How AI is changing the legal sector
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the legal sector, from how information is shared to the ways in which machine learning is streamlining processes. This blog will outline the ways in which AI is benefiting law firms and how to embrace these trends to gain a competitive advantage and deliver improved service outcomes.
AI enhanced discovery
A digital archive allows you to share information efficiently across the cloud. It also creates the possibility to deploy advanced automated discovery tools capable of transforming how information is accessed and reviewed. Most of these employ some form of machine learning algorithms to comb through archives, looking for information based on limited inputs. Client histories, briefings, reports, testimonies and more can be reviewed for relevant information, cross-referenced with each other and indexed for easy review in minutes.
Currently, machine learning discovery tools reduce review workloads by up to 85%. Irrelevant documentation is removed, allowing lawyers to step in and review only what is pertinent to the case at hand. Assessments suggest that this type of technology can reduce the length of a legal review process by 60%-90% and cut overhead costs by 70%. These programs will only get better the more they are used, enabling lawyers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. This technology is effectively poised to completely automate the tedious aspect of legal research and transform what it means to be a lawyer.
The legal sector should be prepared for what this means to many individual job descriptions. The UK Law Society predicts that automation will replace 67,000 legal jobs by 2038. But, that same report predicts AI and digital technology to create new types of jobs within law firms and cause a growth in demand for legal services — potentially leading to the expansion of 80,000 new legal service jobs within the next decade.
Law firms that embrace this technology are those that will benefit, both in terms of client acquisition and the creation of new jobs. Fundamentally, lawyers enabled by AI and digital technology will be able to focus on the strategic and client-facing aspects of their work — interpreting information, learning about the specifics of their clients and providing depth and clarity to their legal advice. Avoiding the technology on a firm by firm basis will not allow anyone to escape its impacts on the industry, it will simply ensure that your firm is a casualty when the transformation occurs.
Fully automated legal services
Although the main value of AI to law firms will be in expediting discovery, certain types of cases are opened up to the possibility of completely automated legal options. The app ‘Do Not Pay’ is at the commercial forefront of this trend and really only highlights the possibilities when it comes to institutional applications.
Software can be used to score cases based on realistic outcomes, allowing lawyers to direct their time more efficiently. It can be used to automate the creation of forms and other administrative tasks. In all cases, law firms will be able to provide a baseline level of legal advice using fully automated tools that will empower the public and improve internal legal service workflows.
How to make AI and automated legal services happen
The use of AI and machine learning to enhance legal processes is built on earlier steps in the digital transformation journey. You need the ability to generate and store digital forms. If you want to deploy AI case discovery tools, you need to digitise important sections of your archive and relevant case files. You need robust IT network infrastructure that can handle the process intense requirements of machine learning algorithms. Then you need the cultural capabilities to handle the change.
If serious about implementing machine learning algorithms, you should seek outside consultation to make sure that you are making the right network investments. Prioritise scalability and power. Then you need to research the capabilities of different AI software providers. Many of these are focused on particular tasks — due diligence, case review, prediction technology, electronic billing, etc. Make sure you are buying something designed to deliver the outcome you want.
Do the benefits of AI outweigh the risks?
Like any advanced technology, AI comes with risks. On a basic level, you need to make sure that your investments deliver. But, you also need to make sure that your new digital system has appropriate cybersecurity protocols and you are operating business continuity and disaster recovery solutions that will stop you from suffering critical downtime that could damage customer relationships.
AI sits at the top of a digital stack that needs to be built with the demands and capabilities of that kind of advanced processing in mind. This might sound like a challenging task with many points of possible failure. However, if properly deployed, the benefits of utilising AI in your law firm can help your company grow and stay ahead of your competitors. The advantages that come with automating legal services and utilising machine learning discovery tools deliver huge efficiencies that, ultimately, cannot be overlooked. Law firms that ignore AI for too long are likely to be left behind.
The reality is that there are almost as many risks to ignoring AI as there are to adopting new technology — they are simply different risks. Luckily, there are solutions available that make the adoption of new and advanced technology simpler for law firms. To minimise the risk involved in building an AI capable IT system, law firms should seek sophisticated, managed IT partners — both to guide them during the procurement process, as well as to take some of the most challenging maintenance tasks off of their plate.
By investing in the right partnerships, law firms can access the cutting edge of technology with little risk of failure, outpacing the competition and improving their service offering to clients.