Mona Datt (in picture) has a background in computer engineering and got the idea that led to founding of Loom Analytics when her lawyer husband asked her if tedious legal tasks could be eased.(HT Photo)
Mona Datt (in picture) has a background in computer engineering and got the idea that led to founding of Loom Analytics when her lawyer husband asked her if tedious legal tasks could be eased.(HT Photo)

Indo-Canadian’s startup is disrupting legal industry using artificial intelligence

Sitting in an office in Toronto, Mona Datt is seeking answers to some legal questions – are some judges prone to ruling in a particular way? Do some line of arguments presented by lawyers work better than others? Do some jurisdictions favour plaintiffs more?
By Anirudh Bhattacharyya | Hindustan Times, Toronto, Toronto
PUBLISHED ON APR 10, 2017 04:34 PM IST

The legal industry may be heading for significant change brought about by technology and an Indo-Canadian entrepreneur could play a role in harnessing artificial intelligence to speed up that process.

Sitting in an office in Toronto, Mona Datt is seeking answers to some legal questions – are some judges prone to ruling in a particular way? Do some line of arguments presented by lawyers work better than others? Do some jurisdictions favour plaintiffs more?

Datt is the founder of Loom Analytics, a Toronto-based AI startup that launched last year and has developed an app that promises ‘Litigation intelligence at your fingertips’ to its target market (as of now) of lawyers and insurance companies. Loom’s premise is: “By sorting and classifying case law for you, we're making the process of case law research smarter, faster, and more robust. Using a combination of legal analysis and machine learning, Loom provides hard numbers on case law: win/loss rates, judge ruling histories, litigation trends over time, and much more.”

“As an industry, it’s at a weird stage. The legal industry has AI and machine learning sitting at its doorstep. It’s an industry that’s ripe for disruption,” Datt told HT in an interview.

Essentially, at this stage, Loom looks at removing the drudge work required in sorting through reams of case law and is attempting to automate the process.

“It’s so repetitive that after a while, you say, does this really need a human being to do it over and over again? Or can it just be done once, put in a database so that other people can actually leverage what’s been done once?” she said.

“What does change is how we build our argument. To me, that really is the practise of law – it’s not looking for precedent, it’s how you use that precedent to argue your case. So that could be automated.”

Datt has a background in computer engineering and explored this field in 2015 when her husband Raj Datt, a lawyer, asked her if this tedious task could be eased.

Two years on, Loom already has several clients in Canada including a couple of major law firms. She has focused on the country as “more of a training ground”, as it provides access to open data on court judgements. The firm has seven lawyers on staff in its back office operations in New Delhi. As junior lawyers provide the analysis of Canadian legal data, that is reviewed by senior lawyers. Another lawyer is based in Toronto for an additional layer of comfort with the level of quality control. It is also conducting “active research” into “machine-learning based analysis of legal decisions” at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa.

Datt expects to look at other countries in the future, starting with the United States. And India could also figure on that docket, as she said, “Any English-speaking country, any common law country would make sense.”

 

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