Introducing My Next Legal Counsel: Artificial Intelligence Lawbots

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is deeply integrated into our day to day life, many jobs doing simple and repeated tasks will quickly disappear. Advanced jobs that require professional knowledge or experiences would be also replaced by the adaptive deep learning machine and only the top human elites would survive. 

Artificial intelligence would eventually replace lawyers. It is yet hard to imagine how lawyers would be replaced by AI. Lawyers or judges are only as good as the information they receive. AI has the great potential to significantly increase the quality of information they receive and analyze without humane prejudice or personal favoritism. 

AI can take a lot of repetitive tasks and quickly finish them with consistent quality and reasonable judgement. There won’t be any errors with human intervention. Error rate increases when human lawyers get tired or have their personal agenda, but a machine won’t. All administration work in the public offices, therefore, will benefit from AI. 

AI would accelerate the processes of classifying documents and extracting any necessary data from those documents. In the areas of legal practice, AI can easily bolster tax practice first in order to get the best out of both AI and law worlds. 

For example, Blue J is a Toronto-based law tech startup developing an AI-powered legal prediction engine with a specific focus on tax and labor & employment law. Its proprietary technology can predict case outcomes with 90%+ accuracy. 

In the near future, government agencies will also increasingly rely on digital automation powered by AI. Regulatory compliance would also witness AI impact that has started kicking in with automation but it is not in full measure yet.

AI is a fast-evolving strategic technology with tremendous opportunities, but no specific legal framework to regulate AI exists yet. EUI organized a special summer research colloquium on AI and law in the past week. It was a great privilege to get associated with the European University Institute (EUI), a research institute established in 1972 in Fiesole, Italy, by the EU member states. 

The overall motivation of the EUI program was to stimulate the uptake of trustworthy AI in the legal domain. In theory, AI is supposed to be safe, lawful and also in line with fundamental human rights in the statutes. It was helpful to better understand a wide variety of logical methods that can be augmented to the legal analysis of all kinds using a systematic method to assess legal arguments. 

AI applications could pose specific and significant risks to the interpretation of various rules of law designed to protect fundamental human rights, ensure safety and attribute liability. Therefore, the development, deployment and use of AI should be subject to a range of laws and universal principles such as on data protection & privacy, consumer protection, product safety, liability and so forth. 

Some could argue that law is similar to coding as it is codified instructions determining dos and don’ts and ifs and thens. The rules of law are not as straightforward as computer programming, though, and AI can not define what justice is all about. 

AI can be more transformational than mere automation of manual processes that would eliminate many paralegal and legal research jobs in the future. AI will certainly accelerate the judicial processes and reduce the transactional costs. It will make lawyers and judges more focus on the core issues and a human side of lawyering and resolve conflicts faster. 

With $1 trillion turnover globally, the legal services market is one of the largest in the professional services worlds and the stakes are high. Large corporations already use AI-powered contract review and compliance administration. AI will help legal practitioners make more informed decisions but the final decision still belongs to a human domain. AI will help predict the outcomes of pending cases by letting the machine actively learn similar patterns of the relevant court proceedings. 

It can be daunting to lawyers as they go through years of rigorous education and qualification exams to reach a point where they can easily understand legalese. AI lawbots (or lawyer bots) can assist to upload legal documents and get simplified versions of the complicated legal documents in minutes. It is not yet 100% comprehensive, but AI lawbots can help lawyers in the legal discovery phase without wasting time. 

AI lawbots are smart at processing details, summarizing cases and looking up references. AI is not ready to make decisions yet on the cases even if it can help predict the outcome. AI lawbots mainly deal with drafting, contracting, reviewing and editing legal documents that will be immense with the onset of AI in law. AI lawbots will be a trusted companion to help lawyers reduce the manual effort required in any legal proceeding. It will free up precious time for the practitioners to take on more important tasks such as caring for their clients. 

Conventionally legal function has been viewed as an unavoidable cost center and largely overlooked by corporate clients. Though, the legal field has seen lots of innovations in recent years. It represents a significant opportunity for value creation. ROSS, IBM Watson’s AI lawyer or autom.io already support law firms and their clients. Opportunities available to lawyers that use AI are endless and can help lawyers equip themselves better before taking on a court case and offer a priceless human touch to their clients. Current practitioners need not worry about AI taking over their jobs. Considering the size of the legal market, AI will help unlock new value so it is the right time to invite an AI legal counsel to our next partner.