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5 minute read

No More Playing the Field: Settling Down with a Solid AI Strategy

As we navigate the ever-shifting landscape of modern technology, it seems we can't escape the buzz around AI. So after a year of what feels like a perpetual first date with AI, it's high time we moved past the small talk and set a strategic approach to this relationship for the coming year.

Let's face the reality: AI is not just a fleeting trend, it's a part of our collective future on this planet. The question now is how we navigate this AI-dominated terrain. Do we rush in, impulsively adopting every new AI tool like buying Harvey on a whim, or do we resist change, banning AI as an unwelcome intruder? Neither approach serves us well. Instead, it's about finding that middle ground where informed decision-making and innovative thinking meet. This year, let's commit to a strategy that embraces AI with a measured, informed perspective, blending the best of new technology with the reliability of proven methodologies.

A Two-Pronged Approach to AI

Moving from the theoretical chatter surrounding AI to a more grounded, practical approach, I’d encourage you to adopt a strategy that's both realistic and forward-thinking. This approach should be twofold:

  • First, focus on experimenting with the new AI features being introduced to your favorite products and platforms. This give you a safe place to learn within a trusted environment.
  • Second, start engaging with brand new, still in development, technologies and companies. The idea here is to monitor the market and watch what is developing in your specific area of interest so when the right time comes, you know who you want to call.

This balanced strategy allows you to capitalize on AI's immediate benefits while positioning yourself to seamlessly adopt future innovations. Tiem for brass tacks – here we go!

Evolving Tech: The Foundation 

The cornerstone of this strategy lies in understanding and leveraging the tools we are already familiar with as they evolve to embrace new technologies like AI.

What we’re talking about here are the tools, platforms, and service providers you use every day – these are your tried and tested allies. Originally designed in a pre-AI era, they are now on a transformative journey, integrating AI to expand their capabilities. The benefits of this approach are evident; there’s comfort in the familiar and a trust built over years of reliability. But there's also a catch. The integration of AI into these existing systems is akin to retrofitting an old medieval castle with modern amenities. It works, but it's often not seamless and might eventually necessitate a foundational overhaul.

Using the field of eDiscovery as an example, this manifests in the way traditional software adapts to incorporate AI for more efficient document review or predictive coding. The improvements can be substantial, yet occasionally underwhelming, highlighting the inherent challenge of merging new tech into old frameworks.

By using these evolving capabilities added to familiar tools, you gain a practical, grounded perspective on the potential and limitations of emerging technologies. It prepares you for the eventual shift towards systems natively designed for the new tech landscape, be it in legal tech or any other field undergoing similar transformations.

Emerging Tech: The Fuel

I love me some new technology, but only fool rush in. So how do you decide when it’s the “right time” to give new AI-first solution a try? I like to look for one of those completely impossible asks – you know, the ones where the judge sets a deadline that current technology and process would allow you to meet. Here, deploying the latest AI might seem like a Hail Mary, but with little downside, it could turn into your winning play.

But how do you know when to make this leap? And how do you know which tech to pull the trigger on when the moment arises?

You must start learning about these new companies, providers, and solutions TODAY.

You cannot make new tech a last-minute scramble; you must have some background knowledge so you can align the problem you’re experiencing with a short list of potential solutions. The key to this? Engaging with the development of these technologies from the get-go. I’d argue that you should go out right now and:

  • Sign up for at least one new company's mailing or waitlist.
  • Book a meeting with a company doing something interesting in your area.
  • Sign up for a webinar where these folks are speaking.

We have a tendency in legal to say, “Call me when you have a real product.” And that used to be a reasonable strategy, before all the new money and new talent and new tech entered our realm. Today, waiting to start getting to know these solutions means you’re behind.

If you start watching a product or company now, you get to watch it evolve. And the evolution of a product can speak volumes about a company's philosophy and focus, giving you more data points when choosing new tech. Watching a young AI platform develop gives you insights into its potential and its creators' commitment to excellence.

But, it's not just about signing up for newsletters or following updates. It’s about actively engaging with this information. Read those emails, not as a chore, but as a treasure trove of insights. Talk to new vendors, attend their presentations, listen to what these pioneers have to say. Heck, listen to what they’re not saying. It’s this level of engagement that turns information into wisdom.

In the ever-advancing realm of technology, the shift towards building systems with an AI-first mindset marks a significant departure from the traditional approach of retrofitting new technologies onto old systems. This evolution is most evident in sectors like eDiscovery, where the difference in outcomes and possibilities between native AI systems and adapted older systems is stark.

AI-First Platforms Will Become the Norm

Native AI platforms, designed from scratch, have the unique advantage of being architected with data and workflows that are optimized for AI from the outset. This allows for a level of integration and efficiency that simply isn't possible with systems that have been retrofitted to accommodate AI. In eDiscovery, for instance, companies are starting to develop such native AI systems, incorporating a wealth of industry knowledge and experience into new, more agile frameworks. This leads to more than just incremental improvements; it's a complete overhaul of how we “do” discovery.

This approach is more than adapting to change; it’s about strategically positioning yourself at the forefront of an AI-driven legal landscape. By staying informed and engaging with emerging technologies like those developed by Beagle, you're not just keeping up with the times; you're actively shaping your future in the field of eDiscovery.


Embracing this strategic journey with AI means embarking on an ongoing cycle of learning, adapting, and foreseeing the future. It's about staying well-informed and actively engaged, ready to harness AI's power to not only bolster our capabilities but also to streamline our operations and unveil new opportunities. As we move forward, let's harness the knowledge we've acquired from both our familiar experiences and the new, uncharted territories of AI. We'll use this knowledge to forge a path that's not only innovative and efficient but also in sync with the ever-changing landscape of our professional world. Our journey isn't merely about adapting to the changes brought by AI; it's about being the vanguards of these changes, ensuring that as professionals, we remain at the forefront of an AI-centric future.

Need Inspiration?

I understand that deciding which emerging tech companies to follow or engage with can be challenging. To help you navigate this landscape, here are a few intriguing emerging tech companies worth your attention. Consider signing up for their mailing lists or make a point to connect with them at the next industry event.

Beagle (eDiscovery)

Streamline (legal ops)

Henchman (document automation)

Parrot (deposition tech)

I always share emerging tech via my monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for here. 


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