A few decades ago no one would have believed that artificial intelligence and law firms would become a widespread combination within the first quarter of the 21st century. Many believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to the mass replacement of humans in the workplace. However, according to MIT the use of AI systems will result in a net gain in jobs. With the growing sophistication of AI systems and client’s ever-increasing demands on their lawyers, it’s time for law firms to embrace innovation in legal services – including artificial intelligence.
AI will help lawyers and staff by decreasing time needed to execute mundane, tedious tasks which results in more time to focus on business-critical activities. In this blog we highlight the areas that AI will transform in the legal profession in years to come.
Contract and document review
Every lawyer and partner wants fast, accurate, and easy document review, not only in discovery but in complex contracts, M&As and other deals. Fortunately, AI systems already exist to help your staff with this time-consuming task. Manual review of documents will become a distant memory. Artificial intelligence for law firms will cut contract review and contract management time in half by streamlining documents management, summarization, redline analysis, etc. Another important tool lawyers frequently need is OCR (optical character recognition), which has become increasingly sophisticated over the years. OCR scans PDFs (i.e. scans of hardcopies) to convert them into editable, searchable format. It would not be as powerful as it is today without the assistance of AI systems. AI paired with OCR reduces errors and dramatically improves conversion accuracy.
Legal research is a cornerstone component of practicing law. Attorneys and staff spend hundreds of hours a year conducting research to make arguments, stay apprised of new legal developments, etc.
AI tools can augment research with machine learning that both decreases the research time and improves the relevance of the results. For example, artificial intelligence for law firms can automatically check citations used in your briefs to make sure they are accurate and up to date (without having staff go through the time intensive subciting process). Better yet, AI can help you discover issues with your opponent’s arguments – such as misquoted cases or cases that have been overturned. AI can also help you do more strategic research, such as learning how often a particular judge grants summary judgment.
Lawyers can’t promise clients what the outcome of their case will be. However, that doesn’t stop clients from asking – or even insisting that you give them an answer. While you can’t promise anything, you can (with proper disclaimers) give your clients the odds. Your individual experience is important, but what if you could supplement your own experiences with those of hundreds of other lawyers? With AI-enabled analytics, you can do just that.
Artificial intelligence for law firms can mine years worth of data to provide you with the statistical probability of winning your case. AI can also give you a much more accurate idea of how much it will cost to see the case through, as well as a breakdown of the stage-by-stage costs. Using AI tools like these can help lawyers and clients make smarter, more informed decisions.
Will AI replace lawyers?
Simply put, NO. AI will never replace attorneys. AI can’t walk into a courtroom and make an effective argument based on subtle, nuanced differences between precedent and the case at hand. It also cannot negotiate an intricate settlement, draw upon your real-world experience, your judgment and the collective knowledge of the community, etc.
However, AI’s power is in its ability to assist lawyers. AI can perform some duties faster, with less margin of error, eliminate mundane tasks and increase overall productivity.
In a nutshell, AI tools can enhance a law firm’s scope of services, enable them to deliver quality services faster and ultimately improve revenue.