Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly but surely introducing real positive change to the legal profession. Because AI is very good at tasks such as review, comparison, and analysis, it is actually making life better for lawyers, researchers, court reporters, and legal transcription companies.
This is really no different from how AI is making inroads in other domains, marketplaces, industries, and professions. Thanks to our huge dependence on Internet technology, it was only a matter of time before AI-based technologies and tools became the better way of doing traditional tasks.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence or AI is the collective term used to describe the way in which computers can complete human tasks. These tasks include reviewing data and making decisions, looking for patterns in text, translating languages, and other logic-based decisions.
The primary application of AI is with machine learning. Machine learning applications are making the real inroads in the legal profession and pretty much all other professions. Machine learning relies on using algorithms or rules to make decisions based on the available data.
We are still in the early days of AI and as a result it is still really only good at (and can be trusted with) looking for patterns based on human-defined requirements. It’s this capability that is changing how and what legal professionals do on a daily basis.
How Is AI Being Used By Legal Professionals?
Lawyers and other legal professionals have quickly recognized the power of AI to eliminate time-consuming, repetitive, and review-intensive tasks from their day-to-day. The following overview provides key insights into how AI is being used by legal professionals.
- Document Review: document review and analysis can be very time-consuming and error-prone. With AI-powered software, the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of document review changes dramatically. Once the algorithm learns which documents are relevant to the case, the software is much faster than humans at searching for and analyzing millions of sources to discover relevant documents and sources.
- Analyzing Contracts: your clients have stacks and stacks of contracts that require analysis, review, and updating. This is a tedious and time-consuming task that is now being handled by AI-based review and analysis software. These software tools look for errors in contracts, expired dates, compare data fields, and even verify the legal language used in the contract.
- Legal Research: finding, reading, and analyzing relevant cases is exhaustive, time-consuming, and necessary. Now, thanks to smart AI technology, the amount of time spent on legal research is dramatically reduced. Using sophisticated legal research tools, lawyers and other legal personnel can ask questions in plain language and receive instantaneous answers that include references to relevant cases, secondary sources, case law, and regulations.
- Predicting Results: you’ve been asked it before and you’ll be asked it again, “What are my chances of winning this case?” or “How much will this case cost?”. These are difficult and practically impossible questions for even the most experienced of lawyers to answer. However, thanks to the prediction and analysis capabilities of AI software, lawyers are better able to provide answers to outcome-based questions. The AI tools rely on having deep access to data and in reviewing the outcomes of similar cases, to help drive human decisions.
Now, don’t wring your hands and start to get worried about the future of the legal profession. As you can see from the list above highlighting how AI is being used by legal professionals, AI is making things better for everyone involved. Yes, the traditional roles, job descriptions, and demands might change for lawyers, researchers, legal transcription companies, court reporters, and paralegals – but this will be for the good.
The key is in being ready for this change, as emphasized by a recent Deloitte study that suggests that by 2036, 100,000 legal roles will be automated. This simply means that anyone involved in the legal profession has to start thinking about how they’ll be ready to respond and adapt to the predicted impacts of AI. AI is here – how will you use it to improve your professional life?