Ulian explains the importance of connectivity in tomorrow's business world and discusses the practical implications for a profession in which everyone is increasingly linked to one another via advancing technology.
I joined ADM a year and a half ago, and in the
past year we've invested a lot in technology.
I myself am a person that really thinks that
technology is important, because you really can
replace operational work that I think is not a
priority for senior lawyers - I try to prioritise the
strategic issues and benchmarking, in order to
check the other companies and really understand
what we have in the market. I try to improve
and, if this is the case, we invest externally.
ADM Brazil invests a lot in technology, we're
upfront: we know what works and what
doesn't. When we see something working, we
can adopt that solution to what we also do in
the future. But, in order to do this, we need to
gather the necessary data to take such decisions.
And, looking at information necessary to take
those decisions, law firms are able to provide
information in a better way and in a better form
- things like graphics - and some law firms are
able to provide us this information, so that we
don't need to do the work, which I consider to
be operational, to get this information ourselves.
And, it's on information like that we can take
decisions. That's the point.
It's never easy to get budget. It's super difficult:
you have to put a business case forward and
prove why you need to bring that technology to
the company, and make some sort of trade-off -
this need not be in monetary terms, it could be
efficiency. You need to show how valuable the
technology is that you're investing in. If you're a
big, global company you also need to prove that
this technology is in accordance with the entire
IT project globally. Not just in terms of local
security - because what you are doing on a local
level can interfere in security - but, you need
to understand that everybody has to approve.
Being practical in this way can bring a lot in for
At ADM, we have control technology which
allows us to control the litigation cases. The
technology we use was acquired in the market
but specifically customised to our needs. We
have a massive litigation area here, so that
technology helps us get the information we
need. I wouldn't call it AI because it's not
done alone, but it does allow us to use that
information gathered for practice or for analysis.
With this, we can see how many cases we're
winning, how many we've lost, how much money
we're going to lose and how many cases we've
received. For example, if we focus on labour
pay and want to see why we have so many of
these labour cases, you can detect that through
our technology, and then this allows legal to
brief and train the business to be aware of the
current legislation and to be able to reduce these
problems in the future. We can do this in relation
to any problem. If we see that our consumers
have a specific problem in a particular region,
then we can make sure we avoid the same
problem in the future. It's a useful strategy to
have in legal.
Brazil is very advanced in terms of technology
and has very sophisticated solutions concerning
IT because of all the investment here. Being a
super big and democratic nation, we have a
lot of legal work and technology here. But,
Latin America consists of many nations. For
example, you've got both Mexico and Bolivia
- these are two totally different countries with
different levels of development. When you
think of Mexico, there are many differences
in culture, and you must also consider the
dependency on the US. You also have Brazil,
which speaks Portuguese, whilst all other Latin
American nations speak Spanish. You have
many differences, but Brazil is a pioneer in
this area compared to other Latin American
I think that AI is revolutionary for in-house
teams. I think that AI, or something related
to AI, will create more connections than ever.
I think the future is about AI and connection,
because as much as we can be connected
now, we cannot connect things and people
- AI helps with this. When you can make out
as many links as you can between people
and information - for example, you can now
make a complete profile on and of anyone.
Before I meet someone, I can go into a web
link, see their profile and other information
about them - everything - even their personal
life: whether they're married, have kids,
where they live and what they like and
dislike. This is powerful because I can have
a conversation with them and convince them
of something, because, essentially, I know
them now. Giving a simple example, if you
have LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, I now
know you. So I will know how to process our
conversation in a way that I can convince
you of something. We can see this when
purchasing items on Amazon: when you
buy a product, Amazon offers you other
related products. This is embryonic and I
think the future will be more like that. The
more connected we are with information,
the more connected we are with people.
AI and technology will not replace lawyers,
but it will replace lawyers who don't use
technology. By nature, I think technology
and information will become more global.
So, I think privacy will become a big problem
because everyone will know everything about
you, and you won't be able to have a little bit
of privacy. Most of the available information is
free right now, because it's so easy to get this
information. What was valuable in the past is
not valuable in the future - like information.
In the future, you need to be more strategic
and use that to your advantage. I think the
future is about AI and connecting us to as
much information as possible.