Part two in our Legal Technology Trends series
Law firms have always dealt with massive quantities of information and it’s growing every year. In order to be competitive and to effectively serve clients, law firms can no longer only rely on their staff to sort through the minutia of huge quantities of data to find what’s relevant.
Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) systems have become sophisticated and accessible. They can quickly categorize huge amounts of data, flag inconsistencies, perform initial analyses and carry out routine, time-intensive, repetitive tasks. And, most of the time, they can do it more accurately than humans.
Not only can AI systems do all this but with human feedback, they can continuously improve their performance and become increasingly efficient through machine learning. Humans are still needed to verify results and provide context. But, they no longer need to perform the initial repetitive tasks themselves. Instead, attorneys can dedicate their time to strategically using the right information at the right time to further their clients’ goals.
Law firms will be at a disadvantage if they continue to have people perform the tasks that an AI system can. They will fall behind their competition and face mounting costs trying to deal with the deluge of data that is part of today’s practice of law.
Let’s look at a few of the ways AI can increase your firm’s productivity.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing legal research. They speed up results, cutting down the huge number of research hours that cost U.S. law firms approximately $8.4 billion each year.
AI-driven research systems are not the same as the legal research programs attorneys have used for years. A system like LexisNexis is a useful database for searching for statutes and upper court decisions, but it is not an advanced analytical tool. Westlaw was the same until it recently released Westlaw Edge, an advanced version of their database with AI capabilities.
Today’s AI systems quickly sort and analyze unstructured, complex data to detect patterns, including:
- Case files
- Previous court rulings
Ross is another AI legal research system that not only speeds up research and improves the relevance of information, thereby resulting in better results and lower costs.
The quicker that lawyers can access useful information from virtual truckloads of available data, the more time they can spend on strategy at a decreased cost to their clients. A firm not using AI is at a significant disadvantage. Their opposition, using AI, can get the same information months in advance.
Related post: For part one of our Legal Technology Trends series. Read our article on the cloud computing technologies that can help your firm succeed.
Contract review can be both time-consuming and subject to human error, especially when transactions require the review of many documents, like mergers and acquisitions. Every word must be analyzed in order to perform due diligence and sift out hidden risks.
Contracts have certain patterns, and artificial intelligence systems can identify specific clauses and potential red flags. AI speeds up contract review and significantly increases accuracy compared to human-only analysis.
Software for legal contract review has been around for a long time. But its purpose was to organize contracts and store them. AI software, on the other hand, identifies types of contracts and extract key variables, such as clauses and dates. Contracts can be changed effortlessly and safely.
Law firm AI software can also sort huge amounts of data from multiple documents and flag any information that the legal team specifies. This enables quick standardization of provisions and assessment of risks in multiple contracts by identifying clauses that may be a problem.
Even for the most experienced attorneys, there has always been an element of risk in litigation. Now artificial intelligence can give attorneys more information before they enter the courtroom.
AI systems, like LexMachina, analyze data to provide answers to litigation-specific questions. For example:
- The chances of winning a case before a particular judge.
- Which motion arguments are likely to succeed in front of that judge.
- What tactics opposing counsel might use.
- How parties to the litigation are likely to react.
Focus on Strategy
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will never replace the judgment and experience of lawyers. But it is becoming a necessity for sifting and analyzing big data so that lawyers have the information they need to strategize more intelligently.
It can also take over much of the repetitive tasks that were, until now, part of the everyday practice of law. This can help law firms be more efficient, accurate, cost-effective and timelier. It will allow lawyers to spend their time solving complex legal issues rather than focusing on tedious tasks.
Coupling AI systems with legal document solutions will give any law firm a major advantage. Lawyers will have an easier time preparing, as well as more consistent document creation and formatting. Time is money after all.