Today, I share my notes on an ABA Tech Show presentation about Microsoft Copilot’s Office plug-in available in Office apps. This AI tool will change the way we use Microsoft products and save time for busy lawyers.

AI will change the world, but how will it change M&A? I want to focus on AI’s impact on M&A in this newsletter. I am not an expert on either M&A or AI, but I want to learn about both topics and how they intersect. I thought there may be others in my situation (or people who are experts in one field or the other) who would find information on M&A and AI helpful in their careers, so I created this newsletter to track and share what I learn.

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Microsoft Copilot: A New AI Assistant for Office Users

Microsoft has recently launched a new AI assistant called Copilot, which is designed to help office users with various tasks such as generating and editing documents, summarizing documents and meetings, and preparing for presentations. Copilot is integrated with almost all Microsoft apps. In this post, I will share some of the features and capabilities of Copilot that I learned at the ABA Tech Show, and how it could impact M&A practice.

Here is Microsoft’s introduction of the tool. I would encourage you to read the article and watch the video to get an idea of how this tool works!

Copilot is Private and Secure

One of the main concerns that lawyers have about using an AI assistant is privacy. Copilot addresses this concern by not training Copilot on the documents in your Microsoft 365 account. According to the presenter, Copilot is private and secure and does not store or share any of your data. I would double-check this on Microsoft’s terms of service before using Copilot with client data.

I do not have the Office plug-in, but I do have full access to Copilot’s chatbot function, so I looked at the Terms of Service. The Terms of Service say that commercial users of Copilot get the same data protection as they would using other Microsoft products. The Terms of Service were silent on whether Copilot is trained off of prompts or documents that a user inputs.1

Copilot Can Generate and Edit Documents

Copilot can help users with creating and editing documents in Word, PowerPoint, and other apps. The Word plug-in acts essentially like ChatGPT and will give the user a text output based on a prompt. The most impressive thing I saw was Copilot’s ability to create an entire PowerPoint slide deck, including photos, text, and speaker notes, based on a prompt. Although not covered in the presentation, Copilot also works in Excel. For non-excel savvy people like myself, Copilot will make complex Excel functions more accessible.

Copilot can Summarize Documents and Answer Questions About Them

Copilot can also help users understand and analyze documents. Users can ask Copilot questions about any document located in the user’s Microsoft Office. It can answer questions like, “Give me a summary of the three most important emails that I received overnight,” “Find legal research memos in my OneDrive discussing the constitution,” or a user can find a document themselves, feed it into Copilot and ask Copilot questions about it. The ability to search and analyze documents will be very helpful in an M&A context. But again, there are limitations to all AI tools that lawyers should be aware of (like vectoring2, limits on data input, and hallucinations3). So if the document is important (like most all documents a lawyer deals with), it should be read in full.

Copilot can Help Prepare for Meetings

Copilot can also help users with preparing for meetings. Copilot can look at the calendar and provide relevant documents for the meeting to help the participant prepare. Copilot can also run on Teams meetings, and allow users to ask the bot questions during the meeting, such as “What did X person say” or “Summarize the last 5 minutes of the call.” This can be very helpful for big calls on M&A deals, which can be long and sometimes confusing. Copilot can also take notes of the meeting and send a summary to the participants.

Copilot’s Potential Impact on the M&A Practice

Copilot can have a significant impact on the M&A practice, as it can assist lawyers with various tasks that are involved in the deal process. The main impact will be saving time. The presenter even mentioned that the main point of Copilot is to save people 30-60 minutes per day. Rather than spending time on tedious tasks such as pulling documents to prep for a meeting, Copilot can help find and potentially summarize important documents. It can also help lawyers focus on more substantive and strategic tasks. For example, a traditional task of a junior associate is to take notes on calls. This task won’t disappear, but since Copilot can keep track of everything said in a meeting, the junior may be able to focus on taking notes on more substantive issues.

Conclusion

Copilot can have a significant impact on M&A practice, as it can save time for lawyers with various small tasks. It is a promising tool that can enhance the productivity and efficiency of Microsoft Office.

ABA Tech Show Review

The ABA Tech Show was an incredible experience! I learned a lot from the sessions and enjoyed meeting the speakers and vendors. I think Tech Show is great for anyone looking to learn about legal tech and network with tech-forward lawyers and legal tech professionals.

Tech Show gave me access to people I would not have otherwise met, like start-up founders. It was a lot of fun to ask the founders about their ideas for shaking up the legal industry with their business. Most of the start-up founders I spoke to had AI tools. These ranged from an email assistant to a chatbot that is geared toward legal practice to an AI chatbot for legal research.

I plan on covering some of these legal tech tools in the next few weeks!

About me

My name is Parker Lawter, and I am a law student pursuing a career as an M&A lawyer. I am in my last semester of law school, and with some extra time on my hands, I decided to create this newsletter. I hope it is informative and helpful to anyone who reads it! I am not an expert at either M&A or AI, but I am actively pursuing knowledge in both areas, and this newsletter is a part of that pursuit. I hope you’ll join me!

Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/parker-w-lawter-58a6a41b

All views expressed are my own!

1

This is a grey area, but it is better safe than sorry regarding client confidentiality.

2

This briefly discusses vectoring. I will discuss it in more detail in a later post.

3
Photo of Parker Lawter Parker Lawter

My name is Parker Lawter, and I am a law student pursuing a career as an M&A lawyer. I am in my last semester of law school, and with some extra time on my hands, I decided to create this blog. I hope…

My name is Parker Lawter, and I am a law student pursuing a career as an M&A lawyer. I am in my last semester of law school, and with some extra time on my hands, I decided to create this blog. I hope it is informative and helpful to anyone who reads it! I am not an expert at either M&A or AI, but I am actively pursuing knowledge in both areas, and this newsletter is a part of that pursuit. I hope you’ll join me!