One of the main characteristics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the impact of digital disruption and disruptive innovation on the whole Society and Economy. Artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies are currently being developed at a rapid pace and are increasingly widely used around the world. Their application can improve healthcare, reduce energy consumption, make cars safer and transform the operating models of businesses. AI has also found its way into the legal industry, its adoption could lead to major changes in the legal sector and allow lawyers to shift their focus to higher-value work. This article provides an insight into the ways in which AI is applied in the legal profession.
Applications of AI used in the legal field
There are more than 30 applications of AI currently being used in the legal field, which fall into the following categories:
- Due diligence– In preparation for a business or loan transaction, lawyers have to conduct due diligence in order to confirm the facts and details of the considered matter. It is required for thoroughly assessing a legal situation and advising clients on what their options are, and what actions they should take. The process is a complex one, involving the review of countless numbers of contracts, documents written in natural language. This includes not only the review of those documents, but also compiling and sorting them, which can be very time-consuming and tedious.
Some software solutions are capable of performing a more accurate contract review by searching, highlighting, and extracting relevant content for analysis. These systems, using natural language processing and machine learning, can complete the task up to 40 percent faster when using it for the first time, and up to 90 percent for those with more experience. In addition, some are capable of reading contracts at high speeds in 20 languages.
JPMorgan executed a program named COiN (short for Contract Intelligence) that utilizes unaided AI and according to JP Morgan, extracts 150 attributes from 12,000 commercial credit agreements and contracts in only a few seconds. This is equivalent to 360,000 hours of legal work by its lawyers and loan officers according to the bank. COIN was developed after the bank noticed an annual average of 12,000 new wholesale contracts with blatant errors.
- Prediction technology– AI tools that forecast the outcome of a litigation. This type of technology analyses past legal data in order to provide insights into future outcomes.
The first platform of predictive justice was born in 2019 at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa in collaboration with the Court of Genoa and the Court of Pisa. The project aims to develop a methodology for the analysis of case law by combining machine learning and big data analysis. The Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna is using semantic annotation of court decisions currently in the area of personal injury, separation, and divorce allowance. The aim is to train the algorithm in order to automatically annotate decisions in those matters and then extend the technology to other areas. Through, the analysis carried out by artificial intelligence, the judge who uses it will be able to reconstruct trends, common tendencies, and practices of jurisprudence. In addition, the algorithm assesses the chances of success, the timing of a dispute, and “predicts” judgments.
- Legal Analytics- This is the application of data analysis methods and technologies to improve efficiency, gain insight. These AI tools – using predictive analytics, big data analytics – can sort, search, clean up and analyse legal documents and are helping lawyers make data-driven decisions on which to build their legal strategies such as: whether or not it makes sense to take a case, the probability of a specific motion outcome, how seemingly unrelated cases connect, whether a client should settle or how much a settlement award could be. Lawyers can use data points from past case law, win/loss rates and a judge’s history for trends and patterns. It should be noted that legal analytics applications still require judgment about their inputs and intelligent interpretation of their output.
The Silicon Valley-based Lex Machina initially started as a project in 2006 at Stanford University within the university’s law school and computer science department before launching as a start-up. It began as an IP Litigation research company, now provides legal analytics for law firms enabling them to craft successful strategies and win cases.
- Document automation– The document automation process uses the law firm’s already existing legal documents to generate automated templates, which can be used to produce new legal documents. It is essential for improving and optimizing the way lawyers run their practice. In the legal sector, it provides a centralized process of producing letters, agreements, motions, pleading, bills, invoices, and other legal documents. In general, it helps in creating a high volume of documents in a short period of time while being compliant and maintaining a consistent brand.
- Intellectual property– AI can have a profound effect in the Intellectual Property, as it is traditionally powered by paper, manual searches and lengthy decision-making processes. IP administrative tasks are one of the most time intensive and risky areas of IP. Law firms cover thousands of individual items of IP data, across hundreds of jurisdictions, dealing with thousands of different products. AI technology enables professionals the time to focus on more strategic decisions in their portfolio. It also drive improved accuracy while reducing the risk of IP insight and intelligence moving on as employees do.
For IP professionals, the real opportunity however comes from the insight that AI can provide into otherwise impenetrable and inaccessible volumes of data.
Electronic Billing platforms provide an alternative to paper-based invoicing with the goal of reducing disputes online items, more accurate client adjustments, (potentially) more accurate reporting and tracking, and reduced paper costs. Through these platforms lawyers’ billable hours are computed automatically. There is some software that is capable of tracking all activities including emails that are valid for billing.
Eventually, artificial intelligence will automate even more aspects of legal practice. As artificial intelligence, and in particular natural language processing, continue to mature, they will unlock massive opportunities to transform and revitalize the field of law. The technology by automating repetitive tasks is empowering lawyers to concentrate on higher-thinking and more complex operations of their practice.
dr. Andrea Szikora, Lajos Law Firm