Joshua Julien Brouard
05 September 2023 • 8 min read
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Artificial intelligence is going to impact us all. For those of us who've enjoyed our share of film and literature, we often imagine various AI-littered worlds:
Wherever your imagination lies, it's undeniable that artificial intelligence will impact the legal industry, the culinary world, the medical field, and pretty much everything else in our lives.
And as an intellectual property firm, it's an excellent time to explore how AI in the legal industry will enforce change in the long-standing draconian legal system.
I won't get into the precise technical explanation of it, primarily because my major was law, and I couldn't, but also because AI is highly complex, even for tech. professionals.
AI technology (in a very generous nutshell) functions by combining extensive data sets with its intuitive processing algorithm. AI can learn the behavioral patterns of the data from this.
AI can then predict outcomes. Should it succeed, it'll take this as a win and continue to do things that way.
However, if it fails, it will make the necessary adjustments.
Have you ever seen deep learning AI chatbots like ChatGPT ask you if their response was satisfactory? It's like that.
The idea of AI in law excites me as much as that gavel excites this minion.
And there are plenty of ways that law firms can implement AI into their practices. This will save a lot of time and help attorneys focus on more important matters while the grunt work is left to our AI companions.
The way I see it, there are four different ways law firms can implement AI:
This one is self-explanatory. We're already seeing ChatGPT being used as a legal assistant, albeit unsuccessfully at this time.
(In fact, there’s a case that I believe is worth reading about.)
But, there are AI-powered legal research programs that let lawyers quickly scan and peruse extensive databases. The software can evaluate statutes, case laws, and regulations in business law and other niches.
The goal is this:
An artificial intelligence bot will be taking a lot of the routine legal work off the table.
At present, this is the most frequent use of AI in law firms. If you're unfamiliar, this software scans electronic information to get information that isn't privileged about a case.
With this software, you can scan using search terms and get near-instantaneous responses. Consider how long this kind of task might have taken in the past.
(The future really is now, isn't it?)
Yes, you read that right. AI can draft documents and do document review for us.
If any of you work in the legal field, this likely comes as a relief. Although most firms typically have templates they work with, the edits needed to suit the client's requirements can often be extensive.
And while the tools act more like assistants, they can make life much easier.
And we can anticipate in the future, once the kinks in AI tools have been worked out, that they'll be taking over this task, along with document analysis, nearly in its entirety.
Of course, there will always be a need for a knowledgeable attorney to carefully listen to the client's needs, intuit what else might be required, and give the AI information accordingly.
Using extensive amounts of data, predictive analytics can help lawyers make forecasts about the future.
For example, let's say you've just started a new case. Your client is a surgeon who has been accused of malpractice. Using predictive analytics, AI can help lawyers by making informed guesses about (1) how long the case might take and (2) whether an expert opinion will do well under scrutiny. It’ll also make predictions regarding many other significant aspects of a case.
And trust me when I say that AI isn't just making wild assumptions.
It's going through literal petabytes (about 1000 terabytes and about 1000000 gigabytes).
(Legal fist bump?)
As I've briefly covered already, law firms will benefit from having saved time. But this leads to a snowball of other benefits; this includes the following:
See how we at Trademarkia found a way to make the trademark filing process even more accessible with Trademarkia.ai.
I don't think I can overstate just how impactful burnout is. The legal profession is one of the biggest culprits of this, primarily due to the fact that:
It's safe to say that attorneys have a lot on their plate. To practice law is to give up a lot of your free time. As a result, they tend to become entirely burnt out. This leads to decreased productivity.
So, with research, analytics, and drafting tools at their disposal, a significant percentage of their work gets delegated. This means that lawyers have less on their plate and more energy and become more productive during their working hours.
We aren't machines, after all. We should leave that to the actual machines.
And with all this new free time, legal counsels are better able:
When you last went to see your general practitioner, did you feel like you got to say everything you needed? Probably not.
Legal counsels are under similar pressures to doctors.
Okay, maybe we won't have "Terminator-like danger," but AI use has some risks. And you won't go skydiving without checking the integrity of your parachute. So as we dive into the world of AI, we need to take precautions.
And that starts with understanding the risks and issues.
As it stands, popular artificial intelligence chatbot platforms have been under scrutiny for accessing private data to train their AI.
This is just one of the concerns. When it comes to legal affairs, data is often confidential and left solely in the attorney's mind dealing with the case and any hard copies they have in their office.
Putting this information online leaves it vulnerable to hackers and other bad actors online. This data, especially if it's particularly sensitive, can be used for nefarious purposes.
Software developers will have to up their game with the latest security protocols.
Daniel Cooper software developer and managing partner of Lolly, had this to say:
“As AI waltzes into law firms, lawyers need to tango with top-notch cybersecurity. Think of it as a secret handshake between your data and the AI. For the latest moves, look for software developers who prioritize end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication. These are the bouncers at the door of your digital nightclub, keeping unwanted guests out.
Also, ensure they're keeping up with the cybersecurity cha-cha-cha, always updating and patching their software to keep it fresh. Remember, your AI is only as safe as its latest dance lesson!”
And, of course, there are the prevailing ethical issues surrounding AI. Some of it involves our natural human reluctance about change. However, a lot of it has to do with how data is handled.
Like in medical practice, data is handled very carefully in a legal firm.
Maintaining this while concurrently effectively using software that may be tied to the cloud will be challenging.
This is not a risk as much as it's a reality. Attorneys aren't trained in AI use. And so, initially, there will be a massive skill gap. This will require further education and training, ideally provided by law firms in-house.
And as time goes on, law schools can provide this type of "digital education" to law students.
Legal professionals are in for an age where they're less stressed and better able to maximize the quality of support they offer clients. And while AI tools can never replace in-house legal departments and human intelligence, they'll undoubtedly play a beneficial role in providing effective legal services.
AI in a legal firm can help by increasing efficiency and producing cost-saving benefits for the firm and its clients.
Artificial intelligence can't replace lawyers as it cannot replicate human empathy. Attorneys often make decisions based on intuitions, along with facts. AI lacks the former.
While specific roles that paralegals currently occupy may be performed by AI, in their entirety, paralegals will still provide valuable assistance to attorneys that a machine can't replicate.
AI models can often need clarification about how they've made their conclusions. This makes it difficult for attorneys to substantiate their arguments, especially in legal briefs. This can ultimately undermine them.
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Joshua Julien Brouard
Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.