Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Field
Over the last few years, an increasing amount of law firms have announced that they will start using artificial intelligence (AI). However, for many it may still be unclear what the concept of AI includes and what kind of possibilities it has to offer especially in the legal field. This article aims to give an overview on how law firms can take advantage of AI and chatbots to support their daily work. At the end of the article, the possible impact that AI will have on the legal profession is shortly discussed.
Definition and benefits
There is no exact definition of artificial intelligence (AI). According to TechTarget, AI can be defined as “the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems”. The processes that are referred in this definition include learning, self-correction and reasoning.
Firms in the legal field can naturally adapt AI for many different purposes depending on their needs. One practical example is to use AI for invoicing. If a firm receives for example tens of thousands of invoices all over the world every year, using AI for reading the incoming invoices and accounting their contents to the right cases can save a lot of time. In principle, AI could also be trained to read authority reports and monitor deadlines from them. (Tekniikka & Talous 2017.)
A third possibility for reducing workload in a law firm could be using chatbots. Chatbots use AI to answer simple questions and simulate human conversations. Chatbots can for example take care of dealing with potential new clients. A chatbot called “Parker” had over 1000 conversations regarding basic questions on data protection and privacy on its first day at work (Financial Times 2018). Having someone to answer basic questions around the clock seems like a perfect solution for a busy lawyer. Using chatbots can benefit both large and small businesses.
Legal Technology Survey Report
In 2018, American Bar Association (ABA) published a Legal Technology Survey Report. The report provides at least a general idea of how common it is to use AI in the legal field. The survey had 900 respondents from US. According to the report, only 10% of lawyers used AI-based tech tools for their legal work. The study showed that the use of AI was greater among large firms with over 100 attorneys. Smaller firms were uncertain over what benefits AI offers, and most of solo lawyers and lawyers at boutique law firms had no interest in purchasing an AI-based software. Similar surveys have not been conducted in Europe yet. However, it is likely that the results would be similar at least to the point that larger firms are usually the first ones to adapt new AI based tools.
AI cannot be mentioned in the legal context without discussing its possible implications for the legal profession. What will happen to lawyers if AI will soon take over some of the routine work? Future development is of course hard to predict, but it is hard to believe that AI would put lawyers out of business. Most likely AI will help lawyers to work more efficiently. Instead of using way too much time to answering routine questions and doing other “simple” tasks, lawyers can focus on counseling, analyzing and advocacy (Law Technology Today 2018). In this way, lawyers can also provide more value to their clients.
It can be concluded that even though teaching AI requires time and effort, the results make the processes much more efficient and eliminate a lot of time-consuming routine work. The possibilities of AI in the legal field are limitless. Currently, use of AI seems to be greater among large firms. However, especially chatbots can benefit also smaller law firms by letting lawyers focus on higher-level tasks. AI benefits both lawyers and clients. It is important not to ignore advancements in technology that could improve legal services. AI is becoming very important for the future – also in the legal field.
Each of LexDellmeier’s trainees is assigned a theme that he/she will work on during the whole trainee period. This article is written by our former trainee, Hanna Lahtela, as a part of her overall trainee project. At the end of her traineeship, she prepared also a presentation on the main findings of the project for the entire LexDellmeier team.
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