AI Innovation at MinterEllison

2 minute read  20.12.2023 Gary Adler

The rapid evolution of technology and AI advances means law firms need to evolve beyond their traditional strengths. Complacency is not an option.

So we're using our values of excellence, curiosity and collaboration to disrupt ourselves and take a leading edge in this space – so we can help solve our clients' complex challenges and create sustainable value for them, for our own people and their careers, and for our communities.

We've embraced AI as a disruptive and transformative technology that will create new opportunities and challenges for all industries, including ours. We acknowledge the risks, but we also believe this technology will help us provide even better legal and consulting services.

Our leading-edge position is our north star as we continue to build our digital roadmap and embrace innovation and technology as drivers of growth.

AI and clients: A collaborative journey

In a world of constant change and increasing complexity, we see our role as assisting clients in navigating this evolving landscape and helping them solve their challenges. AI will help us do this efficiently, and give our people more time to provide the invaluable human elements of strategy, judgment, and contextual understanding that are essential to our clients.

When you combine tech with the human mind – there's the excellence.

We also understand the importance of co-creating solutions with our clients. This collaborative approach not only deepens our understanding of our clients' needs but also helps us better anticipate emerging challenges and opportunities, enabling us to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving market.

Over the past year, our clients have also increasingly sought our combined legal and consulting expertise for AI-related risk management, including issues such as copyright, IP, privacy, data governance and cybersecurity. Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate increased client investment in AI. Key challenges for clients will include navigating regulatory frameworks, responsible AI usage, data and AI governance, data-driven M&A strategies, addressing ESG concerns about AI's energy consumption, and managing digital workforce transitions.

Cultivating AI expertise: Growth and learning

We're encouraging our people - from graduates, partners, business operations and consultants - to experiment with AI, share their learnings and provide feedback, so we can best use it to serve our clients.

We've implemented initiatives to encourage this experimentation and increase the digital fluency of our people. Our Digital Academy provides tools and courses for everyone to upskill. To encourage and reward participation in our Digital Academy we've developed our award-winning internal crypto currency called Mintcoin. When our people complete a learning module, Mintcoin is deposited into the users' digital wallet, ready to be redeemed through our online Mintcoin shopfront. This initiative won us a spot on the AFR's 2023 Most Innovative Companies list.

We've developed our own secure chatbot, called Chat with ME, that uses the latest GPT-4 technology. Plus we have an Innovation Ideas Exchange, where people demonstrate how they're using AI tech to enhance productivity, client experience and the value proposition for our people.

We want this technology to help our people develop their careers, push their work up the value chain, and help reduce 'the mundane', so they can dedicate their time to providing the best solutions for our clients. We believe this benefits our clients, who will receive more efficient, high-quality services, and our people, by giving them more space to work on their commercial and strategic skillsets, which can result in higher engagement and satisfaction with their work.

We've invested in and developed tools like our 'Advice Generator', which is based on a GPT-4 platform, and leverages our library of advice and precedents, as well as publicly available legal insights, to assist our lawyers with drafting more efficiently so they can spend more time solving client problems.

Importantly, Advice Generator also enhances the learning opportunities for our junior lawyers, as they can review the various sources and references the prompts draw upon to produce the first draft.

We also recently launched our Innovation Scholarship where two successful applicants explore immersive learning experiences in partnership Amazon and Josef, as well as undertaking a course at one of the world's most prestigious business schools, INSEAD.

Fostering innovation: Strategic AI partnerships

We're also fostering a leading-edge culture of continuous learning, aided by strategic partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, where we're one of only 600 companies globally invited to participate in its Copilot Early Access Program.

And in early December we teamed up with Microsoft for an immersive session at their Sydney headquarters to discuss with media the impact of AI on the legal profession and also share how we're using AI to transform how we work and also advise our clients.

Responsible use of AI: Guiding principles

As AI becomes more widely accessible to everyone, it's crucial it's used responsibly. As a purpose-led firm, we're committed to using AI responsibly and ethically, aligning with our values and professional obligations. So, we've developed our AI Lighthouse Principles and Guidelines.

These provide guide rails for us to follow when we use AI in our work. It applies to all our people, partners, contractors and consultants involved in the development, deployment or use of AI solutions, as well as considering our clients and other stakeholders who may be impacted by our use of AI.

These principles and guidelines will evolve alongside the technology and society's needs, and we'll review and updated them regularly.

For our clients we've also created a resource to keep up-to-date on how to navigate legal risks and impacts on their business as well as responsible use of AI and emerging technologies.