Six ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming law practice

18 Sep 2020 10:00 am

Six ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming law practice

The practice of law is being transformed by Artificial Intelligence (AI). In many ways they are congruent as both the practice of law and AI look to historical examples in order to infer rules to apply to new situations.

Law is essentially a system of formal logic in which truths derived from precedent are applied to the available facts to reach a conclusion or outcome. AI, when used in the practice of law, is essentially the application of machine learning to achieve the same outcome. [1]

Recent research sees the current growth of AI in transforming the legal profession falling into the following six categories:

  1. Due diligence

    Litigators perform due diligence with the help of AI tools to uncover background information. Contract review falls into this category as AI can, “identify contract types (even in multiple languages) based on pattern recognition in how the document is drafted. AI contracting software trains its algorithm on a set of data (contracts) to recognise patterns and extract key variables (clauses, dates, parties, etc.). This allows a firm to manage its contracts more effectively as the algorithm knows – and can easily access – what is in each contract. AI software also offers simple prediction, which has implications for due diligence: AI contracting software can quickly sort through a large volume of contracts and flag individual contracts based on firm-specified criteria.”[2]

    Legal research falls into this category, with AI providing researchers with wide ranging, accurate and intuitive search capabilities.  The adoption of electronic discovery will allow for the processing of vast amounts of electronically stored information, identifying which can be used with certainty as evidence in court cases.

  2. Legal analytics/Prediction technology

    Lawyers can use data points from past case law, win/loss rates and a judge’s history to provide insights from large volumes of data. In practice, legal analytics tools are helping lawyers make data-driven decisions on which to build their legal strategies. This could mean things like knowing the probability of a specific motion outcome, how seemingly unrelated cases connect, or how much a settlement award could be.[3]

  3. Document automation

    Law firms will not only use software templates to create “filled out” or completed documents based on data inputs, for example LexisConvey, but AI contracting technologies could eventually see contracts evolving and essentially writing themselves according to contracting standards and historical precedents as required by parties to the contracts.

  4. Intellectual property

    AI tools will let lawyers and all stakeholders analyse large IP portfolios, allowing them to draw insights from the content and develop strategies based on data that has been processed and cleansed, eliminating any mistakes, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies. [4]

  5. Electronic billing

    Allowing lawyers to accurately log daily activities by the minute and to bill according to different charging methods – namely flat fee, contingency fees or hourly rates – electronic billing also addresses automatic validation and compliance issues.

  6. Visualisation tools

    Insights derived from data analysis are further enhanced by graphic visualisation tools which allow lawyers to scan, filter, uncover relationships and to interpret results, most applicable to the legal strategy required. For example, views indicating whether a case has gone on appeal, whether it was upheld or not and its precedential value based on its treatment in subsequent judgments.

Understanding what AI can and cannot do is necessary for its correct implementation and use by lawyers and law firms. Whatever one’s reservations, there is no doubt that AI is going to transform the practice of law.

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