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AI in Law: How To Exploit It in the Legal Sphere?

May 2, 2024


Is it possible to significantly reduce the long hours and intense workloads traditionally associated with legal work? Certainly, it is entirely feasible. AI in law, like the system powering ChatGPT, can now read, analyze, and summarize extensive volumes of text in detailed documents and is poised to transform the practice and business model of law.

Research conducted in 2023 by scholars from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University highlighted the legal sector as one of the primary fields susceptible to job transformation due to generative AI. Furthermore, a study released the same year by economists at Goldman Sachs projected that up to 44% of tasks in the legal domain might be automated with the aid of advanced AI technologies. 

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It sounds like AI implementation in the legal field is quite promising, doesn’t it? To be more precise, we’ll explain how law firms, despite their traditional resistance to technology, can deploy it responsibly to save time, effort, and money.

What is AI (concisely)?

In today’s world, the sheer volume of data is exploding. This growth spurt couldn’t come soon enough for legal teams to hunt down every detail. However, sifting through this massive amount of data requires a huge effort and can be quite tedious and frustrating for lawyers. This becomes even harder because they must quickly respond to clients, courts, and regulators.

Fortunately, as data expands, computer technology keeps pace. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can now handle these tasks in seconds through complex algorithms to sort, analyze, and predict outcomes from big data sets, which frees legal professionals to focus on the more complicated aspects of their work.

Generative AI came into the spotlight with the release of ChatGPT by OpenAI in late 2022. This technology generates responses or “outputs” based on user instructions or “inputs.” Trained on vast data sets, which could include text, images, music, or code, generative AI can quickly produce new, relevant content like essays, designs, or software code.

AI in Law

In discussions about AI in various fields, in particular, law, terms such as “machine learning” and “natural language processing” frequently arise. Though sometimes used interchangeably, these terms represent distinct subsets of AI.

  • Machine Learning (ML) as a subset of AI involves training computers to learn automatically from data input. ML algorithms detect patterns, draw conclusions, and continuously improve without explicit programming. Once an ML model can correctly interpret data or a situation, it can generalize this learning to new, unseen scenarios. In legal contexts, AI and ML are often used interchangeably, although ML is a more precise term for the systems currently in use due to its types like: 
  • Supervised machine learning: Computers identify patterns within data sets defined by human experts.
  • Unsupervised machine learning: Computers learn from data without predefined outputs, adapting independently.
  • Reinforcement learning: Computers are “rewarded” for forming correct correlations.

In legal practices, the most effective AI applications combine technology with human expertise, primarily through supervised machine learning.

  • Through Natural language processing (NLP), computers can process and analyze large volumes of text, identify key elements and patterns, and perform tasks such as sentiment analysis and topic segmentation. In the legal domain, document analysis, electronic discovery, contract review, and comprehensive legal research heavily rely on AI technologies, particularly NLP.
  • Robotics intersects with AI but focuses primarily on the creation and programming of machines (robots) to perform tasks. Unlike broader AI and law applications, which include learning and adapting, robotics centers on executing predefined functions as programmed. In law, it can automatize document review, data entry, and case file management.

Related – How to create an AI

Current Applications of AI in Law Industry

Legal work has often been marked as a prime candidate for disruption by AI, with predictions about artificial intelligence replacing lawyers surfacing as early as 2011. However, as time has progressed, this technology has primarily functioned as a support to legal professionals rather than a substitute. 

AI in Law

Here are some of the ways AI is currently being utilized in the legal field.

Legal Research and Document Analysis

By 2025, almost half of all legal tasks will be automated by AI. AI-powered tools can process and analyze vast quantities of legal documents, thus extracting pertinent information much faster than traditional methods. For instance, an AI in law firms can automatically review contracts, identify key clauses, highlight potential legal issues, and suggest modifications. 

Litigation Prediction and Legal Analytics

AI is increasingly being used to predict litigation outcomes. Through historical data and previous case outcome analyses, AI in the law solutions can forecast the likely results of current cases. Law firms then use this information to better prepare for cases, adjust strategies, and develop more accurate recommendations. Ultimately, this allows them to make informed, strategic, and well-thought-out legal decisions.

Due Diligence and Compliance

AI applications are becoming indispensable in the domain of due diligence and compliance. AI tools automate the process of due diligence by swiftly reviewing and analyzing large volumes of data, which ensures that all relevant information is considered without the extensive time investment typically required. Additionally, AI in the law continuously monitors and analyzes changes in regulations and laws to ensure compliance.

