Harvey, a startup building what it describes as a “co-pilot for lawyers,” today emerged from incognito with $5 million in funding led by the OpenAI Startup Fund, the tranche through which OpenAI and its partners invest in early-stage AI companies to tackle key problems. Also on the tour was Jeff Dean, Head of Google AI, Google’s artificial intelligence research division. and Mixer Labs co-founder Elad Gil are among the other angelic backers.
It was founded by Harvey Winston Weinberg, a former securities and antitrust attorney at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, formerly a research scientist at DeepMind, Google Brain (another of Google’s AI groups), and Meta. AI. Weinberg and Pereyra are roommates – Pereyra showed Weinberg OpenAI’s GPT-3 text generation system and Weinberg realized it could be used to improve legal workflows.
“Our product provides lawyers with a natural language interface to their existing legal workflow,” Pereira told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Rather than manually editing legal documents or conducting legal research, Harvey allows attorneys to describe the task they want to accomplish in simple instructions and get the resulting result. To enable this, Harvey makes use of big language models to understand users’ intentions and generate the right output.”
More specifically, Harvey can answer posed questions with natural language such as “Tell me what the differences are between an employee and an independent contractor in the Fourth Circuit” and “Tell me if this clause in the lease violates California law, and if so, rewrite it so that it doesn’t is contrary.” On first reading, it seems as though Harvey could take the place of lawyers, generating legal arguments and submitting drafts at a moment’s notice. But Pereira insists that is not the case.
“We want Harvey to act as an intermediary between the technology and the lawyer, as a natural language interface to the law,” he said. “Harvey will make lawyers more efficient, allowing them to produce higher quality work and spend more time on the high-value parts of their jobs. Harvey provides a unified and intuitive interface for all legal workflows, allowing lawyers to describe tasks in plain English rather than using a bunch of Complex and specialized tools for specialized tasks.”
It’s solid stuff in theory. But it’s also risky. Given the highly sensitive nature of most legal disputes, lawyers and law firms may be reluctant to give a tool like Harvey access to any case documents. There is also the matter of the tendency of language models to speak Poisoning And the made up factswhich would be badly received—if not perjured—in court.
This is why Harvey’s, which is currently in beta, has a disclaimer attached to it: The tool is not intended to provide legal advice to non-attorneys and should be used under the supervision of licensed attorneys.
On the issue of data privacy, Pereira says Harvey goes to great lengths to meet customers’ compliance needs, anonymizing user data and deleting data after a predetermined period of time. Users can delete data at any time upon request, he says, taking comfort in the fact that Harvey doesn’t “transfer” data between clients.
It’s early days. But already, Pereira says, Harvey is being used “by users across the legal landscape,” ranging from law firms to legal aid organizations.
face some competition. Casetext AI, primarily GPT-3, is used to find legal cases and assist with general legal research and summary drafting tasks. More surgical instruments such as Clarity Using artificial intelligence to take the drudgery out of contract review. At one point, the startup Augrented was exploring ways to take advantage of GPT-3 to summarize legal notices or other sources in plain English to help tenants defend their rights.
For example, Brad Lightcap, CEO of OpenAI and director of the OpenAI startup fund, believes that Harvey is differentiated enough. You will also benefit from the relationship with OpenAI; OpenAI Startup Fund participants get early access to new OpenAI systems and Azure resources from Microsoft as well as capital.
“We believe Harvey will have a transformative effect on our legal system, enabling attorneys to more efficiently provide high-quality legal services to more clients,” Lightcap said via email. “We started the OpenAI Startup Fund to support companies that use powerful AI to drive impact at a societal level, and Harvey’s vision of how to increase access to legal services and improve outcomes fits perfectly with our mission.”
Harvey has a team of five people, and Pereira expects that number to grow to five to ten employees by the end of the year. He would not answer when asked about revenue numbers.