Skip to main content

Century-old law firm Baker & Hostetler just ‘hired’ an AI attorney to help its human lawyers

nestor ai paying attention artificial intelligence
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Artificial intelligence is proving to be an exceptional tool for everything from conquering complex board games to debugging computer programs, to helping oncologists fight cancer. This week, Microsoft’s Chief Envisioner went as far as to say, “AI is the most important technology that anybody on the planet is working on today.” So, it’s no surprise to find AI in our smartphones and automobiles. But how about in our courtrooms?

Earlier this week, one of America’s biggest law firms, Baker & Hostetler, announced that it has “hired” an AI attorney called Ross to join its practice. Supported by IBM’s Watson, Ross was developed to engage in natural language queries and research to help human lawyers build, defend, and streamline their cases. However, Ross’s creators told Digital Trends that their primary goal was to make legal services more available for Americans. 

“80 percent of Americans who need legals services can’t afford it,” said Ross Intelligence co-founder and CTO, Jimoh Ovbiagele. “This is a huge problem that no one else was trying to solve. We felt like we had a moral imperative to do something about it.”

Ross has four key strengths built to help lawyers “better advocate for their clients with more time spent on crafting their legal arguments and less time doing repetitive data retrieval,” said Ovbiagele.

First, the AI is able to answer questions with exact and pertinent responses. Unlike search engines, which give users many thousands of often-irrelevant replies, Ross delivers precise answers, without requiring lawyers to load questions with keywords. Second, Ross combs through legal texts and recent court decisions to identify changes to the law that might have a positive or negative impact on the case. Third, as a machine learning system, Ross becomes more sophisticated the more lawyers use it. Lastly, lawyers can use the AI across all of their devices with a constant user experience.

These features enable lawyers to interact with Ross as they would with one of their colleagues — the only difference is that Ross doesn’t take a lunch break. The AI’s remarkable computing power enables it to review the “entire body of law” before responding with “cited answers and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources,” the company claims on it website.

Obviagele admitted that AI may make court cases imbalanced as some companies adopt the technology and others don’t. “Legal teams who leverage technology will have an unfair advantage against those who don’t,” he said. But he insisted that Ross will not replace human lawyers any time soon.

Still, you can almost hear law students sigh as they consider the competition.

Editors' Recommendations

Dyllan Furness
Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer from Florida. He covers strange science and emerging tech for Digital Trends, focusing…
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more
This AI cloned my voice using just three minutes of audio
acapela group voice cloning ad

There's a scene in Mission Impossible 3 that you might recall. In it, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tackles the movie's villain, holds him at gunpoint, and forces him to read a bizarre series of sentences aloud.

"The pleasure of Busby's company is what I most enjoy," he reluctantly reads. "He put a tack on Miss Yancy's chair, and she called him a horrible boy. At the end of the month, he was flinging two kittens across the width of the room ..."

Read more