Artificial Intelligence: The future of the Legal profession?

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BY Michael Edache


Artificial Intelligence over the last two decades, has provided a number of useful technological updates addressing many of the cognitive challenges practitioners face. There are essentially two main ways that Law firms are augmenting their client care units with Artificial Intelligence. First, in the form of ‘front-end Artificial Intelligence powered software’s and Artificial intelligence assisted human intervention. With the former being a conversational designed computer program which interacts directly with the client. On the other hand, an AI – assisted human agent, is your traditional Legal practitioner who is essentially supported by AI –  technology, a mechanism adopted to reinforce existing client support.


Artificial intelligence has successfully affected the legal profession and its ability of efficiently process data evaluating and analysing information to produce a set of results beneficial to a client’s case or even huge cooperate deals. More specifically data processing tools, analytic and bill management software’s have all contributed to improving the way law firms function today. DocuSign and similar technologies have been highlighted to have a huge impact on a firm’s day to day running. Such services do not only contribute to the effective functions of firms, additionally, they help in saving a considerable amount of time and money involved in the initial signing process enabling the completion of tasks traditionally accomplished by professionals.


The application of Cognitive technologies to niche areas of law which require heavy perusal of document with due diligence, investigations, and compliance related type works is likely to be adopted by law firms. The adaptations of such approach will offer wide-ranging benefits, in the long run, saving a substantial amount on investment and turnover. More exciting for the legal profession is the potential application of Artificial Intelligence to reflect the outcomes of traditional court room legal disputes and proceeding. By means does this suggests a push to eliminate the skill of advocacy, in a much greater light by enabling predictions via automatic analysis of past case records through data mining and predictive analytic techniques Legal Practitioners, predominantly Barristers will be able to reasonably forecast outcomes on an ideal percentage basis resulting in less complex dispute settlements. As suggested such an application would significantly aid lawyers in the general management of caseload, by allowing them to make decisions in the best interest of their clients on the balance of probabilities.


Additionally, with regards to effective client care, another emerging trend in the use of Artificial intelligence is in Client based advisory service. This enables the use of technology to respond to the most basic legal questions providing supporting references and relevant point of contact based on a particular set of facts provided by a client. Although much emphasis has been weighed on the long term cost saving benefits that are accompanied with the adaptation of artificial intelligence in the Legal profession, it is fundamentally important to comprehend the initial resources needed for a legal department to implement the technology. In considering adopting Artificial Intelligence it is impossible not to take into account the significant financial costs involving licensing and purchasing such technology themselves. It is argued that such adaptation will take significant resources to get it running additionally on the downside when effectively running, user cases are viewed to be in the minority, affordable only at the expenses of larger law firms.


Although the rate of technological progress and worker productivity is on the rise, wages are deteriorating, with more firms eliminating jobs, researcher’s estimates anywhere between 35 and 50 percent of jobs in the UK Legal sector could face the danger of being lost to automation in the next two decades.Conservely, the welcoming of AI by Law firms is viewed to generate a number of job roles, including ‘head of research and development’ as the role may imply, such an individual is essentially responsible for hiring coders of artificial intelligence experts, ensuring an all-round understanding of the concepts. The legal profession is still at an early stage of incorporating AI into working practices, but AI systems are now being used by several law firms to provide legal research, data analysis and project management support.

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