Archive for March, 2018

Lawyaw uses AI to help lawyers draft documents faster

It’s no secret that much of the legal industry is build on reusable content. Most law firms have their own customized set of standard documents (like NDAs or Wills), but lawyers or associates still have to customize these documents by hand each time a client needs them drafted. Lawyaw, part of YC’s Winter ’18 class, is building software to automate this process by letting lawyers turn previously completed documents into smart templates. Here’s how it works: Lawyers can drag an already customized world document into Lawyaw’s platform and it will automatically use natural language processing to first figure out what sections need to be replaced, then actually fill in those sections with the correct personalized phrases and variables. For example, software will automatically detect and replace a client’s name, contact information, location, and even more complicated things like scope of engagement. If a variable isn’t automatically detected Lawyaw lets users manually select it, which the software will remember for future uses. Currently the platform only identifies about 50% of all variables in a document (up from 10% when it launched), but of those detected the accuracy rate for autofilling correct information is 99%. So essentially the algorithm is optimizing for quality over quantity right now, but that should equalize as the natural language processing gets better over time. Of course Lawyaw isn’t the only solution for automatically populating legal documents. But most other solutions use complex document customization that requires knowledge of conditionals, tags and syntax. Plus, the platform has a few other useful features like integrated e-signing and a directory of over 5,000 standard court forms that can be customized. Lawyaw charges each user $59 per month or $39 if paid annually. Interested users can just sign ups themselves instead of having to be subjected to firm-wide demos or annoying sales reps, both of which are still the status quo for legal software. So far over 1,000 law firms have signed up, with 900 lawyers actively drafting over 24,000 total documents to date.

Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities

Apple has proposed a number of emojis to the Unicode Consortium, the emoji gatekeeper of sorts, to better represent people with disabilities and depict accessibility-related tools like hearing aids, guide dogs and prosthetic limbs. That’s because Apple is unable to include these emojis in iOS and Mac OS until the Consortium adopts them. The proposed emojis depict people who experience blindness or low-vision, those who experience deafness or have trouble hearing, those with physical disabilities, as well as those with hidden disabilities like Autism, anxiety and PTSD. Here are the proposed emojis: “At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs,” the company wrote in a proposal to the Unicode Consortium. “Adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one’s own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one.” In order to develop these proposed emojis, Apple worked with the American Council of the Blind, Cerebral Palsy Foundation and National Association for the Deaf. What Apple put forward is not a comprehensive list of all the possible depictions of people with disabilities, the company noted in its proposal, but it could serve as a starting point. The next step is for the Unicode Technical Committee to meet up and vote on whether to approve these new emojis. That meeting happens next month. If approved, those characters would get shortlisted for Emoji 12.0, which is scheduled for a March 2019 release. If you want to hear more about what goes into emoji approval, be sure to check out this interview with Jeremy Burge, vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.