Published: 08th August 2020
This start-up's AI-powered software can find that elusive legal document that's 'lost' in India's judicial system
Anubhav Mishra started working on this idea when he was studying at VIT. Now, he is based out of New Delhi and is making sure that what they are doing is first of its kind in India
As of November 2019, there are over 3.5 crore cases pending across courts in India, as admitted by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Now, if that number boggles your mind, imagine the amount of documentation each case requires. No, we don't have an estimate for that, but the numbers would surely be high enough to dumbfound us a hundred times over. But it was in this colossal challenge that Anubhav Mishra saw an opportunity. It was serendipity, really, as there is no other way to describe how the 23-year-old chanced upon this challenge.
Just getting started
By winning Finnovatica (an initiative of Fullerton India to hunt for FinTech enthusiasts) in 2018 and 2019, Anubhav Mishra had really sharpened his Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytical skills. He and his friends at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) would use these skills to solve small-time problems for companies as well. That's when their college's Legal Advisor approached them with a problem statement, 'Too many documents, too little time'. And as soon as Anubhav realised that this problem statement is actually the woe of the whole Indian legal system, leave alone lawyers, law firms and so on, he saw what a large-scale problem this actually is. He directed all the cash prizes they had won towards establishing LegalMind in his fourth year of college, that is, August 2018.
The team | (Pic: LegalMind)
"The idea stemmed from the thought that the courts put up so many documents online that it is hard to search for a policy maker, researcher, lawyer or even a news agency, to search for something specific. True, there are about 500-600 government websites and all information has been digitised, but it is also fragmented. If you want to search for a particular ordinance, bill, gazette or a report, you will have to wade through many files before you get to it," says the Varanasi-born. Okay, this is a serious problem. So what was the solution they are offering? A knowledge management system that works on contextual search. For example, if you search for documents related to minority affairs, the search engine is smart enough to pull up files related to the topic as well, such as tribal reports and so on. Impressed with their idea, India's first LegalTech incubator Prarambh, which is an initiative of the law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, took them on board and as a result, the start-up took off to New Delhi and are now based out of there.
Arpit Jain, Harsh Vardhan and Neelabh Pandey are there team members
With the power of AI
Based on what LegalMind had in hand, they founded Lextracts. This AI and analytics-powered algorithm summarises all legal judgments. Just imagine! This is what it can do now, the team is also working on a way the algorithm will also identify trends and patterns, Litigation Analytics. "The first question every client asks a lawyer is, 'How much time will it take for my case to be resolved?' No lawyer has the exact answer and if they do, they speak from experience. Our algorithm will be able to identify the trends like how long will it take a particular type of case to be solved, how much will they be fined and so on," explains the youngster and adds that they are currently beta testing this.
Anubhav Mishra | (Pic: Legalmind)
Cycling back to Lextracts, it was last year in May that the team started working on it. They took 10 different judgments and with the help of law students, understood highlights, learnt what is an argument and what is a fact and other legal nitty-gritties and developed a deep-learning algorithm around it which today, knows how to summarise legal judgments and launched it in February this year. It has a 95 to 98 per cent accuracy rate and it has been used by about 100 people till date. They also have a portal specifically dedicated to Tier II and Tier III cities that democratises legal information.
But the million dollar question really is, how did a chemical engineer develop an interest in the legal side of things? Anubhav laughs heartily before answering, "It was AI that I was obsessed with actually, it was an extracurricular skill that turned into a hobby and now, it's a passion."
To know more about them, check out legalmind.tech