All Rise for the Robots: What Legal Services Must Consider Before Using AI
Prediction: you're inundated with emails, socials, and updates on the newest AI updates. And honestly? You may not care. But maybe you're curious: how does this impact me? Does it? We're breaking down the ways in which AI can help your law firm succeed...and what to be leery of. (BONUS: links to beneficial legal AI tools at the end!)
Back in February, we took a look at the pros and cons of AI (Artificial Intelligence), specifically as it pertains to the ChatGPT phenomenon. General in nature (we also explored the definitions of AI), that blog post took a look at the implications AI might have on industries as a whole with a minor nod to how it might change our world here at Centre Technologies. Then on Tuesday, you read how Centre is implementing precautions when using ChatGPT in our company.
Over the past couple of months, we have seen an explosion of emails, tweets, and updates on the different AI generators taking the world by storm and it got me thinking... how is it going to reshape the way we live our everyday lives and especially how we run our businesses? It's going to look differently depending on the industry you work in but honestly, there have been some interesting conversations around the legal industry. Let's explore why.
How Does AI affect the legal industry?
Did you know there are more AI predictive indexes than ChatGPT and Google Bard? In fact, as of this month, there are billions (yes, you read that right) of AI tools and its industry is exponentially growing at a rate that by 2024, the the AI market will grow to over half a trillion dollars.
The legal industry will not be immune from this sort of expansion. These "bots" are able to produce immeasurable amounts of content, including sophisticated research, contract writing and review, and even analysis of documents for Due Diligence and Litigation purposes that used to require highly trained employees to accomplish. While there are some dooms-day level thoughts that this fact might incite, there are some major benefits to using AI in your law firm.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Sector
E-Discovery and Research Abilities are Doubled
Whether you're scanning electronic information or digging into databases for regulations, jurisdictions, and statutes, AI is your new best friend. Lawyers can scan documents for e-discovery using specific search terms like dates or geographic location and the AI tool will automatically spit out information (which is a lot faster than scanning hard copies). Additionally, AI software quickly scans your research databases so you can update yourself on precedents faster. Both of these options afford you comprehensive and efficient solutions, saving you time and your clients money.
Streamlined Due Diligence and Litigation Analysis
Due diligence and litigation analysis both require assessing large amounts of content such as contracts and precedent-setting cases. AI can go through documents in seconds and recommend the correct analysis based on thousands of touchpoints within the document. While you always need to keep in mind that there are ethical obligations n when reviewing documents (see, your job is not completely taken over by AI), but it is a tool to help review your documents faster. This drastically reduces the time and need for manual effort of document review and analysis, perhaps even giving you the extra time to make sure you're competent on the subject. You can even focus on client-focused activities to help build relationships during your case.
PRO TIP: More and more lawyers are using the tool Diligen to streamline their due diligence process.
Document Management and Automation
The age of paper documents is slowly fading away. Electronic (not even AI) tools are just easier to use and filing systems become streamlined in a more productive way. However, sorting and filing through those electronic documents can still be a chore. AI-powered document automation is revolutionizing the organization and management of contracts, case files, notes, emails, etc. Clio.com says "Document automation helps law firms create documents using intelligent templates; legal professionals can automatically fill form fields directly from case records into the templates, saving time and effort. Legal document automation provides a centralized and efficient process for producing letters, agreements, motions, pleading, bills, invoices, and other legal documents."
PRO TIP: Clio.com also offers an AI legal document automation service to easily manage your documents. Furthermore, if you're looking to protect all of your data in one place, contact Centre for help migrating to the cloud with Azure solutions!
"Judge-Bot" Analysis (Predictive Outcome Analysis)
Recently, firms have been using AI powered tools to predict legal outcomes based on research, evidence, and the likelihood of winning based on those combined factors (and some statistics as well). This "predictive justice" allows each attorney to decide if "they should take a case on contingency, or how much to invest in experts, or whether to advise their clients to settle" says Business Law Today (from the American Bar Association). Furthermore, similar AI tools are used to predict counter-arguments once an attorney decides to take the case. Combined with said "predictive justice," firms can increase the chances of client success.
PRO TIP: Companies like Lex Machina use machine learning and predictive analytics to draw insights on judges and lawyers to predict behaviors for their clients. If you want to join the debate, consider the following studies in favor of predictive justice.
So what is the overall benefit? Firms which use AI correctly within their practice can offer services for a lower cost with higher productivity and with higher odds of "favorable outcomes in litigation."
Disadvantages to Using AI in the Legal Sector
According to Law.com, "A new survey by LexisNexis found that many lawyers are aware of, and have used, generative AI tools. But many also have mixed feelings about what this growing technology means for the legal market." This is understandable. We're still in the relative unknowns. But what could be the downside to this booming AI phenomenon? There's really only one, and honestly, for someone who values logic and knowledge, it's really the only downside to consider: AI cannot always account for the nuances of the law.
Sure, it will give you a best analysis based on what the internet knows, but beyond that, AI tools didn't sit in countless lectures at law school to account for their knowledge. They're limited to their given data/information (as oxymoronic as that sounds) and are untrustworthy beyond what that particular AI tool has access to. In fact, ChatGPT is only updated through 2021, leaving countless court documents unavailable to scan for your purposes. AI tools will do their best, but in the end, they're not always a trustworthy source for interpreting the law beyond its black and white nature. It needs a check and balance, one of thinking and not computing sort...one of the human sort.
That's your job.
Ethical Considerations When Using AI
American Bar Association Model Rules
Don't forget an attorney's obligation to be a "competent representation to a client." Allowing AI to be the basis of your litigation could prove to sway you away from your own competence and into a sticky gray area. It also begs the question: is AI really competent? Or is it their designer who provided it to them? It's the classic chicken before the egg and this ethical consideration leaves you with more head scratching than a clear answer.
Humans build machines and humans will always be inherently biased. If similar biases were found in tools that lawyers use to predict the outcome of cases, it would be equally concerning. We often consider our current legal systems biased and since the data these systems use is from our current legal system, the danger of similar biases in our legal system’s predicted outcomes seems all too real.
If an AI predictive index produces an incorrect or biased result, who would be responsible? The lawyer or AI? Clio.com offers the following conclusions: "For example, imagine if a prosecuting attorney uses an AI solution, but the defending attorney does not. If the AI-powered solution helps the prosecutor win, is the defending attorney liable because they didn’t use all the tools available to defend their client competently? Conversely, if the lawyer AI solution fails, is the prosecuting attorney liable for using it?" These questions remain unanswered.
The unknown is a scary place to rest. On one hand you have innovation, discovery, and expansion glittering in your eyes to be the first to win a case with the use of AI. You are a groundbreaking trailblazer in a new field! Yet...on the other, a prolific and looming gray question rests overhead: what if? What if we become so reliant on this tool that they no longer need...? Without an answer, perhaps we lean more on the understanding that the value of humanity is just as important as the innovation of technology. Either way, AI seems to be nowhere near replacing attorneys...yet.
AI Tools for the Legal Industry
Free Law Libraries and AI Research
- Fastcase for case law, statuses, regulations, constitutions, court rules, and law review articles
- CourtListener for legal opinions
- Caselaw Access Project for book published case law
- FindLaw for Supreme Court decisions
- Legal Information Institute for an online legal encyclopedia
- Casetext and Ross (paid subscription) for AI assistance
Sorting and Organizing Documents
- HighQ for sorting files without needing to manually examine them
- iManage for document and email management
- Kira for identifying, extracting, and analyzing text from contracts and other documents
- Luminance for Legal Due Diligence
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