E-Discovery in Law

E-discovery in law uses AI to streamline the process of gathering electronic evidence for cases. It sifts through digital pages – from emails and databases to tweets and posts – to search and locate specific words, phrases, or documents. This helps lawyers efficiently prepare for cases, ensuring they have the necessary evidence at their fingertips.

Virtual Assistants and Chatbots

AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots serve as accessible legal helpers, offering information and support around the clock. They interact using natural language to understand and address clients’ needs promptly. These tools quickly address routine client inquiries with accurate and legally sound responses. For more complex questions, an AI in law can guide clients through initial legal steps or connect them with the right lawyer for personalized help.

In January 2024, LexisNexis polled over 1,200 legal professionals in the UK about their use of generative AI and found a significant shift toward AI use since July 2023. Monthly AI usage has risen to 26% overall and to 32% at large law firms. Moreover, 35% plan to start using AI in law firms soon.

AI in Law

Benefits of AI in Law Sector

To illustrate how AI can enhance your law firm and its practices, we identified and pinpointed key potential advantages specific to this area.

Streamlined Documentation and Analysis

Through automated document comparison and sorting, lawyers can more swiftly pinpoint deficiencies or inconsistencies in their documents and legal reasoning. For instance, contract analysis tools that learn from continuous use can identify omitted terms or definitions in standard contracts. Similarly, document analysis tools might uncover a logical connection not yet solidified in a legal memorandum, enabling lawyers to refine and strengthen their arguments. 

Increased Productivity

AI significantly boosts efficiency in the legal sector by automating non-billable administrative tasks—from document management and time tracking to billing and invoicing—that are notoriously time-consuming and dreaded by lawyers. For example, AI can quickly process and analyze thousands of legal documents, extracting key information in minutes—a process that would typically require weeks when done manually. 

Improved Accuracy

Work created by intelligent software – which doesn’t fatigue, lose interest, or get sidetracked- can achieve remarkable accuracy. Specialized document management software can improve and flawlessly preserve the organization of documents, including all internal cross-references, throughout the document’s lifespan. Through document comparison and automated learning, AI solutions can detect missing clauses or conditions, inconsistent terminology, or undefined terms within a single document and across a collection of similar documents.

Risk Reduction 

AI in law firms improves the accuracy of legal work and can reduce associated risks. By automating data analysis and document review, AI minimizes human errors such as oversight or misinterpretation of information. For instance, AI legal law systems can check that all documents adhere to current laws and regulations, lowering the risk of non-compliance. Additionally, AI’s ability to precisely analyze previous case outcomes and legal precedents helps lawyers make more informed decisions, which mitigates potential legal risks.

Accessibility and Cost Savings

Legal services are often costly, putting them out of reach for many people. Legal AI tools are changing this by making legal help more affordable. AI and machine learning technologies streamline the time-consuming tasks that inflate costs, thereby allowing legal professionals to lower their fees. This efficiency enables lawyers to assist more clients, effectively broadening access to legal services.

Enhanced Creativity

AI enhances creative analysis and the identification of compelling precedents. With the time saved from automated reviews, research, and document quality control, AI frees up lawyers’ time and cognitive resources for more complex tasks. This boost in creativity allows lawyers to offer unique contributions and fully engage with aspects of work that computers cannot handle.

Alleviated Lawyer Stress and Frustration

Tasks like document review, proofreading, and legal research can be extremely dull and repetitive. Although these tasks are essential for competent and ethical legal representation, lawyers themselves do not necessarily have to perform them. By using AI legal software to handle the initial heavy lifting, stress and tedium are reduced, lessening the time lawyers spend on basic or preliminary reviews. Happier, more content attorneys are less likely to take sick days or experience burnout.

Enhanced Client Relationships

Building on the benefits mentioned above, AI solutions release lawyers from the drudgery of repetitive tasks, granting them more time for the rewarding, creative aspects of legal work. This includes more effective engagement with clients, full development and explanation of strategies, theories, and possible outcomes, and better information for clients throughout the legal process. Additionally, the improved and more consistent results inherently lead to increased client satisfaction.

AI in Law Benefits

Challenges and Considerations of AI for Law Firms

While AI offers numerous advantages to legal practitioners, it is not without its challenges. Law firms need to adopt AI technologies thoughtfully and be aware of potential issues that might crop up.

When seeking guidance on when and how to incorporate AI into legal work, attorneys can refer to several of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. However, it’s essential to also check state-specific rules for any variations. The ABA’s rules are designed to be flexible across various scenarios as technology evolves rather than being tailored to specific technologies.

