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Relativity, provider of a platform that enables legal teams to aggregate large volumes of unstructured data, yesterday announced it has acquired Text IQ as part of an effort to embed AI technologies deeper within its core platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The companies have an existing partnership, but the acquisition will allow Relativity to expand its reach further into the realms of compliance and data privacy, Relativity CEO Mike Gamson told VentureBeat.

How it works

Text IQ employs unsupervised machine learning (ML), graphical modeling, social network analysis (SNA), natural language processing (NLP), and deep learning algorithms to identify the data most relevant to a legal case. This includes data that is privileged or might contain personally identifiable information (PII) that would be relevant to a case involving, for example, the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted by the European Union.

Text IQ also identifies social networks from unstructured data using a Socio-Linguistic Hypergraph that establishes relationships between individuals, how they communicate, and how they communicate differently with different groups of people. The company claims it finds every trace of a person in a dataset, which is not something any human can achieve on their own.

Relativity’s platform aggregates all the data in a way that makes it simple to apply Text IQ’s AI technologies to it. In combination, these platforms reduce the total cost of a legal proceeding while ostensibly accelerating the rate at which cases can be resolved, Gamson added. In fact, Text IQ claims its platform reduces the time and cost of conducting privilege reviews by up to 75% while also reducing the risk that privileged information might be inadvertently shared.

The Text IQ platform employs an unsupervised approach that allows AI models to be trained using all the raw data available, rather than employing a subset of data selected by humans. A supervised approach to training makes it much more likely unconscious biases will be injected into an AI model, Gamson explained.

Legal landscape

Relativity claims its platform is already employed by hundreds of law firms as judges continue to encourage lawyers to embrace AI technologies to accelerate the pace of litigation. “We like to say we cut the time it takes to get to the truth,” Gamson said.

The Text IQ platform will continue to be sold as a standalone offering, but over time more of the AI capabilities developed by Text IQ will be integrated into the Relativity platform, Gamson added. The company claims its platform has more than 300,000 users.

It’s not clear what impact AI will have on the legal profession. Many of the research tasks that were once performed by interns and junior partners are clearly being automated. However, automating rote tasks will free up time for lawyers to launch additional lawsuits. The caseload each lawyer manages may simply expand, resulting in a lot more lawsuits.

One way or another, the proverbial AI genie is now out of the bag. Law firms that are not able to leverage AI to change the way they operate will over time be forced to limit the number of cases they can handle or outright close. But not every law firm is in a position to absorb the upfront costs AI initiatives incur.

Still, the technology is continuing to advance. AI models employing speech interfaces might even one day help argue a case in court. However, the immediate priority is reducing the current backlog of cases that often take a long time to resolve simply because the discovery process is too slow.

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