City firm CMS is to use 'data visualisation' technology to speed up document analysis ahead of its much-anticipated three-way merger.

The firm announced today that it is investing in its litigation technology business, CMS Evidence, by adopting 'Brainspace', which it described as a machine learning and data visualisation technology 'that facilitates a step change in the speed and efficiency of analysis of documents'.

The 'innovative' move will 'dramatically accelerate data analysis and review in litigation, arbitration and investigations', the firm said.

CMS is due to merge with Nabarro and Olswang on 1 May to create a new 'City powerhouse' with a £1bn turnover that will become the world's sixth largest law firm by headcount.

CMS UK senior partner Penelope Warne said: 'We are seeing exciting technological advances in both the business and legal world, which is not only enhancing the way we work, but importantly changing and improving the way we deliver services to clients.

'As a dynamic firm we embrace technology-led disruption and have set ourselves up to be agile and able to respond to changing market conditions. This latest innovation underscores our commitment to being a truly technologically innovative firm.'

CMS's announcement states that advanced machine learning and visualisation enable users, in just a matter of hours, to visually identify themes and related terms to review the scale of and relationships between documents as well as the people who are communicating about those concepts.

The Gazette was told that the firm trialled the technology on historic and current cases to compare its performance against traditional methods and was impressed with the results.

According to the website of Texas company Brainspace, Brainspace Discovery is the 'industry's most advanced software for digital investigations and unstructured data analysis'. The website states that Discovery 'learns dynamically without the use of lexicons or taxonomies'.

CMS expects the technology to be widely used across all types of litigation and investigations. It told the Gazette that the technology has other uses, noting a pilot currently running on property contracts in the Brainspace environment, which is taking place simultaneously with other property-focused artificial intelligence software.

CMS Evidence was set up to support the hosting, forensic analysis, review and distribution of electronic and physical evidence.

The firm told the Gazette that it has been looking for new technology to 'augment' its CMS Evidence document review platform and looks to invest in technology that is 'genuinely differentiating'.

Today's announcement states that CMS is the first law firm in Europe to adopt the 'innovative machine learning and data visualisation platform'. However, it is in the latest in a growing line of firms using advanced technology to improve efficiency.

Last year magic circle firm Slaughter and May announced it was piloting technology from Cambridge company Luminance that had been 'trained to think like a lawyer' for due diligence matters.

International firm Reed Smith said it expected to make greater use of artificial intelligence for transactional work following a successful pilot in its London office.