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Artificial Intelligence & Law

The use of AI has seen a huge increase in the legal industry during the pandemic, with its growing presence now utilised as a daily occurrence what will be the impact to legal professionals? Amongst the industry there still remains concerns on how AI technologies will disrupt, alter and affect the legal world in the future.

AI is assisting litigation practices with legal research and due diligence, reviewing documents and predicting legal outcomes. AI is able to scan documents, looking for humane-defined criteria and patterns in data, and resolve problems faster and with fewer mistakes that are often overlooked by the naked eye.

However, the jury is still out in regards to whether automation and AI can perform duties like an experienced litigator, especially on those which require free and open-minded thinking on a daily basis. According to a recent McKinsey report, 22% of a lawyer’s daily tasks and 35% of a legal clerk’s tasks can all be handled via AI automation.

AI has the power to relieve lawyers from taxing, time-consuming work that does not necessarily require legal expertise. The technology can go even farther to determine which litigation projects are worth taking on and which lawyers are appropriate for the tasks. Some of the work being done by Solomonic, a leading legal analytics start-up in the UK, on predictive analytics in the area of litigation is a game changer. To add to their industry changing offering they have recently launched an advanced Claim Form platform that allows users to track individual claims. Users can also view aggregated analytics on different parties’ litigation behaviour, for example the rate at which particular parties settle claims. Having the ability to process big data and make business decisions that will save an enormous amount of time and money is priceless.

AI provides law firms with an ability to increase their competitiveness and profitability. Law firms that focus on transactional practices like M&A litigation spend a great deal of time and effort researching, negotiating, drafting, and advising. AI is proven to help cut down on the time needed to complete these tasks by hundreds of hours in a given year. Take JP Morgan’s COiN project (COntract INtelligence) where 360,000 hours on document analysis and processing were saved in its first year of operation. The program has also helped JP Morgan cut down on loan servicing mistakes, most of which stemmed from human errors when interpreting 12,000 wholesale contracts per year, according to its designers.

There is also the pressure from clients as they begin to appreciate AI technology. Clients understand technology better and the benefits it can offer at a far better price, since costs and speed are the biggest concern. For example, having tools such as those provided by ROSS Intelligence, a company that has popularised artificial intelligence for legal research. According to Blue Hill Research in their report of effectiveness of legal search tools, ROSS Intelligence tool outperformed their competitors in the evaluated search technologies criteria, producing 55.8% of the relevant searches within its top 20 results, with 37. % of all retrieved results representing relevant searches.

If the likes of ROSS Intelligence can reportedly read over a million pages of law in a second does this mean we are due a cataclysmic impact in the legal industry in terms of jobs?

Well this isn’t what the data is showing. These capabilities have proven over time to be a time-saver, not a job-stealer. A 2019 report by Legal Insider showed that such technology has contributed to the loss of more than 31,000 jobs in the sector, but there has been an overall increase of roughly 80,000. Majority of which are higher skilled and better paid roles.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for law firms will be adapting to a new business model that embraces and incorporates AI. Investing in AI seems an obvious strategy for a law firm that wants to remain competitive and better service its clients. An effective strategy has to recognise that these technologies are a means to an end. Clients will not pay for these investments, but they want to ensure their legal service provider is taking the lead in offering innovative products and services.

The Global LegalTech Summit & Expo taking place in December 2020 will be the ideal destination for all things AI. With a dedicated theme on AI tech in law, bringing together leading industry practitioners and academics from across the world to deliver keynotes, panels and use case demos. Register your interest HERE.


McKInsey footnote: https://www.jdjournal.com/2018/06/21/is-ai-technology-helping-the-legal-profession/

The Lawyerist: https://lawyerist.com/reviews/online-legal-research-tools/ross-intelligence/

Blue Hill Research: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.aclea.org/resource/collection/81118223-16F9-46DB-B5DC-772EF45FB936/6-A4_Artificial_Intelligence.pdf

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