My AI Lawyer – Microsoft winner

ai lawyer
03 Jul 2024

Our tech partner for My AI Lawyer, Legal Interact, has been recognised as a global leader by Microsoft for their role in bridging justice gaps in South Africa.

With Azure, Legal Interact democratises access to legal services

Microsoft partner Legal Interact is working to bridge justice gaps in South Africa with their unique solution, My AI Lawyer.

For most people, having to secure the services of a lawyer is a daunting task – no matter the reason. Between the uncertainty of the initial search, high-priced services, and understanding the ins and outs of the legal system, it may be a challenging journey. But for those in marginalised communities, it could prove to be insurmountable.

In South Africa, where women and children face a high risk of abuse, legal services are indispensable – yet they remain widely inaccessible to the most vulnerable. That’s why Microsoft partner Legal Interact winner of the 2024 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for Inclusion Changemaker in the Social Impact category, set out to create a solution that could break down barriers to legal help and empower South Africans with vital knowledge and resources.

The South African company not only developed that solution, dubbed My AI Lawyer, they introduced it as a national gift on Human Rights Day last year. It cemented their organisation as a champion for vulnerable communities and provided a shining example of how technology can be used for good.

With time, comes trust

Legal Interact has been building solutions for the legal community since 1982. With more than 80 professionals across specialist areas, the company develops solutions that support lawyers, legal teams, and operational professionals dealing with contract management.

Legal Interact also has a long history of working specifically with Microsoft technology – starting in the early 1990s. “Our legal accounting solutions from that era still support law firms in Southern Africa. With the advent of cloud technology, we transitioned from C++ to .NET and Azure, enhancing our offerings,” said Raphael Segal, Director of Legal Interact. “Our success is significantly attributed to our partnership with Microsoft South Africa. Their technical and personal support has provided us with ‘light bulb moments’ as we work towards democratising access to justice. Their confidence in us has been instrumental in driving our mission forward.”

Though Legal Interact is dedicated to building and delivering technological solutions for legal teams, they’re driven by something much bigger than that: making the legal system more accessible and equitable for all. Together with Legal&Tax, Legal Interact developed My AI Lawyer – a chat bot designed to meet people where they are and democratise access to legal services.

“We are driven by our unwavering commitment to ensure that every person in South Africa has access to justice,” says Benjy Porter, CEO, Legal&Tax.

“With My AI Lawyer, we accelerate access to legal services, providing digital assistance when you want it and human support when you need it, and ensuring instant, accurate, and up-to-date legal advice is always within reach, anywhere, anytime.”

In a society where equitable legal support comes at a price most can’t afford, My AI Lawyer isn’t just an innovative new tool – it’s a bridge to justice for the people who need it most.

Working toward legal empowerment

Throughout development, Legal Interact kept inclusivity at the heart of the process, prioritising the user experience at every stage. While my AI Lawyer started as a web platform, Legal Interact moved the product’s primary interface to WhatsApp – where 94% of South Africa’s 48.4 million internet users communicate daily – so they could reach and impact the greatest number of people.

Built with Microsoft Azure, generative AI, and conversational AI, the solution provides citizens with legal information and advice in real time. Users can ask My AI Lawyer up to four questions for free, with a subsequent subscription of USD2.50 monthly to keep the service low-cost and sustainable.

Equally important, it’s reliable. My AI Lawyer’s content is curated by qualified Legal&Tax lawyers with expertise in various fields, and the AI is trained within the context of the South African legal system. With a collection of accurate, up-to-date responses, citizens can confidently navigate matters like labour, family law, civil disputes, and criminal justice. “The legal professionals identify pertinent acts, regulations, templates, and case law, and determine how these elements should be integrated within the context of the everyday South African citizen,” explained Segal.

But if they need further guidance for more complex legal issues, the solution can easily connect people to real, human lawyers. As Segal likes to say, My AI Lawyer is digital when you want it and human when you need it. “The AI lawyer is more than just an innovation; it embodies our dedication to providing South Africans with accessible, affordable, and efficient legal services, thus generating greater access to justice,” Segal said. “Our blend of digital and human support ensures that our users are never left without assistance.”

Bridging the gap to justice for all

Since the solution launched, legal queries resolved through My AI Lawyer received a 70% satisfaction rating. And while My AI Lawyer can give citizens instant legal guidance, it also empowers them to build their legal awareness and knowledge along the way.

My AI Lawyer’s cloud-based architecture and flexible AI framework allow for both customisation and expansion – and the potential to deliver legal advisory services on a global scale. Looking ahead, Legal Interact plans to keep building out My AI Lawyer to:

  • Expand content and resources, including legal collateral and standard letters in multiple languages for a diverse user base.
  • Localise for varied African markets, tailoring to different legal systems and languages for global accessibility.
  • Improve the accuracy of the AI for handling complex legal scenarios.
  • Enhance accessibility features for users with visual or hearing impairments.
  • Integrate into telecommunication and employee health platforms.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft has been pivotal in realising our vision,” says Segal.

“By leveraging cutting-edge technology, we are not just providing legal services but also ensuring these services are secure, accessible, and beneficial for all. My AI Lawyer represents a significant step towards a future where legal aid is a right, not a privilege.”

Article sourced from Legal&Tax.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Darren Cohen

Darren Cohen is a General Manager at Legal&Tax. Read more about Darren Cohen

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