It’s no surprise that the legal industry, like many others, is experiencing change as we adjust to the impacts of digital transformations and artificial intelligence (AI). How we choose to navigate that change may end up being just as important as the outcome.

When large enterprises face changes in their core markets which affect their core solutions, the natural response is to build new products or services, or acquire companies that can accelerate a pivot. But what happens when technology is affecting an operating function of a business? The business is impacted, but is it the business’ responsibility to innovate? Is it the responsibility of software or service providers? Doing nothing is clearly not an option, but so too is over-investing in research and development for a non-revenue generating business function. So what to do?

One option is to minimize the investment by jointly exploring the problem with potential partners, and that’s what we did with Siemens.

Thomson Reuters Labs had the great pleasure of working with general counsel at Siemens Canada to understand the full workflow, challenges and most importantly, the humans involved in processing claims and disputes related to large projects. We experimented together, with no strings attached, looking to understand if natural language processing and data visualization could lead to a resolution process that was at least 10 times better than current methods. It required trust and collaboration, data sharing and user feedback, iterations and improvements, but over several weeks and a small team of three people, we were able to achieve and exceed the goal, and are now taking next steps to run the solution in live claims scenarios.

How did it all come to be? Session 313 at the ACC Annual Meeting explores the very topic of “who innovates.” Siemens Canada will discuss the progressive approach their general counsel takes in engaging with outside counsel, Blakes law firm will share details on how they are adjusting to changing client needs, and Thomson Reuters, who serves both general counsel and outside counsel, will discuss its role in engaging both sides, and how that engagement drives more impact when we shift the conversation from buy, to partner.

This post was written by Brian Zubert, director, Thomson Reuters Labs.