Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the Legal Profession

18 Mar 14:00 by Elliot Hoyle


Ask a child what the future looks like and the answer will most likely be that there will be robots doing our work and driverless cars flying in the air. Hasn’t this already started to become somewhat the present? When we talk about A.I., why do we only think of robots, A.I. is already affecting our daily lives in many other, far more simple ways.

The moment we wake up, we start interacting with A.I: on our smartphones when we ask Siri what the weather is like today. Or when we order an Uber to go to work or use Google Maps to check the best route. We understand its growing impact, but do we know what Artificial Intelligence really is? Simply put, it’s the science behind a machine that makes it operate using “human” intelligence.

A.I. is affecting workplaces across all functions, from sales to legal. Some may say that its impact is disrupting, whereas some may argue it to be useful. A.I. is helping legal professionals in many ways such as with research on legal cases. With the kind of A.I. enabled online resources and platforms now available, searching through huge amount of information has become easier to prepare for a legal case. When calculating the time spent with each client, A.I. has transformed time recording programs in such a way that makes generating invoices a breeze (or at least easier than it used to be!).

What has impressed me most is the fact that A.I. has the power to assimilate all data related to a case and can work through it to share predictions related to the outcomes. This can help lawyers to tweak their approach to the best suited result. Now, that’s a smart way to prepare a legal case.

Artificial Intelligence may be making us smarter but the question that we all ask: is it going to replace human intelligence? I read about this system that is designed in US called Wevorce- it’s an A.I. equipped on-line divorce solution system. It allows couples to define the ideal results they want to achieve and then the system will show them some models to make their decisions. This will not just cut the time and legal cost invested but eventually start to impact legal professionals. Are robots already doing human jobs?

According to Deloitte, 114,000 legal jobs are likely to be automated in the next 20 years. It is becoming hugely important that law firms look to be A.I. ready as part of their long-term strategy and shun their fear of failure. Lawyers can start getting ready for the changing times by participating in an increasing number of seminars and conferences offered in the A.I. space, globally. Universities are adopting A.I. as part of their curriculum, such as the University of Pittsburgh offering its students an Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning Seminar, that will introduce the fundamentals of A.I. legal reasoning to undergrad and post graduate students.

A.I. is the future which has now become a part of our present. The sooner we identify and accept its growing impact, the better prepared we will be for what it will bring next!