Macfarlanes joins list of law firms using HarveyAI

updated on 25 September 2023

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Macfarlanes LLP has announced a partnership with HarveyAI, an OpenAI-backed tool that’s designed specifically to assist with legal work.

HarveyAI was built using OpenAI and ChapGPT technology. According to the Global Legal Post, the AI automates simple tasks, such as reviewing, analysing and summarising documents, by using natural language processing, machine learning and data analytics.

HarveyAI was founded at the start of 2022 and is already being used by law firms like Allen & Overy LLP, and PwC. It’s received a great deal of interest after a $5 million investment from the OpenAI Startup Fund, according to Reuters. David Wakeling, an Allen & Overy partner, said he thinks not using AI will prove a disadvantage for firms in the future.

Macfarlanes is using the tool after completing a pilot programme over the summer with 70 fee earners and knowledge lawyers. Winston Weinberg, HarveyAI’s co-founder and president, said Macfarlanes had been “an invaluable collaborator” in testing the platform. Macfarlanes plans to progress using AI strategy as it “has the potential to transform the way we provide solutions and services for our clients”, according to Luke Powell, managing partner at the firm. Other firms with access to HarveyAI are using the tool on a large scale. For example, Allen & Overy announced in February that 3,500 of its lawyers are using the AI and that it’s been asked 40,000 questions so far.

Macfarlanes is set to give up to 650 lawyers access to HarveyAI. The tool will be used to help with client work and the firm’s chief knowledge, according to Chris Tart-Roberts, the firm’s innovation officer. The firm has also reassured that outputs, which have used the AI, will “be carefully monitored and reviewed” by its lawyers.

Weinburg expressed that the business was “delighted to partner with Macfarlanes, a firm that shares our vision of using generative AI to empower lawyers and enhance legal services. Macfarlanes has been an invaluable collaborator in testing and refining our platform, and we look forward to working with them to unlock new possibilities and opportunities for their clients and lawyers".