Introducing Harvey AI: The Future of AI in the Legal Profession?

Written by 4 minutes well spent
Download This Article as a PDF
Loading ...
Legaltech News - Harvey AI

Have you met Harvey (AI)?

Every week, another AI tool seems poised to take the legal profession by storm—Harvey AI, described as “unprecedented legal AI”, is yet another exciting offering in law firm AI.

And, with a recent investment from Open.AI, the creator of ChatGPT, many are wondering what this technology means for the future of law.

Harvey AI is still in beta, and time will truly tell what this technology’s impact on the legal industry will be. However, for now, we’ll cover what we know about Harvey AI—and how legal professionals can responsibly explore this new offering.

Harvey AI is already available to UK law firms, as evidenced by Allen & Overy, a major UK law firm, adopting the AI tool in February 2023.

Be sure to read our comprehensive guide on AI for lawyers.

What does Harvey AI do?

Amongst all these exciting developments, you might be wondering: what does Harvey AI do?

Like ChatGPT, Harvey AI is built on a version of Open.AI’s GPT AI. Unlike ChatGPT, Harvey AI supports legal work. How? Starting with general internet data from the GPT model, Harvey AI was further trained with general legal data (including case law and reference materials). When engaged by a firm, Harvey AI is then trained by the firm’s own work products and templates (much like a new employee’s onboarding when joining a law firm!). The right prompts go a long way when it comes to the effectiveness of generative AI.

The Open.AI startup fund

In December 2022, Open.AI—an artificial intelligence research and development company creating “highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work”—announced the first four investments from its Open.AI Startup Fund.

The Open.AI Startup Fund intends to invest $100 million in small, early-stage AI startups “to help AI companies have a profound, positive impact on the world.”

Image of Open AI logo on a computer screen

Open.AI invests in Harvey AI

Harvey AI was among the Open.AI Startup Fund’s first four investments, receiving $5 million from the fund. While Harvey AI’s website provides minimal information about the product’s offerings, Open.AI describes “an intuitive interface for all legal workflows through powerful generative language models.” The program assists lawyers with research, drafting, analysis, and communication by harnessing AI capabilities.

In April of 2023, Harvey AI raised $21 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital, and in December 2023 they raised $80 million in Series B funding led by Elad Gil and Kleiner Perkins with participation from OpenAI Startup Fund and Sequoia, further bolstering their growth.

Harvey AI partners with a major law firm

In February 2023, Allen & Overy, one of the world’s largest law firms, announced its partnership with Harvey AI. Since November 2022, the London-based law firm reported that over 3,500 of their lawyers have already tested Harvey AI by asking 40,000 questions during their day-to-day work.

The results sound promising. As David Wakeling, the head of Allen & Overy’s Markets Innovation Group said: “…I have never seen anything like Harvey … Harvey can work in multiple languages and across diverse practice areas, delivering unprecedented efficiency and intelligence. In our trial, we saw some amazing results.”

While Allen & Overy is the first law firm to partner with Harvey AI, it won’t be the last. Harvey AI is working with other law firms to develop custom tools and, on March 15, 2023, PwC announced a strategic partnership with Harvey AI.

In addition to working with lawyers to help vet and improve the tool, Harvey AI is now looking to hire lawyers to join their team. These lawyers will not act as in-house lawyers for the startup; according to co-founder and CEO Winston Weinberg, they will be doing all sorts of different things in unique, interdisciplinary roles.

Legal professional using Harvey AI

How AI can help firms (and their clients)

The potential benefits of legal AI like Harvey are clear: using AI to assist with research, drafting, and other routine legal tasks could help save law firms time—and cut down on their clients’ bills.

Technology plays a critical part in law firm success. For example, as we noted in the 2022 Legal Trends Report, lawyers using cloud-based legal practice management software were more likely to report:

  • Greater satisfaction in their personal and professional lives
  • Better relationships with clients and colleagues
  • Good performance in their jobs

Likewise, clients benefit. The 2022 Legal Trends Report found that lawyers using cloud-based legal practice management software were more likely to have satisfied clients. Responsiveness is also a key factor for client satisfaction—they want answers, and they want them quickly.

These statistics suggest AI, like legal practice management software, offers benefits to modern law firms—by streamlining tasks and cutting down on response times, lawyers can minimise the time spent on routine tasks while providing a high level of service to clients.

Risks associated with artificial intelligence

Despite the excitement surrounding AI, we also know AI isn’t a complete replacement for a lawyer’s experience and wisdom. Harvey AI is still in beta. As we’ve previously mentioned, programs like ChatGPT have been known to provide incorrect information—to say nothing of the ethical considerations involved, along with security, client privacy, and privilege issues arising through transmitting sensitive information.

If you’re considering AI tools for your law firm, be sure to consult any SRA compliance considerations and vet prospective AI vendors carefully. Once you’ve settled on a particular tool, it’s essential to use AI responsibly.

Remember: AI is not a replacement for a solicitor’s experience and wisdom, and any responses and work products should be checked carefully.

Final notes on Harvey AI

It’s an exciting time to be a solicitor—with so many AI advancements standing ready to change how we work, the possibilities seem endless. On the flip side, with new options arising, it’s never been more crucial to think critically about embracing technology responsibly to amplify your impact.

Categorized in: Technology

The wait is over…gain an edge with the latest report.

Get the Report