Jurisage CEO Colin Lachance, who lives in Ottawa but attended law school at the University of Alberta, said AI is particularly beneficial for the legal sector because of the "sheer volume of legal information" and its complexity.
"The volume speaks to how AI can support professionals, and complexity goes to how AI can help the law become more accessible to the public at large," said Lachance, who has been working in legal information and publishing for more than a decade.
He told Taproot that the cross-country collaboration AltaML and Compass Law have set up is significant because of the opportunity available in legal innovation.
"AI isn't an exclusively a local development activity. It's a national capacity-building thing. And what I love about Edmonton specifically is that the AI talent level is as high ... as Montreal, Waterloo, Silicon Valley. It's world-class talent," Lachance said. Edmonton is also home to legal innovation startups like dealcloser and PainWorth.
The first product Jurisage plans to launch is called MyJr. The concept is based on how senior lawyers typically hand off work to junior lawyers to continue research, so the system will aim to provide information to lawyers when they need it.
"A court judgment might have 20 pages and 5,000 words and a dozen issues and a whole lot of other stuff. So we want to help the lawyer understand the contents of that case in 30 seconds to a minute rather than in 10 to 15 minutes," Lachance explained, adding that to do that, they're building a "knowledge graph" to understand how data relates to other data points.
Juliano Rabelo is AltaML's director of data science, and his expertise includes knowledge graphs, in addition to legal information extraction and entailment. As the technical expert on the project, Rabelo has studied techniques that can be applied to any kind of freeform text.
"Our first step is to develop MyJr, but the company has an overarching goal, which is to democratize access to justice. We are already discussing other ideas and what we could do next," Rabelo told Taproot. "The ultimate goal would be to be able to answer any legal question that someone would have."