Thomson Reuters unveils CoCounsel, leveraging generative AI for legal professionals

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Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information services for legal, tax, and accounting professionals, today announced the launch of CoCounsel, a groundbreaking AI-powered platform designed to revolutionize how lawyers research, analyze and draft legal documents. The company believes this technology is so powerful that it would be “almost malpractice for lawyers not to use it,” according to David Wong, Thomson Reuters Chief Product Officer, who remarked with a hint of jest at a recent press event in Downtown San Francisco.

CoCounsel, developed through the acquisition of legal AI startup Casetext, uses advanced generative AI models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 to understand and process Thomson Reuters’ vast proprietary content database. “What is unique about many of our solutions is that we have designed generative AI solutions that mimic workflows that professionals use,” explained Wong. “We try to mimic the way that a professional does work, such that we can test and authenticate that the work product is equivalent to what you’d expect a human to do.”

Thomson Reuters’ new CoCounsel platform integrates essential legal tasks like research and document analysis with the company’s extensive proprietary data, industry-leading AI, and third-party integrations to provide a comprehensive generative AI legal assistant. Credit: Thomson Reuters

Grounding AI reasoning in reliable data

Jake Heller, former Casetext CEO and now Head of Product for CoCounsel, emphasized the importance of grounding the AI’s reasoning in reliable data. “CoCounsel leverages GPT-4 and all of the incredible reasoning capabilities of GPT-4, but it limits almost all of this reasoning to the domain of knowledge which we provide,” said Heller. “We are taking the incredibly smart and incredibly capable reasoning engine from OpenAI with GPT-4, but we’re focusing in on the knowledge and data, which we provide it for when it is doing legal research.”

This approach ensures that CoCounsel’s outputs are not only accurate but also easily verifiable by legal professionals. By constraining the AI’s knowledge base to Thomson Reuters’ curated legal content, the company can provide a level of transparency and trustworthiness that is essential for the legal industry.

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Capitalizing on in-house expertise and exclusive data

Thomson Reuters benefits significantly from its internal resources and exclusive data collections. “Since 2018, our focus has been on serving professionals like lawyers, accountants and compliance officers,” Wong noted. He said the company employs over 2,400 legal and tax experts who consistently maintain and interpret the law, enriching Thomson Reuters’ content and analytical capabilities.

This combination of proprietary data and expert knowledge uniquely positions Thomson Reuters to tailor its AI models to meet the nuanced demands of the legal profession.

The introduction of CoCounsel could significantly streamline many routine yet time-intensive tasks that lawyers encounter. By automating processes such as case law research and document drafting, the platform promises to reduce the workload on legal practitioners, allowing them to concentrate on more strategic aspects of their roles and enhance client service.

CoCounsel, Thomson Reuters’ generative AI legal assistant, automates essential tasks like drafting merger agreements and conducting legal research by leveraging the company’s proprietary data and AI capabilities, as shown in this mockup of the platform in action. Credit: Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters’ CoCounsel marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of legal AI, as established information services giants begin to flex their muscles in this burgeoning space. By combining cutting-edge generative AI with their extensive proprietary data and in-house expertise, Thomson Reuters has set a high bar for what legal professionals can expect from AI-powered tools.

The launch of CoCounsel is likely to spark a new wave of competition and innovation in the legal AI market. As rivals scramble to match or surpass CoCounsel, we can anticipate a rapid acceleration in the development of sophisticated, domain-specific AI solutions tailored to the unique needs of legal professionals.

This intensified competition bodes well for lawyers and their clients, as the increased pressure to innovate will drive the creation of ever more powerful and efficient AI tools. With each new entrant to the market, the potential for AI to revolutionize legal work grows, promising to streamline time-consuming tasks, increase accuracy, and allow lawyers to focus on higher-value activities.

However, as the legal AI landscape evolves, concerns around security, privacy, and the ethical use of these technologies will only become more pressing. As AI takes on a greater role in sensitive legal matters, the need for robust safeguards and clear guidelines will be paramount. The success of legal AI will hinge not only on the power of the underlying technology but also on the ability of providers like Thomson Reuters to navigate these complex issues and maintain the trust of their clients.

In this rapidly shifting landscape, one thing is clear: the future of legal AI is rich with potential, and the launch of CoCounsel is just the beginning. As the technology continues to mature and the competitive landscape intensifies, we can expect to see a profound transformation in the way legal work is conducted. The question now is not whether AI will reshape the legal profession, but rather how quickly and dramatically this change will unfold.