About the author

Betsi Roach

CLOC Executive Director

January SALI Update

By Betsi Roach

Reading Time: 2 minutes

SALI In Action at Fastcase/NextChapter 

Truth: Counting something enables its analysis (e.g., trends, pricing, workflow). If you’ve followed The SALI Alliance’s progress over the past several years, you’ll know that the Legal Matter Specification Standard’s (LMSS) data points — the items that SALI is counting — have increased by 6x: from ~1,500 legally specific items (January 2020) to 9,700+ items today. That’s a welcome development, since organizations can use the additional items to more-accurately price, budget, and analyze legal work with more granular detail. One challenge, of course, is quickly navigating SALI LMSS’s comprehensiveness. At least one SALI implementer has solved that problem — to the benefit of all SALI implementers. 

To build out LMSS, SALI and its members use Stanford’s WebProtege tool, which is free and open to the public. Browsing WebProtege is easy and intuitive, since users can quickly browse the hierarchy, drilling down to find desired items. 

Similarly, users are able to quickly find items through search.

Fastcase subsidiary NextChapter recently implemented LMSS 2.0 to give users additional flexibility while still adhering to SALI’s legal-data standard. NextChapter builds tools that streamline law firms’ workflows and routine tasks in various practice areas (e.g., Bankruptcy, Immigration). The LMSS provides a standard structure for documenting the key data points needed to assist in automated document creation.

Implementing the LMSS provides NextChapter users with those same benefits of WebProtege — and within the context of a legal-tech product’s actual, real-world interface. Users can browse the various LMSS items/hierarchies. 

Beyond browsing, users can also search the entire dataset of 9,700 items, filtering for the desired words and concepts. 

Lastly, the NextChapter system allows users to begin typing a field, and the system helpfully suggests matching standard LMSS field(s) — along with the description(s)  — so the user can choose a standardized field quickly.

This elegant solution solves a challenge that a SALI-implementing organization might have: user adoption. To guide users toward using standardized fields/tags, user interfaces should make it easier to pick the standardized field (desired behavior) than for the user to create their own non-standard field (discouraged/prohibited behavior). With the solution displayed above, the user simply starts typing what they think is their own non-standard field/tag (e.g., cash), and the system displays the standardized LMSS field/tag (e.g., cash), selecting it automatically. This will dramatically improve SALI adoption, and can result in reduced (or eliminated) cleanup of non-standard fields/tags. 

Significantly, Fastcase is also donating the codebase and implementation instructions to SALI and its members. In the words of the developer:

  1. It’s “easy” to implement
  2. Updating the system — as SALI LMSS versions update over the years — is also “easy” 

If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to contact Damien Riehl at <driehl@fastcase.com>.

HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT SALI?

We welcome your input and your involvement! The most complete, practical standard can only be realized by continued contributions and adoption from organizations throughout the legal industry, particularly legal operations professionals and in-house counsel teams.

A link to the standard, which anyone can use at no cost, can be found at SALI.org.

In addition, there are several active and pending conversations to join, including:

  • International working groups
  • Area of law working groups
  • Open forums for questions, feedback, and discussion among current and potential adopters

For more information on the standard, adoption, or getting involved, please contact Kelly Harbour at kharbour@goulstonstorrs.com or Jim Hannigan at jhannigan@coblentzlaw.com.