Generative AI May Be the Future, But APIs Impact Profitability Today – Jeff Cox Writes in Legaltech News
Generative AI has stolen the limelight in the legal industry, and even though it holds the promise of disrupting the delivery of legal services, law firms should not take their eyes off of the tools of today that impact law firm profitability and future growth.
We’re excited to share the latest article from UniCourt’s Director of Content, Jeff Cox, that was published in Legaltech News: “Generative AI May Be the Future, But APIs Impact Profitability Today.”
Jeff’s article shares insights on how APIs are being used by legal professionals every day to make their personal lives better and how APIs can act as data highways, providing the real-time, on-demand intelligence we need to make better, more informed decisions.
In this article, Jeff also highlights a practical example of how law firms can maximize their profitability and reduce revenue leakage by using legal data APIs to better understand the challenges their clients are facing, know what work their clients have available in different practice areas and jurisdictions, and, more importantly, know what profitable work is available from their clients.
Here below is an excerpt from Jeff’s article:
Generative AI has taken over the front burner of discussions about the future of law. But what should be top of mind for law firms jockeying for inclusion into the Am Law 100, and the coveted position of being in the Premier League and Championship League in the Am Law 100 Power Rankings, is how they can solve the problem of revenue leakage. Investing in the right data infrastructure can impact firm profitability today and protect firms from being unequipped when even more consequential evolutions of generative AI emerge in the future.
One of the tools that law firms can use right now are plug-and-play APIs to get access to structured, normalized data in real time from external data sources. APIs are foundational tools widely used in many technologically advanced industries to create a seamless layer of connective tissue between external data sources and internal applications. They are also commonly used to bridge together internal applications and data sources for increasing a business’ visibility into and intelligence from their own data.
In this article, we’ll talk generally about what APIs are, how they are being used by law firms now as solutions to existing challenges, and why they should remain top of mind in the face of the onslaught of generative AI prognostications.
APIs as Data Highways
APIs can be thought of as highways capable of seamlessly transferring data between different applications and databases in real time. In fact, legal professionals use APIs every day in their personal lives.
As a familiar example of real-time data from APIs, think about booking a flight or renting a car using a travel site like Expedia or Travelocity. When you enter the dates and destination for your travel and hit the search button to find options, the travel site makes API calls to relevant airlines and car rental companies, so it can show you all of the best options available that meet your criteria.
We have all grown accustomed to having on-demand, instantaneous access to data in our daily lives. Yet law firms still manually ingest mission-critical data from external sources such as courts, legislatures, or regulatory bodies and manually transfer data from matter management systems to their CRM, CLM, or DMS.
Why? Because, until recently, APIs available in the legal tech ecosystem were cumbersome, difficult to integrate, and required a team of engineers and developers to decode the relevant API documentation and build the data highways needed to connect internal applications and bridge the gap between internal and external data sources. These technological and resource-intensive barriers have dropped dramatically, however, with API-first approaches being harnessed by leading legal data providers.
Maximizing Law Firm Profitability
Some of the more forward-thinking, data-centric Am Law 100 firms are using APIs right now to help maximize their profitability. That is a marked change from the past.
A few years ago, when I was in an outside counsel management role at a large financial institution, a relationship partner at an Am Law 100 firm bluntly emailed me asking what other litigation work in different practice areas they could take on, without having done any research or considering the particular challenges we were facing as an organization. Fast forwarding to today, that same relationship partner could have known the answer by utilizing some baseline legal analytics available from APIs. Before sending his email, he could have easily gathered the information he needed on an important client:
- What’s their breakdown of litigation by practice area and jurisdiction?
- What are the trends connected to their litigation volumes over time? Are some areas seeing expansion or contraction?
- What other law firms are being hired, and what percentage of work are they receiving by practice area and jurisdiction?
- What percentage of that work is being sent to the relationship partner’s firm, and is the total share of wallet increasing or decreasing year over year?
With this information in hand, the relationship partner would have been much more likely to start a productive conversation. But even better for the firm would have been if the partner was able to know not only what other work is available, but also what other profitable work is available?
You can read the full article here on Legaltech News.
Want to learn more about how Am Law 100 firms are using the UniCourt Enterprise API for maximizing their profitability and reducing revenue leakage?
Speak with an API expert and get started today.