This post is NOT about Generative AI
This post is NOT about Generative AI

This post is NOT about Generative AI

[Contributors:] Kevin Clem and Rudy DeFelice

Based on our recent experience on “the socials,” this may be the only post to make that claim. Everyone is enthusiastic about the potential of Generative AI (GenAI). We are, too. But the question this post raises is, upon what foundation will the 1,000-story skyscraper that GenAI may one day embody be built?

GenAI, regular AI—and the whole universe of digital transformation technologies, for that matter—share something in common. They depend upon an information environment that permits seamless interaction between users and systems, enables data mobility, and provides adequate security. We have found that creating that foundation is an essential prerequisite to enjoying the magic promised by the burgeoning AI universe.

Creating the foundation for digital transformation

We first fell in love with TAP by Mitratech as customers of the product. It got our people out of email and spreadsheets and retired the sneaker-net for managing the many business processes all companies utilize. This was way before GenAI had arrived on the scene. We got good at building workflow automation on TAP and navigating the many systems it made more agile in corporate law departments.

It turns out that this work was a fortunate investment, though somewhat accidental. TAP is one of the platforms that will play a critical role in enabling organizations to take advantage of AI in all its forms. As the foundation for a digital transformation journey—meaning as the bridge between analog and digitally oriented environments—TAP and similar platforms provide the underpinning upon which visionary solutions will rest. By providing the mechanism for digital processes, the infrastructure for ingesting and managing data at user touch points, and the cultural framework for digitally enabled organizations, TAP helps create environments that can support practical AI applications, whatever those might be.

AI in action

In support of the relationship between AI and an adequate foundation, consider what are frequently called “legal front door” solutions. Historically, requests for legal intervention—contract creation, legal advice, approvals, etc.—came in various forms at the law department and from all directions. Naturally, this led to the predictable problems of inadequate triage, missing critical information about the need, mismatches between problem and expertise, chaos for in-house lawyers, and a perception that the law department presented more of a barrier than a solution. In other words, a perfect storm for dissatisfaction on both sides of the conversation. 

The legal front door, an automated workflow frequently built on TAP or other workflow solutions, brought discipline and data to the interaction. By providing a centralized method for ingesting requests that could assign tasks rationally, track their progression, and learn from each interaction, legal requests moved from a chaotic, interruption-oriented process to a streamlined digital process—all while collecting data about the who, what, and where of each legal request. 

It’s easy to posit that GenAI, likely in the form of some ChatGPT-like bot, could add something to this environment. However, it should be recognized that without centralized ingestion of requests, routing and triage, and tracking, a bot’s basic question-and-answer routine, which may occasionally provide value to an individual transaction, will not provide institutional value.   

First things first

The AI system is not tracking and learning, identifying choke points, or providing direction for enhancement. Moreover, without the data captured through legal front door solutions, the AI will not grow in line with organizational needs or deliver results based on organizational standards. AI solutions need the solid foundation of a digitally mature workflow process to optimize AI’s value or, more importantly, to generate answers upon which users can rely. The organization, for its part, benefits from a digitally oriented foundation immediately, even before the AI is mature enough to be relied upon. Therefore, it is a best practice to consider the foundation before the magic promised by AI. 

The promise and potential of generative AI is significant and should not be ignored. However, in the current legal operations context where doing more with less is paramount, we recommend first automating foundational operational processes. Adopting workflows without the necessary automation would be like focusing on the sweet dessert of GenAI without first consuming a balanced diet of automation as the critical entrée. 

We look forward to participating in the evolution of legal technology to unlock the true potential of running legal like a business. 


Rudy DeFelice – CEO, KP Labs

Rudy DeFelice is a co-founder and CEO of KP Labs, which provides services and proprietary tech that fill the gap between products and user value, with a focus on workflow automation, AI assisted contract intelligence, analytics, and solving hard problems. A regular speaker at national technology conferences, Rudy is an early pioneer in legal technology and has been involved in innovation in the legal space for 20 years.

Kevin Clem – Chief Growth Officer, Harbor

Kevin Clem serves as Chief Growth Officer, leading the go-to-market organization – client engagement, client operations and client success teams – to maximize the value of the client experience, develop new client relationships, and fuel business growth. With over 20 years of consulting experience, Kevin has served as a trusted advisor to law departments and law firms, focusing on improving operational efficiency and optimizing legal operations.

About Harbor 

Harbor is the preeminent provider of expert services across strategy, legal technology, operations, and intelligence.

Our globally integrated team of 650+ strategists, technologists, and specialists navigates alongside our clients – leading law firms, corporations, and their law departments – to provide essential resources and invaluable insights.

Anchored in a rich heritage of deep knowledge, steadfast relationships, and mutual respect, our unwavering dedication lies in shaping the future of the legal industry, and fostering enduring partnerships within our community and ecosystem.    

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