#AdvancingLaw: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Legal Practice

Where will AI take us?

AI continues to find new ways to transform laborious tasks in the legal field and has gained strong footing globally. With its growing use in otherwise time-consuming and labor-intensive activities, lawyers can focus their time, cost and expertise on more specialized tasks.

Popular uses of AI technology are in the field of due diligence, legal research, e-discovery and contract management. Legal professionals typically have to sift through terabytes of data to find relevant information pertaining to a case or client. With the help of AI, lawyers can go through incredible amounts of data in a much shorter span of time. Richard Susskind predicts that the world of legal services will be of online courts, AI-based global legal business, liberalized markets, commoditization and outsourcing, internet-based simulated practice, and new legal jobs.

Another fascinating use of AI in law is imbibed in what is popularly known as ‘robot lawyers.’ Essentially, these are AI applications that use machine learning to decipher everyday language to perform mundane legal tasks. One example is the Do Not Pay app that helps people contest parking tickets without having to consult a real lawyer and rack up huge legal fees.

AI in law – is set to become the new normal. We need to accept the fact that machine learning algorithms now perform tasks that we thought only human beings could do. But remember that these algorithms only simulate human thinking – they are not “conscious” or “thinking” agents in themselves.

What benefits do we hope to derive from AI?

Case Predictions:

An exciting use of AI is in the field of case predictions. AI wraps in multiple technologies, such as data mining capabilities to analyze past case records and predictive analysis techniques. E.g. Ross AI software forecasts what the outcome of a particular legal proceeding might be.

A combination of AI and human expertise in case predictions equips lawyers with a better knowledge of possible outcomes, thereby supporting superior decision-making capabilities.

Document Review:

The application of cognitive computing to legal tasks that need a heavy examination of documents, such as discovery and due diligence, has far-ranging benefits. It significantly reduces the number of man-hours needed and consequently, cuts down on personnel costs.

TAR tools use predictive coding to accomplish this task, and machine-learning capabilities allow the software to analyze documents faster while employing algorithms that learn from the previously processed data.

Contract Lifecycle management:

Legal departments in corporate are inclined to use tools build on natural language processing for reviewing and creating contracts, now, it also assists lawyers in due diligence and risk assessment.

This provides greater transparency, price predictability and an accurate analytics for managing a large number of contracts existing in an organization.

How can we bridge the gap between AI and Lawyers?

Dr Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, a behavioural scientist and senior research fellow for Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession and the Harvard Kennedy School, claims that, although AI has the ability to transform modern businesses, including those in the legal sector, ‘much of what constitutes AI remains somewhat misunderstood’ by the majority of those people or business entities that would benefit most by its use. This can be subsequently problematic and may limit the benefits that AI has to offer.

AI is growing but has still not reached the desks of the majority of the lawyers, as they are naturally – like all human beings – resistive to change. Technology (AI or otherwise) will disrupt every industry, and Lawyers have to prepare themselves for changes that are strongly predicted now. Any work that is repetitive, requiring minimal professional intervention or based on a template, will become the “sole province of software”, says Stefanie Yuen Thio, joint managing partner and head of corporate at TSMP Law Corp. A legal consultant can effectively play a role to bridge the gap between lawyers and technology and guide them on how software can deliver the proactive aspect of their mundane jobs.

And with changing skills, it is obvious that hiring at legal firms will transform too. “Law firms will hire more developers and contract executives, some of whom will not need all of the same qualifications as today’s lawyers,” adds Pollins of CMS.

How can OmnesLaw help?

At OmnesLaw we work closely with law firms and legal departments and see an undercurrent of change in Indian law firms too. Lawyers at the top will adapt to adopt the new technology to further their strategic contribution. While junior lawyers can expect AI to reduce their burden of mundane repetitive work. Data has again gained prominence irrespective of industry and lawyers need to be able to understand and leverage and also contribute to tech areas such cloud, cybersecurity, robot ethics, etc.

Contact us to discuss how we can assist you in taking this ‘leap of faith’ by performing a necessary assessment of your existing processes, technology, and skills and handhold you to transform while you continue to serve effectively to your clients.

Further reading:
1. AI in Law and Legal Practice – A Comprehensive View of 35 Current Applications
2. https://blogs.thomsonreuters.com/legal-uk/2018/02/07/ask-dr-paola-ai-changing-legal-industry/
3. https://www.theedgesingapore.com/lawyers-may-need-tech-skills-ai-changes-nature-legal-industry

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