The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on the rise ever since it entered the commercial lexicon approximately a decade ago. We define AI as “the ability of a digital entity (read: computer), or a digitally-controlled robot, to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” From robotic process aided legal assistants to mobile-based natural language processing, AI has played a role in many industries, and is just getting started in law.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in its infancy in law. Legal professionals are turning to AI to make their work less tedious and rote, perhaps one of the most common reasons for leaving outside counsel practice. Through AI, law firms can increase their productivity, as it helps in the speedy execution of process driven work, saving time and money.
As with most adoption curves, adoption of AI has been but increasingly accelerated as we move transition from the late stage “early adopter” phase to the “early majority” phase. Every business should be prepared for that.
Here are a few areas to think about for AI in your firm as part of a technology-enabled law practice management system:
Effective legal research: AI can bring about unprecedented change in the areas of legal research. The technology helps to identify areas relevant to keywords in your search, much like Google aims to get you the best search results with its indexing machine learning.
Process automation: AI helps lawyers avoid non-billable tasks, poor time tracking and late invoicing among other issues that rely on mundane, repeated tasks. These problems can be eradicated by the use of robotic process automation, driven by machine learning.
Easy billing process: A significant part of the legal profession, billing can be a Herculean task for the lawyers. Achieving precision in the billing process can be exhaustive for lawyers. Here, AI comes as a boon for lawyers. For example, machine learning can be used to predict billing codes, reducing error rates in invoices.
Compartmentalization of documents: keeping track of innumerous documents is a complicated task that has to be done in the law firms. AI-enabled software can navigate through vast amounts of stored documents, and locate the relevant documents based on key words. A good analogy is your iPhone reminding you to set an 8am alarm, for example, without you prompting the device. It learns what’s most helpful to you, just as a document navigation AI can.
Predict legal outcomes: even machine learning has an impressive data parsing talent, and can go through available court case data to predict a lawyer’s chances of winning a particular case by providing insight into the probable outcome. Just one example. This can be helpful to lawyers when building precedent and understanding the hours required in a given case.
A final point of importance to note, AI will never replace lawyers, but it will effectively enhance their work for law firms brave enough to adopt early. In fact, early adoption could serve as a competitive advantage while peers are set in the “late stage majority” or “laggard phases” of the adoption curve. Integration, costs and training are all important considerations/restrictions, so talk to an expert before you make a purchasing decision. We’d be happy to help, free, if you reach out for a call.