While legal disruption initiatives such as electronic signature systems are saving the day since the coronavirus outbreak, people tend to pay a bit more attention to the surprising technological innovations AI (Artificial Intelligence) is now able to provide.
Initiated in spheres that are very different from the legal industry, to say the least, AI has successfully colonized a great deal of industries, one after the other, taking under its wing even the great financial services through Fintech.
Now, how far have legal services implemented AI paradigm? What is that technology used for? What is the next step?… In other words: how is AI transforming the legal industry?
Automating The Legal Industry: Tomorrow Is Now
New tech implementation is all the rage in every industries nowadays, for the motto ‘automation is the key’ never ceases to prove day by day its efficiency in terms of optimization. Rhyming with greater savings and higher profitability, AI answers indeed the very needs most modern businesses have, namely: compressing time and other resources for aiming at the usual revenue and even more.
But that is not the end of the story. Some exceptional situations seem to really be a perfect match for what Artificial Intelligence has to offer.
Helping to cut expenses for letting labor force focus on a higher added-value set of tasks, that lot of features is a bless for most of ‘survival of the fittest’ activity models, especially during economic recessions.
Pandemic economic consequences will say no different, considering the difficulties administrations had to face for adjusting their processes to new social distancing policies.
Besides, a great number of slow-motioned industries, traditionally reluctant to technological innovations, have surprisingly benefited from that approach.
We can say that much about the legal industry, which is no exception to the artificial intelligence level up process.
Economic Outcomes And Social Consequences
Considering legal advisors are costly for most people, it is pretty common to see modest social classes struggle with legal matters.
The main issue there lies in the fees a lawyer charges per hour. Therefore, even for low added-value legal processes, the offer may not meet as much demand as it could.
By automating a great number of tasks, law industry players have got to realize that it is still possible to answer the needs of a high standard market while creating sources of passive incomes, to some extent.
As stated in a 2018 report titled ‘State of Corporate Law Departments‘, written by CLOC and Acritas, 41% of the interviewed said law departments now consider technological implementation as a ‘way to simplify workflow’.
Data Mining Power For Predicting Outcomes
Lawyers are thus among the ones who can enjoy the new opportunities offered by AI.
Be it for reviewing conformity of the documents that shall be used throughout a case or for producing casual information that still remain handy for organizational purposes, while not being cost-efficient from a human resource perspective, AI allows all sorts of tasks to be automated. This approach leads to save employees a substantial amount of time that can thus be spent in a wiser manner, a money making one that is.
But what truly makes that tool born from computer wizards hands a game changing factor is its ability to process a great amount of data in a very short period of time with no error.
Statistical models making great use of probabilities can therefore be used at ease by paralegal staff for devising possible outcomes and related strategies to overcome potential problems.
The pattern detection features, offering their users insightful ways to figure out trends, is also to be counted among the various competitive advantages artificial intelligence provides.
Broadly speaking, the whole legal sphere seems to be able to improve its daily life quality at work as police departments, judges and specialized jurisdictions tend to use more and more AI powered software. In terms of applications, those choices lead for instance to:
- Automated summarizing data from crossed statements (gathering insights from different witnesses for example);
- Automated legal precedents datasets creation;
- Automated conformity check (ensuring the absence of inconsistencies compromising important legal elements such as names, dates of birth, signatures, etc.).
- Automated and schedule reporting tasks (helping to devise possible outcomes for a case);
The Next Step: Towards The ‘Smart Legal Systems’ Era?
If the legal industry has been moving forward pretty fast on the last 10 years, and even more during the last 2 years, its evolution is far from being achieved.
According to Professor Susskind (the very same who predicted in 1996, through ‘The Future of Law’, the use of emails by lawyers while they were very doubtful about it), who precises his thoughts in his recent book titled ‘Online Courts and the Future of Justice’, we have yet to reach a more interconnected situation.
Labeled ‘Smart Legal Systems’ by research scientists, systematic and evolving software products, nurtured by cases, are already dealing with a variety of social issues, as the team led by Shahmin Sharafat explains in its article titled ‘Data Mining For Smart Legal Systems‘.
Extracting data, those systems have been analyzing in Pakistan, since 2017, a great number of documents for establishing richly annotated series of datasets in a matter of hours, and even minutes in certain situations.
Now facing a technological revolution that used to be discreet, the legal world seems to benefit greatly from AI implementation.
Far from reducing the role given traditionally to humans law practitioners, it allows it to evolve towards a higher added-value set of skills that are beneficial for both clients and professionals.
Beyond that fact, it is pretty clear that AI is there for a while, but the question remains: what is indeed the next step?