A.I. legislation - A look at the robotic side of law firms

One thing is clear, working alone is no longer an option since the results are way more inferior than having the lawyer and the AI system collaborating


Did you ever realise that your next lawyer might be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system, debating at the speed of light with an AI judge? Well, we’re not quite there yet, so you won’t get legal counsel from your robotic vacuum cleaner any time soon, but things are moving relatively fast.

A few years back, an AI lawyer called LawGeex challenged 20 top US corporate lawyers with decades of experience. The task was relatively simple. They were each given five Non-Disclosure Agreements (standard contracts used in most business deals to establish a confidential relationship). Each lawyer had to review them and identify any issues.

The top US corporate lawyers took on average one and a half hours to review them, and they achieved an average accuracy rate of 85%. LawGeex, on the other hand, completed the task in 26 seconds with an accuracy of 94%. Of course, this does not mark the end of the law profession, but it does raise several important questions.

Just think about all the time spent by lawyers reviewing documents keeping in mind that the error rate increases when they get tired. What if we use an AI system instead? One which is consistent and never tires.

The lawyer’s job would then change to a reviewer who uses his intuition, spot-checks the documents, and validates the AI’s work. Such a workflow reduces the costs for both the legal firm and their clients while also freeing up skilled lawyers to spend their time on higher-level tasks.

But AI systems are capable of much more. Lawyer Bots support law firms and their clients 24/7. The following are a few examples:

  • ROSS, an IBM Watson chatbot, helps lawyers in their research. Users query ROSS using everyday language; it identifies relevant cases and returns the required information. Furthermore, it constantly monitors court decisions in the dead of night and sends alerts when it notices something interesting.
  • BillyBot is a junior clerk robot that provides essential information to online users. It then refers them to free online legal resources, which helps them decide on a way forward.   
  • Automio is an interviewing bot that helps lawyers get the initial information from their clients and services them with the most common requests. It reduces the time lawyers spend on repetitive and lower value work. The clients are, in general, more satisfied since they can get access to their legal documents anytime they need them.

Some of these AI systems even go a step further by representing their clients in simple cases. The DoNotPay bot is a chatbot aimed at assisting people when they get a fine. Even though most governments offer several ways of contesting those fines, in reality, very few people know how to do that. This bot asks the users to give him the required information; it automatically generates a contestation letter and sends it on their behalf.

In the first year of operation, the DoNotPay bot helped around a quarter of a million people based in London and New York. It won more than two-thirds of all the cases submitted, and its clients saved more than Three Million Euros in fines.

Finally, AI can also help law firms peep into the crystal ball of future court cases. By analysing past proceedings, the system can perform predictive analytics on the data and extract meaningful insights. It can highlight the most critical elements in specific situations. It might also identify particular pitfalls which affected the outcome.

Furthermore, it can predict the success or otherwise of the case before it even starts. The amount of intelligence available to law firms that use AI is endless and can help lawyers equip themselves better before taking on a court case.

As can be seen from these few examples, AI lawyers will become instrumental and offer a competitive advantage to today’s law firms.

They will be crucial to make mundane jobs more efficient with AI augmentation (where an AI supports the lawyer’s work). In some cases, the AI lawyer will even take over the case and handle simple tasks. One thing is clear, working alone is no longer an option since the results are way more inferior than having the lawyer and the AI system collaborating. What’s even more important is that clients will now get access to better services at a lower price.

Of course, this change won’t happen overnight, but to gain a competitive advantage, now is the right time to invite AI legal partners to join law firms.

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