Legal Research may soon get easier if LUCI has anything to say about it

Meera Emmanuel October 28 2019
LUCI

The next frontier in legal research may be just around the corner, thanks to the team behind LUCI. The Legal Unified Contextual Intelligence (LUCI) is a an AI-based tool crafted with a view to tackle the tedium associated with  legal research.

Lawyers and law students often face an uphill task when it comes to legal research. Scores of cases, research papers and laws may have to be read before chancing upon a relevant extract, The solution? Have someone else (in this, a deep learning algorithm) do it for you.

Bar & Bench spoke to Pushkal Dubey, Co-founder at LUCI and a former associate at Trilegal to understand how the tool can be used to ease legal research in this manner.

"You ask it any legal question and it gives you the answer for that. These answers are specifically made out to the questions that are asked and not something that is just being pulled out… which is extremely new." 

When a query is made by the user, relevant judgments are picked out and read by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) reader, which will then classify a span of text most relevant to the legal question. This is done with the aid of a cutting edge, state of the art machine learning algorithm developed by the LUCI team.

Says Dubey,

"The way this fits into the entire concept of law and legal research is that a large part of legal research is done to find answers to legal questions. Even when you are told to write a project in college, you are told to break down into research questions. Any legal problem can be broken down into a set of legal questions that you have to answer.

Lawyers spend a lot of time trying to answer those questions - they read a lot of cases, they read a lot of acts. They have to read a lot of irrelevant text to find one or two lines that are relevant to them. We cut that time short, because what we have right now is a (AI) reader. The technology is extremely flexible."

The machine learning algorithm is designed to learn more with every query that is asked. To facilitate the learning process, a feedback mechanism has also been built in by LUCI's developers. When users like an answer given by the AI, they can tick mark it. Every time this happens, the algorithm learns.

"The broader vision is to just be able to break down knowledge and make it easily accessible."

The tool is being trained in law to answer intelligent questions on any legal document, whether it be a research paper or a memo. Presently in its Beta version, the tool currently only deals with queries concerning Supreme Court judgments and key Central Acts. However, LUCI is on its way to dealing with far more as it develops its training data set. Dubey remarked,

"These algorithms work on training. The more you train them, the better they get. The training data set is considered to be the oil of any AI business. The bigger your training set, the better your AI is."

To build up LUCI's capabilities thus, the team is also enlisting the aid of law students from top lop schools through an internship programme.

The core team behind LUCI has four members. Apart from Dubey, the team comprises Dhruv Mehrotra (Founder and CEO) and Hetal Kenaudekar (Co-founder). The coder who created the tool, Dhruv, is a fourth year student at NLSIU, Bangalore, also Dubey's alma mater.

The team hopes to launch the final version of LUCI in the next two months. The final product is expected to improve on three counts i.e. accuracy, speed and the legal data set in which the tool will be trained. LUCI is right now being scaled so that it can handle more legal research. The tool will then be beta tested on lawyers and law students. The team is also meeting with top law firms to start beta tests with them.

In the meanwhile, LUCI has already managed to clear Bar exam.

"Luci cleared the All India Bar Examinations held from 2015 through 2019 five months ago", Dubey informed. "We fed the questions from these bar exams and it gave the correct answers.

LUCI is one of the newest entrants to the space of AI-based legal research. While these tools promise to make life easier for lawyers and litigants alike, it remains to be seen what effect they will have on the legal profession.

 Image courtesy: LUCI website.