Several ABA model rules, which include Rule 1.1 on Competence and Rule 1.6 on Confidentiality of Information, are particularly relevant when working with AI. Additionally, the ABA’s opinions on outsourcing are pertinent to the use of AI.

Competence

The competence rule mandates that lawyers provide competent representation to their clients. Comment 8 under this rule specifically mentions technology, stating that “a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” In states like Florida, this rule is expanded to suggest that lawyers who are not familiar with technology should consult with someone who has the necessary expertise. Lawyers do not need to be AI experts, but a basic understanding of how AI technologies function is critical.

Ethical Aspects

Since AI in the law systems relies on data created by humans, any inherent biases in this data can be mirrored by the AI in its outputs and decisions. For instance, if historical legal decisions reflect certain prejudices and an AI system uses this data for learning, it may unintentionally perpetuate these biases. It is crucial for lawyers to remain vigilant about these potential biases when they deploy AI law tools.

Confidentiality of Information

This rule requires lawyers to take reasonable precautions to protect client information from unintended recipients. This is especially relevant in how data is transmitted, stored, and eventually destroyed when using technology. Lawyers must thoroughly understand the terms of use for any legal AI tool they employ and be aware of how the data they input is managed or shared with third parties. Since many AI tools used by lawyers are developed and maintained by external providers, the rules on outsourcing are particularly applicable here.

What to Ponder Before AI in Law Adoption?

Despite the potential benefits, not every firm is ready to adopt AI in law and legal practice. Common hurdles include distrust of AI (38%), data security concerns (35%), doubts about effective usage (33%), system complexity (28%), limited availability (20%), and other issues (3%).

However, many of these barriers can be addressed. Here are key considerations before implementing legal AI tools:

AI in Law

Step 1. Define the Purpose.

Whether it’s speeding up contract analysis, improving legal research, or enhancing predictive analytics, pinpoint the areas where you face inefficiencies or repetitive tasks. Maybe you aim to save time, boost accuracy, make better decisions, or even cut costs. Once you’ve got a clear picture, you’ll be ready to move forward with AI.

Step 2. Assess ROI. 

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the expenses of acquiring and maintaining AI against the potential advantages. Take into account both the upfront costs—like setting up the system—and ongoing expenses, such as training and updates.

Step 3. Ensure Data Quality. 

Experts know that poor-quality data can interfere with AI’s work. Make sure your data is up-to-date, accurate, and organized to ensure AI in the law can perform at its best.

Step 4. Maintain Compliance and Ethics. 

AI should follow ethical guidelines and meet legal standards. It’s important to keep an eye out for biases that might result in unfair consequences, particularly in sensitive fields like criminal justice.

Step 5. Plan for System Integration. 

Check that the legal AI tools can integrate smoothly with your current systems without causing any disruptions to your current workflows. 

Step 6. Manage Change Effectively.

Adopting AI will change how your firm operates. Strategically plan the transition, keeping your team informed and engaged to ease them into the new system.

Step 7. Choose the Right Vendor.

Select a vendor with a solid reputation and expertise in legal processes. Ensure they can provide continuous support and understand the nuances of data privacy and legal compliance.

AI in Law: Final words

When we discussed the right vendor in step 7, we left out a crucial detail: the right supplier can make a huge difference. Surely, it would be best to have a partner like Relevant Software, which develops and rolls out legal AI tools specifically for the sector and ensures your new tools work smoothly with your existing setup and meet all your needs.

Opting for Relevant Software means you hire AI engineers who really understand the legal landscape and the paramount importance of data privacy and security. Our premium custom software development services include prediction and recommendation engines, smart assistants, and legal AI chatbots. 

Whether you’re just starting with AI in the law or already established, we’ve got something for you. Contact us if you want to seriously boost your firm’s client service and get a clear edge in your practice.

Tags: law


Written by
CEO at Relevant
Andrew Burak is the CEO and founder of Relevant Software. With a rich background in IT project management and business, Andrew founded Relevant Software in 2013, driven by a passion for technology and a dream of creating digital products that would be used by millions of people worldwide. Andrew's approach to business is characterized by a refusal to settle for average. He constantly pushes the boundaries of what is possible, striving to achieve exceptional results that will have a significant impact on the world of technology. Under Andrew's leadership, Relevant Software has established itself as a trusted partner in the creation and delivery of digital products, serving a wide range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to promising startups.

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