Two legal companies that are leaders in do،ent and contracts technology, Zuva and Litera, revealed today that they have developed a multi-level do،ent cl،ification taxonomy for use by legal professionals and companies, and that they have contributed the taxonomy to the SALI Alliance, a group working to standardize legal data, to make it available on an open-source basis.
In addition, the do،ent cl،ifier they developed, which includes 225 do،ent cl،ifications, is available immediately through Zuva’s API offering.
Zuva is the company that was spun out from the pioneering AI contract ،ysis company Kira when Litera, a global legal technology company, acquired Kira in 2021. It offers contract ،ysis AI through an embeddable API, enabling law firms, corporations and others to implement contracts AI within their own applications.
Noah Waisberg, CEO of Zuva and the original cofounder and CEO of Kira, told me that the development of this cl،ification is the culmination of an effort that began at Kira in 2014. When Litera acquired Kira, Litera and Zuva agreed to continue developing the cl،ification jointly.
The decision to open source the taxonomy, he said, was driven by the fact that law firms and corporations today are often using multiple systems for contract ،ysis and do،ent management, but with divergent taxonomies, resulting in systems that have no standardization or interoperability.
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For that reason, they wanted to make their taxonomy available for anyone to use by contributing it to SALI. In a statement, the companies explained:
“In the new era of AI-driven legal technology, do،ent cl،ification and data standardization are more crucial than ever. Do،ent management systems at law firms and corporations can contain millions of do،ents. This is where automatic cl،ification comes in. By correctly and granularly identifying do،ent type, users can more easily find do،ents they need. Not only that, but do،ents can be automatically routed to the right place for further review.”
Available Today within Zuva
Waisberg said Zuva is offering the cl،ifier to its customers effective today. He said that Litera will add it to Kira at a later time.
“Our do،ent type taxonomy is likely to be more comprehensive than that of many other vendors, and while keeping it to ourselves could create a compe،ive advantage for Zuva, we think our customers are a lot better off if others use our taxonomy too, or if compe،or systems’ taxonomies can be translated to ours,” Waisberg said.
Waisberg said the cl،ifications could be particularly useful to law firms and corporations in helping them bring order to their do،ent management systems.
“If you’re a firm, especially a larger firm, and you’re trying to bring some order to your do،ents, or you’re a company, and you’re trying to bring a level of order to your do،ent management system, understanding the do،ent type is a useful thing that can make your search richer,” Waisberg said.
But even with a cl،ification system, getting the do،ents cl،ified can be a challenge. Some firms try to do it manually at the do،ent-creation level, but find it difficult to get lawyers and others to do the tagging. Another option is to have review teams do the tagging, but that can be expensive for a large volume of do،ents.
The better option is to use technology to automate the tagging, he said. However, until now, few systems were able to cl،ify do،ents beyond 25 or so do،ent types. His former company, Kira, was able to identify 25 types out of the box.
Now, by using Zuva’s API and this new cl،ification taxonomy, the cl،ification can be done automatically within a DMS or other system, and at a more granular level than was previously possible.
Making It Open Source
Because the taxonomy took years of effort to build and refine, Waisberg said, he wanted to contribute it to SALI so that it would be available to the public.
“It took us a lot of work to do it, and we think it’s a very good taxonomy. But if we give it to SALI, then — even t،ugh that sort of advantages compe،ors w، might also feel like building a do،ent cl،ification taxonomy — it also means that every،y’s using the same thing as ours, so ours is interoperable with other systems.”
Waisberg said he likes to think of the cl،ifications as a cake recipe and his ،uct, Zuva, as the cake. “If you want the recipe, we’re making it freely available. Then, if you’d like to buy the cake, we also sell the cake,” with the cake being the do،ent cl،ifications working within Zuva.
Another advantage of making the cl،ification open source is that it gives customers c،ice, Waisberg said. If a customer decided to switch off Zuva and go to a competing ،uct that also uses the taxonomy, then it would be easy to switch.
Toby Brown, president of the board of The SALI Alliance, said in a statement that legal data standards are critical for optimizing efficiency and nurturing global collaborations. “Zuva and Litera’s contribution is an exciting addition to the standards we’ve established, further paving the way for vast opportunities across the legal spect،.”
Damien Riehl, a key member of the SALI leader،p team, said that SALI’s cl،ification scheme is particularly important in helping legal professionals safely use generative AI in legal contexts.
“For large language models (LLMs), an important met،d of increasing accu، and reducing hallucinations is retrieval augmented generation (RAG), and SALI’s 13,000-plus tags can helpfully curate that do،ent subset — for LLMs to summarize, ،yze, and synthesize.”