The Artificial Intelligence Revolution in Legal Services
Wed, April 21, 2021

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution in Legal Services

Decades ago, if you mentioned the term “artificial intelligence” in a boardroom, there’d have been a good chance that you'd have been laughed at. Today, this technology is one of the hottest buzzwords in business / Photo by: Willyam Bradberry via Shutterstock

 

Decades ago, if you mentioned the term “artificial intelligence” in a boardroom, there’d have been a good chance that you'd have been laughed at. Today, this technology is one of the hottest buzzwords in business. Many organizations have capitalized on AI and the ever-growing amount of data being generated and collected through it. 

Forbes, a global media company focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle, reported that 84% of enterprises believe that investing in AI will lead to greater competitive advantages. About 75% believe that AI will open up new businesses while providing competitors new ways to gain access to their markets. Also, 63% believe that the technology will reduce costs for companies.

The growing interest in applying AI in law is believed to be gradually transforming the profession and closing in on the work of legal researchers, paralegals, and litigators – especially when these jobs are considered some of the most in-demand careers related to the legal services industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that from 2016 to 2026, the employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to increase by 15% – a lot faster than the average for all occupations. While each of these professions has its own unique tasks or roles, they all have one common denominator: data collection and analysis – the main core strengths of AI. 

Lane Lillquist, the co-founder and CTO of legal tech company InCloudCounsel, believes that AI will change the legal profession. “We’re already seeing a rise of legal technology companies providing alternative legal services backed by AI and machine learning that are enhancing how lawyers practice law. Law firms will begin building their own engineering departments and product teams, too,” Lillquist said. 

How AI Can Help Legal Services

Emerj, an AI market research firm, reported that AI’s current applications in legal services include providing additional insights through analytics, helping lawyers perform due diligence and research, and automating creative processes in legal work. However, AI offers even more. Here are some examples:

1 - Increasing productivity by automating manual tasks

Most of the time, lawyers, legal assistants, and paralegals spend several hours a week on tasks that consume most of their time. This is normal since their tasks consist of reviewing documents or performing research. With AI, it can drastically improve the accuracy and efficiency of law work by automating a range of manual tasks that eat up valuable time. AI can make jobs that previously took hours a lot easier to manage and finish.

“AI will also be able to handle repetitive tasks of increasing complexity, especially in data extraction, which will require new systems to be built to extract value out of new kinds of data,” Lillquist added.

Most of the time, lawyers, legal assistants, and paralegals spend several hours a week on tasks that consume most of their time / Photo by: Indypendenz via Shutterstock

 

2 - Predicting legal outcomes

Clients often ask tons of questions to their lawyers like “Should I settle?” or “If we go to trial, how likely will it be that I win?” These questions are sometimes hard to answer, depending on the case. AI can help in situations like these by analyzing data to help in predicting the outcomes of legal proceedings better than humans.

3 - Reviewing documents and legal research

AI can improve the efficiency of document analysis for legal use. Machines can review documents and identify if those are relevant to a particular case. At the same time, AI is faster at sorting through documents compared to humans. As a result, it can produce output that can be statistically validated. 

According to Observer, an online site that focuses on culture, real estate, media, politics, and the entertainment and publishing industries, Lillquist stated that having AI in the legal profession means that we will be needing fewer people to do an ever-increasing amount of work. “Enabled by technology, lawyers are more productive, allowing more legal matters to be represented around the world,” he said. 

Will AI Take Over the Legal Services Industry?

While AI has the potential to transform the legal profession, a lot of people are still hesitant to support it. This is due to reports showing that AI is gradually taking over the legal world. A 2016 report by Deloitte Insight revealed that there will be “profound reforms” across the legal profession within the next 10 years. 

According to the report, 39% of jobs (114,000) in the legal sector will be automated as the profession feels the impact of more “radical changes,” suggesting that law firms should start to commit to becoming AI-read. They need to set aside the fear of failure and begin to develop internal AI practices. 

While AI has the potential to transform the legal profession, a lot of people are still hesitant to support it. This is due to reports showing that AI is gradually taking over the legal world / Photo by: MIND AND I via Shutterstock

 

However, Lillquist doesn’t agree that AI legal services will eventually replace humans. He believes that this wave of technology will create more data analytics jobs that can tap into legal and business datasets. They can be used to generate actionable insights to improve the practice of law. 

“We’re already seeing a rise of legal technology companies providing alternative legal services backed by AI and machine learning that are enhancing how lawyers practice law,” he said. 

Nonetheless, the truth remains that AI will push more law firms to become more competitive in the next years. To prepare, they need to make radical changes to the way they attract, develop, and retain new talent to keep up with the growing demand in legal services.