The legal profession is about to undergo some major and fundamental changes. New automation technologies are already having an impact across the board—changing how firms intake clients, how cases are analyzed (case prediction software), and how discovery and document review are conducted. It isn’t hard to see that the trend toward automation still has a lot of room to grow within the legal world.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the engineering of making intelligent machines that think like humans and have the ability to learn and adapt. Firms can reap a number of benefits by using advanced AI legal software (robotic lawyers). First and foremost, firms can employ these automated technologies to save time and money, allowing them to focus on the more difficult tasks such as complex litigation and oral advocacy.
No one likes doing document review. A recent study found that software can be more effective than humans in identifying relevant documents, and can complete the task in half the time.
Prospective clients may prefer using robotic lawyers for a number of reasons. People say that human lawyers are intimidating, and use too much legal jargon. Human lawyers are increasingly busy, and don’t have time to meet clients when it is convenient for them. Some clients may feel embarrassed speaking with a lawyer about confidential legal problems.
Recently, author and lawyer Chrissie Lightfoot unveiled the first robotic lawyer, called robot LISA. The purpose of LISA is to negate the time and costs to clients involved in using human lawyers. LISA is completely free, and allows users to create legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in less than seven minutes. LISA is available 24/7 on any device, and requires no legal knowledge or training by the user.
There are some drawbacks to using robotic lawyers. The use of AI in the legal field is novel, and the laws, regulations, and ethics rules have not quite caught up to the technology. Who is responsible if a client gets bad legal advice?
Some firms have already faced criticism for the alleged misuse of legal technology. The New York Supreme Court publically censured a lawyer and his entire firm after they relied on technology to automatically file tens of thousands of lawsuits every year without ever reviewing the files. Their actions were considered professional misconduct.
Although the use of AI is a new frontier in the legal world, the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks in some certain limited situations. At the very least, it is definitely a trend that firms want to stay on top of with an eye to cutting costs and staying on the cutting edge.