Artificial intelligence (AI) has come to market and is impacting industries across the spectrum. While the legal industry hasn’t been the first to embrace AI, it has a lot of potential to benefit from this technology. Law firms that are embracing this powerful technology are working more productively and spending less time on monotonous tasks.
Andrew Arruda, lawyer and CEO of ROSS Intelligence, used his insights as a lawyer to build ROSS, the world’s first artificially intelligent lawyer. Driven by the opportunity to make expert legal representation accessible to everyone, Arruda has been encouraging law firms to adopt AI, noting its abilities to help “lawyers serving on the front lines… get better results for their clients and become better lawyers in the process.” Arruda gave a TED talk to help people understand how AI can be used within law firms as a tool for boosting efficiency.
Before we elaborate on the benefits of AI and how law firms can apply it, let’s establish its significance. AI simulates certain cognitive processes of the human mind and enables computers to complete basic job functions. When applied to algorithms, AI allows computers to interpret data, recognize patterns, and form conclusions.
As it pertains to law, AI offers multiple benefits, including convenience, freedom from mundane work, and more time for other aspects of the job. Here are some examples of legal tasks AI can automate.
1. Legal research and due diligence
According to Arruda’s TED talk, “ROSS can read over a million pages of law in a second, finding the exact passages [lawyers] need.” ROSS is one example of how AI levels the playing field when it comes to legal research. With a machine quickly performing legal research, the lawyer doesn’t have to charge for that time, which can save clients thousands of dollars and eliminate research costs. Additionally, lawyers can use AI for the discovery phase. AI’s ability to rapidly confirm facts expedites the process of finding background information, which can accelerate arbitration and litigation proceedings.
2. Review documents and contracts
According to an article from Forbes, AI “can review documents and flag them as particular to a case. Once a certain type of document is denoted as relevant, machine learning algorithms can get to work to find other documents that are similarly relevant.” This takes a load off of lawyers. Moreover, AI makes contract revision more efficient by highlighting standard clauses for different applications. A post by Andrew Hall in Law Technology Today also notes, “AI can often help sort out problems faster with fewer mistakes that are often overlooked by the human eye.” Other advantages of AI include consistency in contract creation and alert capabilities for contract dates.
3. Predict legal outcomes
AI has the ability to store years’ worth of legal data and can sift through it all to tell lawyers their chances of winning relevant cases. AI can provide lawyers with insight on similar cases and help them accurately answer client questions like, “Should I settle?”
As you can see, AI is able to handle many humdrum tasks, which empowers lawyers to spend more time on analyses, counseling, negotiations, and court visits.
So how exactly is AI changing the legal industry? Experts expect lawyers to start capitalizing on AI on a large scale within years. Deloitte predicts 100,000 legal roles will be automated by 2036 and law firms will start using new talent strategies by 2020. Mixed with the pressures to offer clients increasing value and address changes in the labor force, AI and other technologies make up only one aspect of the transformation this industry faces. An analysis of the Deloitte report by Legal Insider offers more to consider: “Technology has already contributed to the loss of more than 31,000 jobs in the sector, but … there has been an overall increase of approximately 80,000, most of which are higher skilled and better paid.” (An example of the referenced lost jobs is secretarial occupations.) Clearly, firms need to start recognizing and refining technology’s role in their hiring approaches.
If the notion of adopting AI (and other machine-learning tech) overnight seems overwhelming, take baby steps. You can begin by embodying a growth mentality and promoting a progressive-thinking culture. More specifically, you can figure out which of your contract clauses AI can automate and use reliable data management tools, which code and protect information. By learning about AI and how it can benefit your firm, you’re taking part in a positive transformation in the legal profession. Only by experimenting with the latest tech and incorporating the ones that work can lawyers move toward a more productive and meaningful future.