How AI will impact the Legal profession
BlogBusiness + Managementposted by Beena Ammanath August 20, 2017
If you have recently received a parking ticket, you can use the services of a robot lawyer to help. The robot lawyer asks as series of questions like where the ticket was issued, a description of what happened and within a few minutes, you can have a 500-word letter to send to the city to contest the parking ticket. This bot lawyer has, so far, helped overturn more than 200,000 parking tickets.
If you are looking at getting a divorce, wevorce can help. Wevorce’s web-based platform allows couples to go through a collaborative divorce — one in which both partners work together to decide how to split assets and figure out how to coparent. It’s a way to ensure that neither party is too disappointed when they finally sign the divorce papers.
Services like wevorce and robot lawyer are changing the way some legal services are provided. Several law firms already use AI for e-discovery in litigation. AI techniques like predictive coding is used to find and rank relevant documents, saving several laborious hours of document word searches on manual review and therefore reducing the amount of money spent on e-discovery. As the machine learns what documents in a data set are relevant, the results that it produces become increasingly relevant over time.
Examples like these are going to not only change the dynamics of the legal marketplace, but will impact the legal profession itself.
Though this seems like a new area, the discussion on artificial intelligence in law has been going on for a few decades now. In 1970, Buchanan, Bruce G. and Thomas Headrick discussed the possibilities of modeling legal research and reasoning, particularly for advice-giving, legal analysis and argument construction, and even though they envisioned using goal-directed rule-based approaches, they presciently pointed out the importance of analogical reasoning. The International Conference on AI and Law has been organized since 1987. There has been several research papers on fundamentally re-examining the legal profession with the advent of AI. However it is only recently that the research has stepped out of the realm of academia into real world use.
Just like fintech, lawtech companies are building out products and services that leverages AI technologies to aid the legal world. Almost all law firms are turning to AI to help them wade through massive amounts of legal data. Attorneys used to spend several hours doing legal research and document analysis in complex cases. Much of that work can now be done in mere minutes through AI programs. A technique called natural language processing(NLP) can help in scanning and predicting what documents will be relevant to a case, within minutes today.
AI is also helping democratize legal services by enabling access to legal services without paying the historically enormous fees for a lawyer. Several services today are working towards making the law free or heavily discounted and understandable. Combining Natural Language Processing and machine learning algorithms helps transcribe contracts into non-legal language.
AI is also leveling the playing field in terms of lawyer experiences to some extent. A fresh law-grad will have access to several decades archive of experience and legal knowledge by using AI. So strategy to solving the client’s legal problem will be much more crucial than counting on the previous year’s data access.
While there are several examples of AI making progress in the legal world, legal AI is still in its infancy. Just like the other fields, all the legal algorithmic models need to be extensively trained with feedback from real human lawyers. Today’s robot lawyer is only as good as the training done by the human lawyer. And while AI has started taking over some of the tasks, there are several things that only a human lawyer can do even today; like writing efficient legal briefs, appearing in court and negotiating on behalf of the client and empathetically advising clients.
There is no question that lawyers of the future will work very differently than previous generations of lawyers. As AI takes over more and more of the administrative work, technology will have to become a part of the legal curriculum. Lawyers of the future will have to help shape the AI products to not only leverage AI technology to its complete potential but also to put the checks and balances in place to prevent rogue AI legal apps. Traditionally, lawyers have come from economics or humanities backgrounds and involved a heavy research aspect, but as researching abilities begin to play a less prominent role in law, we might see more and more lawyers coming from analytical backgrounds such as finance or technology.
Technology has always carried a threat to existing working ways and legal profession will continue to evolve with the advances in AI. Earlier this year, a McKinsey Global Institute report found that while nearly half of all tasks could be automated with current technology, only 5 percent of jobs could be completely automated. McKinsey estimates that 23 percent of a lawyer’s job can be automated, using currently available technology.
AI systems will continue to unbundle and automate the different aspects of legal profession like the tasks of researching, compiling, and transcribing legal documents, and the legal professionals themselves will get more time to focus on one of the most crucial aspects of their practice: the human aspect.
Originally posted on medium.com/