Wendell Jisa, CEO of Reveal, and Jay Leib, executive vice president of Reveal, discuss a new technology-enabled legal service, Aiscension, that’s aimed at discovering business risks posed by cartels.
CCBJ: Together, Reveal and DLA Piper have announced the launch of Aiscension. Tell us about how this collaboration came together, and what you’re striving to achieve.
Wendell Jisa: Reveal is a cloud-based e-discovery provider. We started working with DLA Piper on the launch of Aiscension about 30 months ago. The idea was to bring the resources from the legal experts at DLA Piper, which is a top global law firm, together with the data science team at Reveal – to have them collaborate on a joint venture. It has been a really exciting opportunity. What we’re striving to achieve is to bring more automation to the practice of law, and to allow Aiscension customers and DLA clients to be able to use this technology to get answers from their data faster.
How does Aiscension work?
Jisa: Aiscension is a technology-enabled service, powered by this spinoff company, Aiscension, which is a subsidiary of DLA Piper as part of Aldersgate Holding Company. DLA and Aldersgate have really been investing in technology and business platforms that are going to revolutionize their business model, and Aiscension is one of those subsidiaries.
Jay Leib: Right, that’s a great overview. More specifically, Aiscension is a technology-enabled cartel risk-management service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help detect risks in a business. DLA Piper Global supplies the legal talent, the domain expertise, the business development and the client development. And DLA is going out to its clients, particularly those in areas of industries that have risks around cartels, and they’re saying, “Look, if a cartel-related event were to take place, you could be on the cover of The Wall Street Journal, the regulatory fines would be enormous – they could be up to 10 percent of your worldwide revenue, right? Instead of waiting for that to occur, why don’t we go ahead and analyze your data proactively and see what the risk is? You can do it as a one-off, once per year, like a medical exam, or you can do it quarterly, as a subscription.”
Aiscension is going to analyze the data using Reveal’s AI technology, which we developed in collaboration with Aiscension, and it’s going to be able to look through all of a company’s electronic communications, documents, everything that is of particular interest. It’s going to analyze all of that data and say, “These documents, these communications, are of high signal to this issue.” Then the legal talent from Aiscension, which is the DLA talent, is going to go ahead and check those documents to see if there truly is an issue there.
Basically, the algorithms that we’ve developed are going to go ahead and analyze this data, and say, you know, “Out of all the data, here are the five, 10, or 20,000 documents – whatever the case is – that have some signal of risk. We’re going to use our legal expertise to analyze them and see if there truly is risk there, or if there’s actually nothing to worry about.” If they don’t find anything, they’ll move on. If they find something, then they’ll go ahead and jump-start a true investigation, which could save the company millions, maybe even billions of dollars, depending on how large the fines could be.
Generally speaking, legal professionals are using technology and data more and more. Describe the relationship between the legal professionals and data scientists that help fuel the Aiscension platform.
Jisa: Our vision, and my personal initiative, is to allow the smartest legal minds in the world – the folks at DLA Piper and, by extension, Aiscension – to collaborate with the smartest minds in data science in the legal technology space, which we believe we have at Reveal. We’re putting these two groups together, both of whom who are experts in their areas of expertise. By collaborating, we will create something new that will do two things. One, we’ll bring automation to the practice of law, or help facilitate it. And two, we’ll introduce a new way to commercialize legal expertise. That’s what, for me, from an entrepreneurial perspective, is so powerful. The volume of data is growing. We need to get answers faster, but we also need to figure out a better way of charging for this. I believe that Aiscension has figured that out.
Leib: Those are all really good points. I’ll just add a couple of things. One is that we don’t believe in AI for AI’s sake. We believe in utilizing – with our talent and our technology and our expertise at Reveal – AI to solve problems. We wake up every day focusing on the area of e-discovery and investigations, and all of the things around that legal vertical. The AI doesn’t know anything about the law. It doesn’t know anything about signals of cartels. That’s where the partnership comes in. We’re the recipe that includes the legal experts, the expertise, the domain knowledge of DLA Piper, along with Aiscension, the technology platform, that we’ve spent millions of dollars building out in R&D, and our data science team, which has the expertise on how to optimize AI models, how to help dissect problems that are presented by the legal experts, and how to translate all that into a system that can be utilized by legal experts who may not have training in computer science. Our team does that work. Our team is able to optimize for that – to let them do what they do best, which is legal review and analysis.
What types of organizations should be considering adopting Aiscension?
Leib: To begin with, Aiscension is focusing on detecting cartels, and cartels can really hit a variety of different industries. Consumers are being impacted, industries are being compromised by these groups. As I mentioned, the worldwide fines for something like that could be 10 percent of revenue, which just an enormous amount of money. The reason detecting cartel activity works so well with this kind of technology-enabled service, which features AI combined with legal expertise, is that the faster you can find the issue, the faster you can work with the regulators and the government agencies, the more opportunity there is for a company to remediate these problems. It’s an extremely time-sensitive and expensive proposition if your company gets caught up in this kind of situation.
Jisa: Just to add to that, with regards to the cartel model that we’ve developed for Aiscension, I have to say that CCBJ readers, those in corporate legal departments, are some of the most opportunistic targets – they have the most issues with this, as do governments, right? Governments around the world need to get these answers more quickly, in order to save time. It’s critical for them. What’s unique about this is that Aiscension will be selling this cartel model to its custom-ers, and we’ll also be able to leverage Reveal’s team as well, to go out there and deliver that to our customers as well.
Leib: Absolutely, that’s a great point. Whenever we read an article in the paper about this kind of thing, people always say, “Well, didn’t the CEO know about this? Didn’t the general counsel know about this?” Well, it’s impossible for CEOs and general counsel to know about everything at scale, right? So finally, there is this tool and service that the board of directors, the CEO, the general counsel, can all utilize to get that health test, because who wants to wake up to a knock on the door from a government agency? That’s the kind of thing that keeps people up at night. This gives them peace of mind.
Jisa: Right. The fact that you have married DLA Piper and Reveal to create this service offered by Aiscension, it accelerates access for all of these corporate legal departments. Hopefully, Aiscension is going to be taking a lot of inbound calls and requests to better understand the service that it is providing, because it is a real problem solver. And it’s a way for companies to be proactive, rather than reactive, when things happen.