Trends in Technology

Is Artificial Intelligence Affecting the Legal Sector?

February 1, 2019 by Bobby J Davidson
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Legal Sector - Artificial IntelligenceUp till a few years back, litigators would balk at the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) affecting the legal sector. Times have changed since then, and lawyers have now graciously accepted the fact that AI is reshaping their careers and professional lives.

AI is speeding up what humans do. In the legal world, it shows promising results in carrying out mundane and time-consuming tasks with ease and unerring accuracy.

Here’s what you need to know about the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal sector.

Understanding the Basics of Artificial Intelligence

Hollywood movies have often portrayed AI as a supercomputer that wants to destroy mankind. The computer either sends terminators back in time or creates an illusionary matrix to blind human beings from the reality. However, all these representations are incorrect at best and offensive at worst.

The purpose of AI is to carry out certain procedures with better competence and capabilities compared to a human being. The technology relies on complex algorithms and self-learning software that analyzes data to make out patterns and make the best possible decisions.

Will AI Replace Lawyers?

In 2017, JPMorgan developed an AI system that interpreted various commercial loan agreements by analyzing 360,000 hours of work in just a few seconds. The news spread like wildfire and left several lawyers across the United States worried about their jobs.

However, a quick look into the working of the system shows that there’s nothing to worry about. The AI tool only analyzed existing data and took out the element of guesswork to provide a logical conclusion. Such technology, if implemented nationwide, could free up a lot of time for lawyers to focus on strategic matters instead of worrying about mundane documentation.

In essence, developing a smart artificial intelligence system could benefit the legal community in the following ways.


Reviewing Legal Research

Most of the AI-powered supercomputers are capable of analyzing tons of data in a jiffy. These computers can quickly scan through a library of data (or a legal database) to review documents and mark them as relevant for a particular case.

Machines are much faster than human beings at scanning documents, and their outputs can easily be statistically verified. In recent times, ROSS Intelligence has created a learning computer that uses natural language to process several legal documents at once.

Predicting Decisions

When dealing with a new or existing client, lawyers are often questioned about the probability of success for a particular case. For instance, your client may ask you the following question:

“If I go to trial, will I win this case?”

As a lawyer, it’s difficult for you to answer with a yes or a no. However, an AI-based system can assess existing cases to determine the probability for success. You can simply use the software to find out about similar cases and their success rates. This way, you can provide a definitive answer to your client and discuss the best possible course of action.

Performing Due Diligence

In almost every law office around the globe, several legal experts are involved in conducting due diligence. The process involves uncovering background information for clients by confirming various facts and figures. It is only after the due diligence is complete that a lawyer can offer proper counsel to his or her client.

Due diligence is an exhausting procedure, and lawyers often find it difficult to corroborate information. Having an AI system in place can greatly speed up the process. Dedicated AI software can perform accurate due diligence and remove human errors and any inherent subjectivity involved with the process.

Facilitating Divorce Proceedings

Divorce proceedings in the United States cost around $30,000 on average. These proceedings are not only costly for the couple, but they can also be tedious for their lawyers. However, a recently developed AI system called Wevorce offers a simple and effective solution to make divorces amicable.

Using this AI tool, couples can easily state their optimal outcomes. These outcomes state where each spouse wants to be after the divorce settlement. The system then guides each spouse through a series of modules that provide details on the legal documentation required to obtain the optimal outcome.

Wevorce includes topics on co-parenting and financial planning. The system also offers a free consultation with a licensed divorce attorney when couples get started. However, the system does not generate trials and proceedings, and a lawyer’s assistance will be required.

Assessing Contracts

Many corporate attorneys spend a lot of their time reviewing their clients’ contractual agreements with other parties. The objective of this exercise is to look for any clauses or stipulations that could harm their client’s interests. The exercise is painstakingly exhausting, and it takes an eagle-eyed lawyer to spot hidden terms and clauses that could prove disastrous for their clients.

Various companies have created smart AI tools that are capable of reviewing contracts. These systems are designed to analyze all contractual obligations and detect the harmful clauses that should be scrapped out of the agreement. The AI systems could also offer advice on whether or not these contracts should be accepted. Some of the best AI-based systems for reviewing contracts include those developed by eBrevia, LawGeex, and Kira Systems.

The Future of Law Firms

In 2016, Deloitte published a paper on the impact of AI on the legal sector. The firm estimates that more than 100,000 jobs in the legal sector are likely to be automated within the next twenty years. The report also states that nearly 40% of all jobs in the legal industry will undergo radical changes within the next ten years.

To tackle the challenges of automation, law firms need to develop a comprehensive strategy. Possible solutions include hiring employees who have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate AI-based machinery. Since technology will replace many functions currently performed by humans, it may best for law firms to scale back on some of the services they offer.

Industry-wide automation is creating an extremely competitive environment for businesses. If you’re looking for the right tools and strategies to streamline your business operations for continual growth, talk to one of our experts today!

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