The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Legal Services: Pros and Cons
By Trinity Hanson, published: 2023-05-17
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field or branch of computer science aimed at creating machines that can perform tasks that usually call for human intelligence. In simple words, it’s the simulation and modeling of the human mind’s capabilities, such as learning, reasoning, and decision-making.
AI is a buzzword nowadays. Technology is on the rise and keeps permeating multiple industries, spheres, areas, and sectors of business. The legal field is not an exception.
Thus, a recent Thomson Reuters survey of law firm lawyers showed that over 82% of respondents believe that generative AI can be applied in law-related work. And global AI software market in the statutory industry is expected to grow by nearly 30% between 2023-2031.
AI’s potential for the legal sector is hard to deny. Technology has already started to change the way lawyers and law firms work. Yet, law professionals should be aware of all the pros and cons of AI use in law practice to be able to use AI power to the best.
Artificial Intelligence in the Realm of Law
It should be noted that currently, Artificial Intelligence in legal services doesn’t mean the use of a computer that mimics human actions and thinks like a human. It’s rather about a set of digital tools and technologies that do the following:
- Streamline regulatory processes;
- Automate routine tasks;
- Assist law practitioners in analyzing considerable amounts of data;
- Improve accuracy and reduce human error.
Thanks to automation, many mundane tasks and repetitive processes are handled by AI. As a result, law professionals work faster, more efficiently, and more accurately.
AI use in law firms may not be explicit and apparent, yet it significantly helps lawyers optimize their practice and prioritize customers in a way it wasn’t possible otherwise. The regulatory industry can use artificial intelligence in many different ways. The most popular as of today include:
- Electronic discovery,
- Legal research,
- Document management.
Typically, law practitioners have to sift through tons of info to find relevant data related to the claim or case. It’s a tedious and time-consuming process. And E-discovery software noticeably accelerates the search and makes it much more manageable.
Lawyers can scan electronic documents by specific parameters or keywords. They get responses almost immediately and save a lot of time on manual document searches and checkups.
AI-powered statutory research tools help law professionals scrutinize massive databases and analyze millions of documents, regulations, laws, and legal cases in a blink of an eye.
These tools enable lawyers to quickly complete comprehensive research and easily pinpoint relevant info that will help them make well-grounded decisions. While saving time for lawyers, it cuts down costs for clients.
Legal services and law firms have switched from paper documents to electronic records quite long ago. Though space-saving, electronic storages are also far from perfect since they lack organization. Hence, quickly finding a necessary document there is a challenge.
AI-enabled document management software uses tagging and profiling capabilities to store digital files in an organized manner and enable a full-text search to find statutory documents, case files, or even emails in an extensive electronic depot quickly.
Besides, a document automation function allows for creating standardized docs using digital templates. Not only does automation ensures the swift production of letters, agreements, motions, bills, and other common regulatory forms, but it also secures documents free from mistakes and errors.
IT outsourcing Poland can also provide law firms with cost-effective solutions for implementing AI-powered document management software and automation functions.
Other Specific Examples of AI Use in Law Practice
There are a few other more specific cases of Artificial Intelligence use in the legal industry, such as the following:
- Due Diligence: Complex document checkups, legal situation assessments, and fact verifications are integral to the lawyer’s work. Those processes entail multiple aspects and require reviewing and analyzing hundreds of documents. AI-based solutions take every strain out of due diligence. A labor-intensive, slow, and pricey routine is converted into a quick and hassle-free procedure, ensuring accurate and error-free results.
- Litigation Analysis: With specialized legal AI at hand, lawyers can efficiently assess the outcomes of a lawsuit to decide if litigation is worth support. Automated analysis is performed based on the estimation of similar precedents.
- Patent and Trademark Search: Patent litigation is one of the most challenging regulatory areas. However, specifically designed AI systems make a previously intimidating and confusing patent search a lot easier. And search results are reliable, giving inventors true-to-life patentability info.
Pros of Using AI in Legal Practice
Given existing AI technology use in statutory services, it has a lot to offer to the industry. It boosts legal practitioners’ productivity and efficiency and helps lawyers become more customer-oriented. It contributes to establishing a win-win pattern for lawyer-client relationships, which creates multiple benefits for both the client and the law firm’s performance.
