario corporate law decisions and statutes rather than simply feeding it general knowledge. This system developed into Ross, who will certainly be one of the best legal researchers around when he hits the ground running at one lucky Bay Street law firm.

“Basically, what we built is a the best legal researcher available,” explains Ross co-founder Andrew Arruda, 25, a University of Saskatchewan law graduate who is articling at Toronto law firm Azevedo & Nelson. “It’s able to do what it would take lawyers hours to do in seconds.”

Using Artificial Intelligence to Change the Legal Industry

Many people have become increasingly interested in the possibility of utilizing artificial intelligence to aid the practice of law in the province in recent years. Interestingly, a few legal startups and researchers based in the U.S. have already begun using computers to analyze databases of past cases in order to predict the outcomes of similar cases in the future.

Specialized artificially intelligent software is now capable of “learning” as it scrutinizes millions of e-mails in search of information that will prove relevant before high-stakes litigation. Essentially, the system will become capable of providing increasingly useful and relevant information as it absorbs the information it is combing through.

According to Ross’ creators, you simply need to ask the system a legal question, and Ross will provide an answer, citations to relevant legal cases that back up that answer, a list of helpful readings, and a percentage number indicating the system’s confidence level in its’ answer.

Once the system is aware of the case you’re working on, it will be on the alert for any new case information that might prove relevant. If Ross finds anything useful, he will let you know right away, either by alerting you via email or text, which can be exceptionally helpful if you’re already heading into the courtroom.

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Posted by: DSR
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Tag: Legal
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