Love it or loathe it: Artificial Intelligence in legal services
Even if AFAs are on the rise, many lawyers still bill by the hour. In this case it wouldn’t be wise in terms of revenue to automate all of the (non-billable) routine tasks, as it might bring some resistance from legal professionals. AI applications could, however, improve the relationship between lawyer and client, as they take work off the lawyer’s hands, meaning the client gets more attention.
AI will also enable lawyers to provide higher quality services to their clients by reducing errors to a minimum, as well as automating a large amount of the organization and referencing involved with documents. It will become an invaluable assistant to every lawyer, and once adoption of AI starts to rise, firms who don’t implement it will get left behind. Lower costs and more freedom to practice law, what’s not to like?
The big question, which has arisen in articles on this subject, remains: will computers eventually replace lawyers? In a word: no. We firmly believe that there will always be human elements in law which cannot be carried out by a computer. While there may be less need for legal analysis, there will be an increased demand for roles such as negotiator or business consultant. For this to happen, legal professionals need to be able to trust these applications completely.
While Artificial Intelligence is transforming ethics in the legal profession, there might be some teething problems when working with AI-powered tools. Because these relatively new technologies are evolving rapidly, new challenges are being created regarding lawyers’ ethical duties. The three most prominent challenges are:
Competence and diligence – Lawyers must understand the basics of how their AI-powered tools work. When a query is submitted to a legal AI-powered tool, the algorithm works its magic and the tool provides an answer. It is crucial for lawyers to know what is going on.
Supervision – Delegating certain tasks to paralegals or junior lawyers requires the lawyer in question to check if the work has been done competently. The same goes for an AI-powered tool. While some tasks simply can’t be delegated to a tool, some can but need the output to be checked.
Client confidentiality and privilege – if confidence is to be placed in AI-powered tools then the system needs to be bulletproof to data breaches and other risks related to client confidentiality.
Main benefits of AI
You have probably heard both good and bad things about AI in the legal profession. In this section we will outline the main benefits of AI for law firms:
Early risk assessment
Improves organizational and logical structure
Enhances Creative Analysis and Identification of Persuasive Precedents
Improves Client Relations
The buzz about AI and its ability to replace lawyers is undoubtedly excessive. As a matter of fact, new roles for legal professionals will be generated, as they have a vital role to play in the drafting of new regulations and laws regarding AI – especially regarding the ethical implications both within the law firm and outside of it.
Love it or loathe it, the creation and rapid developments of AI are unstoppable. Lawyers and their clients can benefit greatly from this upcoming technology and those who get on board quickly will carry the advantage. It’s up to us humans to learn and prepare for what AI holds in store.