On AI, Legal Services and Ethics

  • Last week, Justin Kan,CEO of Atrium said: “When we founded Atrium just over a year ago , it was just an idea: how could we transform the legal industry to be better for founders and for lawyers? .. we’ve made significant progress towards realizing that vision, and today is another milestone on that path  Atrium has raised a $65 million round of funding" (from Andreessen HorowitzGeneral CatalystYC Continuity Fund, and Sound Ventures). 

  • “We’ve helped over 250 clients raise a total of over $500 million in primary financings … we acquired the AI company Tetra to help us build our technology platform … we’re hosting Atrium Scale to help founders professionalize their fundraising process."

  • NoteJustin Kan was a co-founder of Twitch (a video game streaming platform acquired by Amazon).

  • The firm’s website states: “We are empowering our top legal professionals by building machine learning software to understand legal documents and automate repeatable processes, allowing them to spend more time advising and solving problems for clients.”

  • The firm’s services focus mostly on the needs of startups:1) drafting/negotiating contracts, 2) fundraising, 3) advising on blockchainand cryptocurrencies - whitepapers, tokens sales, compliance, and 4) using software to improve the deal process. 

  • Separately the Brookings Institute report, “The role of corporations in addressing AI’s ethical dilemmas” said, “The world is seeing extraordinary advances in artificial intelligence. Yet at the same time, there is concern regarding the ethical values embedded within AI and the extent to which algorithms respect basic human values. 

  • The growing sophistication and ubiquity of AI applications has raised a number of ethical concerns. These include issues of bias, fairness, safety, transparency, and accountability.

  • It is not the technology so much that dictates the moral dilemma as the human use case involved with the application. The very same algorithm can serve a variety of purposes, which makes the ethics of decision-making very difficult."


  • Information technology, including artificial intelligence, has been used in the legal industry for many years – mostly to increase operational efficiency and improve the legal research process. As AI reasoning capabilities improve, a new class of collaborative services will likely emerge which blend human judgement and intuition with AI-driven analytics.

  • Atrium may represent a hybrid business model that leverages technology and provides a mix of law, investment banking and management consulting services to its clients.

  • Regarding AI’s ethical dilemmas – Addressing the challenges will include a mix of 1) better system design and review and  2) remediation when harm or damage occurs.

Paul Dravis