Automation in the legal sector

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the way that lawyers do business. For some, the development of AI technology signposts a positive change in the industry, while for others, it looms in the near-distance like an asteroid on a collision course with the traditional legal practice.

However, as advancements in technology grow more frequent and client demands shift to mirror modern life, staying in the dark in regards to new solutions could see you falling behind the competition.

Understanding how new tools and techniques can drive productivity in your firm is the first step: but which technologies currently exist and how can they help enhance your service?

How AI technology supports the legal industry

While ROSS, RAVN, Cara, Kira and Lisa may sound like the names of off-brand X-Men, they are in fact the AI bots that have been instructed by lawyers to assist in process driven tasks such as legal research, case management and the reviewing and drafting of legal documents.

Since the law is, in most part, constructed from the written word, technologies that involve Natural Language Processing (a software able to read natural language) can prove incredibly practical for both a lawyer and their clients in producing accurate documents and reviewing contractual agreements.

In the last five years, the legal industry has dipped its toe in the waters of Artificial Intelligence technology to explore the potential it has in creating a strategic advantage through a modern and efficient service.

Rather than rising up and making lawyers redundant, most firms have found their new artificial assistants to be particularly beneficial in simplifying tasks as it allows them the time to focus on the strategic elements of a case as opposed to the procedural aspects.

How will Artificial Intelligence change the legal industry?

Integration of automation in the workplace is already proving beneficial to many law firms and in some cases, pushing more legal professionals towards developing irreplaceable skills.

Lawyers should rest assured that War of the Worlds isn’t waiting around the corner, and AI robots aren’t making secret plans to topple our species. However, as Artificial Intelligence software becomes increasingly sophisticated, the list of applications of AI in the legal industry continues to grow.

Since AI has the ability to analyse vast amounts of data and pick out key figures at the tap of a button, Artificial Intelligence may soon assist lawyers in predicting case outcomes by consuming and assessing large chunks of information and identifying the most probable result. This has already been used successfully by a London personal injury practice to predict the best time to settle a claim.

But is this enough to change the legal industry as we know it, and how will jobs in the profession be affected?

From a business perspective, AI has the potential to drive down the costs of paralegal staff employed with the sole purpose of taking on the “grunt work”. If the need for assistants to take on secretarial duties is replaced by Artificial Intelligence, this may lead to more valuable early experience for graduates and professionals at the start of their career.

Rise of the robots: what does this mean for legal professionals?

While automation in the legal industry may still be in its infancy, early indications suggest it will treasure rather than replace talent and drive profitability through enhanced productivity.

For lawyers who want to provide a high-quality service to their clients and focus on finding and implementing solutions that meet their needs, forms of cognitive computing such as predictive analytics and natural language processing can be practical, time-saving and cost-effective. However, for those who simply wish to centre their career on the process-driven elements of the job, fear of replacement may not be so far-fetched.

If you are eager to stay ahead of the curve, now is the time to consider how AI can complement your legal service and transform the way you work.