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Betsi Roach

CLOC Executive Director

November SALI Update

By Betsi Roach

Reading Time: 4 minutes


The SALI Alliance seeks to improve the legal industry by moving it towards standardizing how we describe legal work. We will simplify and improve the description of legal services by providing a common language represented in an open-source taxonomy. This will provide all players with greater transparency and increase the effectiveness of budgeting and resourcing. Providing a common language for the industry serves as the catalyst for better outcomes and value.

Our work is to produce a Legal Matter Standard Specification (LMSS) and gain adoption in the ecosystem. LMSS is, in essence, an extensive taxonomy, with almost 10,000 nodes. It is actually more than a taxonomy: it not only describes areas of law, services, industries, and player roles, but also captures the relationships among those. On November 16, the SALI Alliance held our third open community drop-in discussion with approximately 50 attendees from across the legal industry ecosystem. We started with an overview of LMSS 2.0, talked about implementation, and answered questions received both during the discussion and submitted ahead of time. A summary of the meeting is below.


Consider officially joining us as a member. Membership provides many benefits, including directly shaping the s

For those still unfamiliar with the scope of what is included in LMSS 2.0, we encourage you to watch a short video on the SALI Alliance home page. In broad strokes, LMSS 2.0 includes:

• A deep dive into litigation: causes of action, document types, phases, and more. This permits robust definition and categorization of a wide variety of key aspects of disputes.
• Engagement terms: defining a matter’s business arrangement such as fee structure and scope.
• Events: key milestones in a matter.
• Courts: hundreds of additional new state court codes.
• Areas of law: additions and adjustments specific to Canada, proposed by the Canada working group.
• Standard mapping: mapping to existing standards including UTBMS and PACER nature of suit codes.
• Unique IRIs: enable organizations to use the codes as “tags” and will facilitate easier implementation between all organizations – clients, legal service providers, and technology companies/ vendors.

The slides shared during the meeting can be accessed here. We expect to publish LMSS 2.0 around year-end or early 2022.

For more information or to receive communications from the SALI Alliance, email info@sali.org.


• The nodes/ fields most effective to identify “like” matters for pricing, project management, and budgets will vary based on the drivers of those things for a given matter type. The basic building blocks of the LMSS are services, areas of law, parties – both roles and industries, and location/ jurisdiction. LMSS 2.0 builds on these foundational elements and will give organizations an even greater ability to analyze their data.
• We will continue to add Areas of Law, Document Types, and other attributes as more firms review and adopt the standard. The member community and the board will determine which additions or changes are added to the standard in a future release. Current members such as Goulston & Storrs have contributed additions that are already implemented in the LMSS.
• M&A will likely be the next area of focus for a deep dive generally (as Litigation was for 2.0).
• Anyone can review and explore the standard, including the pending release of 2.0; membership is not required. To get access to the standard, create an account at webprotege.stanford.edu, create a user name, and email it to jhannigan@coblentzlaw.com. Jim will grant you access.
• LMSS 2.0 is deep on the patent litigation side; patent prosecution will follow. LEDES is overhauling the patent prosecution set, and once that is close to final, it will be integrated into the LMSS.

• The SALI Alliance is currently working with a group of UK and German law firms – some of the largest in the world – and they are finding that the LMSS works well. We have been working with a group from Canada and are releasing several new and adjusted areas of law for that country specifically.
• The SALI Alliance is also planning for multiple language ‘labels’ for a single IRI/ code, and in some instances, different terminology for the same concept such as a ‘hotel’ and ‘public house’ are linked in the standard today.
• Restructuring codes are aligned with US law today, but a global bankruptcy working group is being formed. Reach out to info@sali.org if you’re interested in participating.

Technical Implementation
• Intapp is working on classifying narratives from timecards into phases and tasks using AI. There are challenges because of the limited text without context within an individual timecard. When looking at an individual timecard, the accuracy of even manual classification is about 75-80%; using AI, Intapp is at approximately 70-75%. That being said, classification of effort by phase and task is reliable when looking at aggregated timecard data across the life of the matter. The key question for organizations looking to leverage AI to classify timecards is, what are you coding it to, and why?
• There is an API group in place with a draft spec in circulation. The spec can be shared with interested parties. Email Jim Hannigan at jhannigan@coblentzlaw.com.
• While 1.0 included a human-readable identifier (e.g., “CORP” for “Corporate Law”), 2.0 includes a machine-readable IRI (http://lmss.sali.org/RF0Bb0267149dFC8b5e349a1). The legacy human-readable identifiers are mapped to the new IRIs for those looking to move from 1.0 to 2.0.
• LMSS 2.0 uses graph database technology to map complex many-to-many relationships between data elements. For legacy applications that require traditionally structured or “flattened” data, consider adopting 1.0 as a starting point. And, talk to your tech company vendors about the future roadmap. Many are members and / or are exploring how to be SALI compliant out of the box.
• Implementation need not (and likely will not!) encompass all of 1.0 or 2.0 – take what you need. To use just one code, correctly identified, is to be SALI compliant.

• The industry codes in LMSS 1.0 are currently based on NAICS codes. We have received feedback that some firms and organizations use SIC codes. We polled the attendees today and found that 40% are using NAICS, 23% are using SIC codes, and 20% are using both. The SALI Alliance is contemplating further industry mapping possibilities for versions beyond 2.0.


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 Mark Medice at mmedice@lawvision.com.