- Increased Work Efficiency
By automating mundane and repetitive tasks such as document review, contract analysis, and legal research, Artificial Intelligence technology frees up lawyers’ time to focus on more complex tasks that require human involvement and critical thinking. This can significantly increase efficiency and reduce the time and cost of legal processes.
By shifting routine manual work to AI, lawyers can devote more time to their clients and concentrate their attention on more intellectual work that brings them money.
- Improved Accuracy
Even minor legal mistakes or inaccuracies can lead to severe consequences. Hence, accuracy is a top priority in the legal world. Unlike an unpredictable human factor, AI relies on tried and tested algorithms.
Intelligent computing technology can analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately. It can improve the accuracy of outcomes. For example, AI can help identify relevant case law or appropriate precedent, which can help lawyers make more informed decisions.
Though a case results in anticipation function is not mature yet, its potential is impressive. Thus, an AI-driven legal prediction engine designed by Blue J Legal startup from Toronto boasts 90% accuracy.
AI models’ predictive capabilities will transform how lawyers outline litigation strategies. With more predictable outcomes, more cases will be settled before going to trial.
- Better Legal Service Accessibility
Courts and judicial systems tend to implement process automation. Hence, a wider range of individuals enjoy improved access to justice. Though full court system automation is still a distant perspective, a tendency is promising. And technology already works to break the barriers.
Besides, lawyers previously overloaded with routines can assist more clients and provide faster, more accurate responses to their inquiries. This will bring customer service in legal firms to yet another level.
- Improved Risk Management
AI can help identify and mitigate risks in legal processes, such as potential statutory or regulatory breaches and violations. This will let organizations avoid costly court disputes and regulatory penalties.
- Cost Savings
By automating routine tasks and reducing the need for manual labor, AI can significantly reduce the cost of legal services. The work that took lawyers dozens of hours before could be completed in only a few hours with machine learning tools now.
This will allow law firms to cut down service costs for customers and redistribute free time to deliver assistance to more clients. While companies won’t lose revenue, they will certainly acquire more satisfied customers.
Cons of Using AI in Legal Practice
With a number of benefits Artificial Intelligence offers to legal services, the technology implementation in the legal sphere still has a few drawbacks that law firms should be aware of.
- Limited understanding of context: AI systems are generally very efficient at analyzing and processing large amounts of data. At the same time, they can struggle to understand the context of that data. This can be a problem in the regulatory industry, where the meaning of words and phrases is highly dependent on the context in which they are used. With that, some AI predictions might be questionable and not reliable enough.
- Lack of emotional intelligence: AI systems are not capable of emotions or empathy. It might be a significant disadvantage in legal settings that require a high degree of emotional intelligence and feedback, such as negotiations, mediation, or trial work.
- Ethical considerations: AI systems can be trained on biased data. And this can lead to biased outcomes. It might have serious implications in the legal field, such as the potential for unfair judgments or sentencing. Besides, clients expect to get competent assistance. So when it comes to AI predictive analysis, it needs double-checking to match the requirements of competent legal practice.
Implementation cost: AI systems can be expensive to develop, implement, and maintain. This makes them less accessible for smaller firms or non-profits.
The Future of AI Technology in the Legal Sphere
Obviously enough, the potential of AI technology has not been unleashed to the full yet. It will continue to improve and transform the regulatory sphere. While machine learning systems will handle routine paperwork, lawyers will get more time for more complex analytical tasks.
Though a lot of low-level roles are expected to be automated, AI won’t replace human lawyers. It will rather complement legal skills and promote the creation of a more effective and productive legal environment.
Law firms capable of leveraging Artificial Intelligence functionality will get an edge over those that won’t embrace the technology. So, it’s worth to start implementing AI now to be ahead of innovation in the future.
Lauren Bradshaw started academic writing in 2003. Since then she has tried her hand at SEO and website copywriting, writing for blogs, and working as an academic expert at professional writing companies. Currently, she is working for a professional essay writing service CustomWritings. Her major interests lie in content marketing, developing communication skills, and blogging. She’s also passionate about philosophy, psychology, literature, and painting.