Can AI and machine learning help lawyers and legal professionals?

AI Android Holding Law hammer

Technology can also help lawyers and legal professionals. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AL) and Machines learning (ML), law firms and the legal sector can be transformed completely in many ways. When allowed, AI and machine learning capability can also take on providing high-level advice and negotiating deals. In fact, they are augmenting and automating several legal tasks, which are currently performed by thousands of legal advisers and lawyers in the U.S. alone. McKinsey & Company, an American worldwide management consulting firm, estimates that AI and machine learning technologies can now automate the tasks performed by 22% of lawyers and 30% of law-clerks in the U.S.

The impact of AI/ML is also growing across Asia.

  • A Chinese’ company Wusong Technology is in the process of digitizing the court functioning with the use of AI-enabled robot-chatbot.
  • India’s leading law firms, including Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, are already using AI for contract analysis review.
  • Won Partnership is one of the leading firms in Singapore. In 2017 it embraced AI technology to support corporate/M&A practice.

So, the legal sector across the world has already started to implement AI and ML in providing their services.
How the legal sector is using AI/ML
Many law agencies are already using AI/ML technologies to perform tasks, such as reviewing documents related to litigation and due diligence, analyzing contracts’ pre-determined criteria, conducing legal researches, and also predicting the outcomes of cases.

Reviewing documents related to litigation and due diligence

Reviewing documents related to litigation and due diligence involves the task seeking for documents. Because these documents contain specific keywords and email transactions between X and Y parties concerning for Z topics in a particular period of time, search parameters can be set to review the required documents. However, this sort of search does not require AI, but using AI can improve speed, accuracy, and efficiency of such document analysis.

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Analysis of contracts

Analyzing contracts involves identifying risks, irregularities, upcoming financial obligations, renewals, expiration of dates, and lots of other things. A law company performs these tasks for its clients. But if the law company has hundreds of thousands of similar clients, it will be a never ending analysis. In result, the process will become slow, less-productive, and error-prone. Of course, it will exhaust lawyers too.
AI can help with both bulk and individual contract reviews. JPMorgan Chase & Co, an American multinational investment bank and financial services company, is using an AI-powered program termed as COIN since June 2017 to interpret contract related to commercial loans. Previously, the company was spending in 360,000 of lawyer-hours in this task, but now it does the same in seconds. The bank also has plans to use the same AI technology to analyze other sorts of legal documents.

Performing researches

Those lawyers, who have done researches with use of Lexis or Westlaw, have in fact already used AI and ML technologies. It has always been a laborious task for lawyers to find relevant cases of the past. But with the AI capability, now the same task takes up the next level.
A case related to bankruptcy required a lawyer to spend 10 hours of research work, but Ross Intelligence, an artificially intelligent system using the power of IBM’s Watson supercomputers, does almost instantly.

Predicting decisions

Lawyers are often asked for predicting the future of a case. Clients ask them that if they bring their cases to their law agency, how like is it that they will win.  Of course, they also want to know the total cost they would require investing.
It’s a difficult scenario even for lawyers with several years of experience. Also, no lawyer has complete knowledge of the relevant data and references that may give a new angle to a case.  But AI can do that in seconds. AI is able to rapidly search for all the relevant data and behalf of that data, lawyers can predict whether a client should take chance of trial or settle the case.
A similar AI system is already in use. London Law firms use the results of 600 cases over 12 months to predict the outcome of the personal injury cases. Indeed, the system has also been trained on 200 years of Supreme Court records.

Does this also mean that AI/ML will replace lawyers?

Because the technology of AI/ML has started to take the place of several human-roles in the legal industry, it’s natural for some always to worry that their profession will also be a victim of Silicon Valley.
To all of them, the answer is-NO, it won’t.
It won’t replace lawyers. The technology is here to increase the accuracy in the legal profession, bring in productivity, and drive efficiencies. Smartly designed AI/ML systems can power a law agency to deliver better results in corporate cases, due diligences, management of contracts, and researchers. The results produced by these systems will be used by lawyers only.
With the help AI/ML systems, lawyers can assure their clients with results and, also predict how much time is required for a specific sort of case. In fact, at a certain point, clients themselves will demand and prefer those law firms, which provide law services through AI/ML driven processes.

Image Credit: Evening Express
Vivek Verma

Author: Vivek Verma


  1. my view is clear. AI may eat up jobs but advocates but benefit that it can make everything transparent is always bigger….

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