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Legal AI race draws more investors as law firms line up

  • May 31, 2023

With more and more lawyers at major law firms using fast-advancing generative artificial intelligence tools, legal AI startup Harvey said Wednesday that it raised $21 million in fresh investor cash.

Sequoia Capital, which is leading the Series A fundraising round, said more than 15,000 law firms are on a waiting list to start using Harvey. OpenAI Startup Fund, Conviction, SV Angel and Elad Gil also participated in the funding round, Harvey said.

Harvey, founded in 2022 and built on OpenAI’s large language model GPT-4, raised $5 million in a round led by the OpenAI Startup Fund last year. The company says it builds custom large language models for law firms.

Technology companies and investors have rushed to embrace large language model-based generative AI since Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT debuted in November. The models are trained on large, customizable data sets to produce text or other outputs that can closely mimic human creativity and analysis. Researchers used GPT-4 to pass the bar exam last month.

Global law firm Allen & Overy said in February that 3,500 lawyers and staff would use Harvey to automate some document drafting and research.

In March, accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers said it would give 4,000 legal professionals access to the platform.

Harvey co-founder Gabriel Pereyra and representatives for Sequoia did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Several other major firms have signed deals to adopt new AI products just in the past few months — a remarkable pace for a profession that was slow to abandon the fax machine.

“This is an arms race, and you don’t want to be the last law firm with these tools,” Daniel Tobey, chair of DLA Piper’s AI practice, said of AI products. “It’s very easy to become a dinosaur these days.”

DLA Piper is one of several large firms

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