The Present and Future of AI In the Legal Industry
Wed, April 14, 2021

The Present and Future of AI In the Legal Industry

We see intelligent software taking over various industries, with drivers of AI adoption pursuing operational efficiency and saving costs. In paper-heavy industries, AI adoption is welcomed. This is why legal applications are increasingly developed / Photo by: Kittipong Jirasukhanont via 123RF

 

AI has witnessed a recent resurgence despite it being present in our society for decades now, wrote Derek Chau of business IT news website IT Pro Portal. In the US, investments in AI had a CAGR of 36% between 2013 and 2018, according to CB Insights, a go-to source for venture capital firms and high-growth startups. AI spending was more pronounced in 2018, up from 72% a year prior. 

We see intelligent software taking over various industries, with drivers of AI adoption pursuing operational efficiency and saving costs. In paper-heavy industries, AI adoption is welcomed. This is why legal applications are increasingly developed. 

 

Statistics on Legal Tech AI 

Per the findings of market research company Zion Market Research, the global legal tech AI’s value is estimated to reach $3.25 billion in 2026. It will have a CAGR of 36% over a period of seven years, amounting to around $37.9 billion. In a survey of nearly 500 in-house and law firm practitioners, 23% of them are using AI or machine learning technology, as revealed by Bloomberg Law, an online legal research platform. 

Furthermore, 54% of respondents do not use AI while 24% are not sure, clearly reflecting a knowledge gap and underuse of AI and other new technologies. Practitioners that have AI or machine learning commonly use them for document review (47%), eDiscovery (41%), legal research (31%), litigation analytics (23%), and drafting (22%). 

In Doug Hargrove’s Trends Survey Report 2019/2020, only 40% believed their law firm was not acting fast enough to keep abreast of technological innovation, according to It Pro Portal and business software and services provider Advanced. This means 60% are already keeping up with the trend, clearly well ahead of their competitors. The report surveyed more than 1,000 senior decision-makers working in UK organizations with more than 100 employees, revealing that 77% would be glad to work with robotic technology if it entailed fewer manual processes, up from 65% in 2018.  

The Role of AI Tech in the Legal Industry 

AI has continued to captivate the legal industry as this technology becomes a catalyst for change. As AI platforms become more advanced, firms have started to tap into “ever-expanding automation and scalability.” Legal professionals conduct research on behalf of their clients, which can be time-consuming and tedious. Research alone requires a “thorough analysis of legal cases.”

But with AI, the research process will be streamlined, allowing professionals to efficiently collect background information. For example, AI will be leveraged to sift through a database of previous cases and relay relevant information to the professional. Legal professionals also spend time reviewing contracts for their clients. Law offices identify contractual issues and risks, requiring lawyers to intensely scrutinize the document for their clients. AI tools can do contractual reviews faster by collectively or independently analyzing contracts based on a pre-built AI model. 

Predicting legal outcomes remains to be an unexplored territory but it definitely holds potential. Unlike humans, AI can store and analyze more legal data while providing useful insights in real-time. This can help determine the chances of winning a case by optimizing the decision-making process and resource allocation.

The Future of Implementing Legal AI 

AI offers lower costs and improved outcomes as more legal professionals optimize their business models. According to multinational professional services network Deloitte, law offices have to implement new talent strategies by 2020, creating an all-new approach to legal processes. If Deloitte’s forecast holds true, we can expect 100,000 legal roles to be automated by 2036. 

For example, managing partner at Harrity & Harrity, John Harrity, told Law.com, a news platform on the legal industry, that we will see the widespread adoption of automation software for drafting patent applications by the end of 2020. This will revolutionize the patent law field, enabling law firms to produce more work in less time, placing downward pressure on pricing. 

Keeping with technological advances in the legal field will remain to be the top goal for chief legal officers this year, explained Lori Lorenzo, the managing director of chief legal officer program at Deloitte. Addressing the skills gap will help drive inclusion by hiring professionals with diverse skill sets such as data scientists, automation experts, and more in the legal field. 

However, as legal tech becomes more widespread, we can expect the ethical debate surrounding AI and other technologies to be amplified, AI platform form the legal profession Luminance’s CEO Emily Foges argued. Hence, it is important for law companies to deploy the right technology in the right way. No lawyer should be in servitude to a machine. In fact, humans also play a critical role in the decision-making process and they should never be bypassed. 

We must also remember that technology is not always about creating new products but about leveraging what we have now. This year, the legal community will be focused on implementing solutions-based technology to address problems and minimize costs, paving the way for alternate business models like virtual law firms. 

AI will revolutionize the legal industry by streamlining time-consuming processes like research and data collection. It is time for the legal community to welcome AI with open arms. However, the ethical debate will be heightened as AI adoption becomes more widespread.

AI offers lower costs and improved outcomes as more legal professionals optimize their business models. According to multinational professional services network Deloitte, law offices have to implement new talent strategies by 2020, creating an all-new approach to legal processes / Photo by: Pattanaphong Khaunkaew via 123RF