Conceptualizing an iconic question Alan Turing posted in the 1950s, “Can Machines Think?”, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has quite literally taken the business world by storm in recent years. Big and small businesses are jumping on the AI bandwagon, which promises faster, more productive results while also keeping expenses at a bare minimum.
The business world is now defined by professionals striving to become technologically skilled if not already proficient. Businesses are aligning their infrastructure bearing in mind pressing technological requirements. Though business sectors still tend to be wary of the impact that debuting new technological system can have on their day-to-day operations, “business growth in sync with technology” appears to be the current mantra…and this is becoming increasingly evident in legal profession.
The legal industry enjoys an enviable position of being aided and benefited by AI and Machine Learning (ML) mechanisms due to the process-driven nature of their business. Traditionally, aside from aiding clients, making court appearances and negotiating deals, lawyers also spend the majority of their working hours focusing on routine tasks, such as manual timekeeping and legal research. AI offers lawyers a means of solving issues from law firm practice management software to task management and legal billing software.
With the advent of AI and ML technologies, lawyers can now focus more on high-end client interactions and negotiations, thereby, driving the best out of their specialized knowledge and time. The goal is to get lawyers more time doing what they signed up for: practicing law.
For a law firm, few things are as good as an attorney enjoying latitude with sophisticated tasks rather than being tied down by the daily grind of humdrum chores at work. Before we delve deeper into how AI can streamline a law firm’s operations, it would be good to clarify exactly what AI means.
What is Artificial Intelligence and its impact on Law?
It is ardent to encapsulate artificial intelligence into one single specific definition.
However, most will agree that AI capable machines are able to complete those sort of functions which typically require the application of human intelligence. In other words, AI is capable of mimicking some operations of the human mind. As a software model, AI is designed to simulate the thought current of a human mind to carry out elementary operations that can consume a fair bit of time with more productivity and accuracy at a very rapid pace.
Machine learning, a form of AI, is the use of rules and algorithms by a machine, which usually involves employment of data analysis and patterns to draw a particular interpretation in order to complete a task. The way in which ML works is a significant departure from the manual procedures practiced around law firms in the sense that ML relies upon minimal programming to make qualitative decisions.
How does AI and ML work for Legal Tasks?
Much like humans, computers tend to learn and achieve better performance with experience.
ML assists the computers in developing their cognitive abilities by rallying information, examining and understanding the information and making decisions based upon such understanding. As computers grow familiar with understanding a particular information, their likelihood of finding the patterns in the information increases.
From the outset, machines need a human helping hand to correct the mistakes that it may make on its learning curve.
Once the machine develops a deep understanding of the guidelines set for a particular task it needs to perform, the results can be heartening. For instance, in a legal research, it may quickly sift through available information to produce relevant results for the lawyer who would otherwise have to go through tonnes of documents to reach the desired consequence thus increasing efficacy of a business model by saving time and money.
With the development of intricate software solutions such as document management platforms, AI is primed to revolutionize the working culture of the legal industry, making time and billing and other chores, such as case management, a lot easier to handle.
What can Artificial Intelligence do for Law Firms?
AI is constantly surpassing common imagination with every passing second.
The legal industry has an elusive opportunity to reap the rich rewards being offered by AI capable technologies. There are multitude of ways in which AI can explore different horizons for law firms.
Document Management and Legal Research for Law Firms
The efficiency offered by AI in document review and legal research is almost at an unparalleled level. Upon reviewing and flagging relevant document, an AI software can rapidly sort through documents to find other relevant ones resulting into lower workload for law firm employees, who, in turn, only have to review relevant documents.
Legal research is an important ingredient of a successful litigation strategy and by enabling the lawyers to size down their legal research timetable, AI are helping law firm eliminate research costs and saving millions of dollars for businesses.
Contract Review for Attorneys
A big part of a law firm’s business typically involves reviewing contracts for their clients and identifying risks which can prove detrimental to a clients’ business. AI tools have proved to be quite formidable in this aspect. AI software specializing in contract review work towards analyzing contracts in bulk assisting lawyers in redlining them and editing and advising their clients whether to sign or negotiate contracts.
The speed and precision of AI-based tools has led many law firms to sign up to AI managed contract review cycle.
Predictive Analytics in Law Firms
AI powered software of the likes of Mercury ELM are quite apt at making predictions about litigation outcomes in a more effective manner than humans. The use of AI solutions have empowered law firms to approach tricky client conundrum of likelihood litigation success or settlement with vigorous confidence. Designed to drive the maximum out of the business model of the law firm, data analytics-focused software platforms have armed decision makers to employ the best possible litigation strategy.
Due Diligence for Lawyers
By conducting effective due diligence, AI solutions are helping out not only lawyers but also paralegal staff at the firm to perform to the best of their abilities. In this particular avenue, AI has greatly reduced the work of legal support professionals who used to spend major part of their working hours in carrying out due diligence requirements of the clients.
Time Tracking and Billing
In tandem with automation and integrations, AI can facilitate faster and more efficient time tracking by taking its "best guess" at how you've spent your time as an attorney, making billing less of a dreaded end of month chore and more of a daily "quick check." This aspect of AI can filter into better client intake, matter management and overall client experience.
Automatic Invoice Review for Law Firms
For many law firms, adhering to clients’ billing guidelines can be difficult. This can include issues with LEDES formats, UTBMS codes and strict rules on what you’re allowed and not allowed to bill for. Ensuring a clean invoice typically requires human eyes to review and approve an invoice, checking every single line item recorded against complex billing guidelines. With a mix of AI and ML, invoice review can be automated by checking line items against guidelines automatically.
Practicing law firms that have previously shied away from giving a warm welcome to technological solutions are now springing at the opportunity of making commitment toward AI powered business infrastructure.
Automation of legal jobs is no longer a distant reality for legal industry which is why firms are keen to adopt internal AI configuration models. AI is enabling machines to transition from their roles of keyword searching engines to almost at par with lawyers in order to deliver a service which can deemed better, faster and cheaper than ever before.
It is true that the legal industry is swiftly changing and that AI sits at the very center of this monumental transformation.