AI Legal Assistant Startup Harvey Raises $5M Led by OpenAI
AI legal assistant startup Harvey has raised $5 million in a funding round led by the OpenAI Startup Fund. Harvey uses OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model to answer questions and complete tasks for lawyers, producing and editing legal documents as it does for other kinds of text.
Lawyers using Harvey can get answers about legal distinctions, check the legality of contract clauses, and even rewrite them to comply. The idea is that the AI could handle much of the research and more tedious writing tasks for lawyers, leaving them more time and energy for activities that the AI cannot handle. The tool is currently in beta and has its own legal disclaimers attached explaining that Harvey isn’t for legal advice to laypeople, just as a service to help licensed attorneys. Law firms to legal aid groups are currently experimenting with Harvey, according to a TechCrunch report. Harvey’s funding round also included participation from Google AI leader Jeff Dean and co-founder of Mixer Labs Elad Gil. Meta AI and Google DeepMind alumnus Gabriel Pereyra founded Harvey with his roommate and former O’Melveny & Myers litigator Winston Weinberg, who had kept the startup in stealth until now.
“Our product provides lawyers with a natural language interface for their existing legal workflows,” Pereyra said in a statement to TechCrunch. “Instead of manually editing legal documents or performing legal research, Harvey enables lawyers to describe the task they wish to accomplish in simple instructions and receive the generated result. To enable this, Harvey leverages large language models to both understand users’ intent and to generate the correct output.”
Applying GPT-3 to the legal industry are becoming more common as companies experiment with generative text AI. Legal technology developer Rally recently published an AI assistant for composing contracts using GPT-3 named Spellbook. Lawyers can embed Spellbook in Microsoft Word. to generate suggestions on improving the language in a contract, summarizing the document to be understandable even to a child, and offering ideas for where negotiation could happen. AI-powered legal research is also under development by companies like Casetext and Augrented.
OpenAI created its fund with an eye toward boosting startups using AI in new ways, especially those relying on GPT-3 and similar generative AI tools. The fund has contributed to funding rounds for a growing number of startups, including AI video editor Descript and the company is running a startup accelerator called Converge, where it plans to disburse up to $10 million in funding.
“We believe Harvey will have a transformative impact on our legal system, empowering lawyers to provide higher quality legal services more efficiently to more clients,” OpenAI CCO Brad Lightcap said in a statement. “We started the OpenAI Startup Fund to support companies using powerful AI to drive societal level impact, and Harvey’s vision for how AI can increase access to legal services and improve outcomes fits squarely within our mission.”