March 2, 2020
At first, you might find the idea of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning being associated with Law very unlikely since both the fields appear to be poles apart. Well, the truth is far from it; today, Artificial Intelligence or AI is on the way to transforming the legal profession in various ways, helping Law firms manage their operations as well as augmenting and reducing many of the tasks that were previously relied upon humans to do, saving precious time and manpower that can be otherwise used for more productive tasks.
Artificial intelligence, on the base level, aims to develop and find ways to reduce, manage and execute laborious tasks for different industries, automating many of the operations that would otherwise require human input. These solutions are found to greatly improve the speed as well as drastically reduce the errors, hence improving the accuracy.
Whenever a new technology is introduced to the World, every sector and industry are offered the possibility to adopt that to enhance their operations. One example is of computers and how they quickly grew in use, taking over many of the manual paperwork, and how they have become essential today in almost every office and profession. Law firms are no exception to that, where technology has always been forefront and finds its way into supporting the lawyers, paralegals, researchers and clients alike which are associated with the profession.
Through this article, we will be looking at and discussing the different ways in which AI and machine learning are applied specifically in the legal profession for the streamlining of their operations and work processes. Let us start by briefly understanding what artificial intelligence and machine learning truly are.
What is AI and Machine Learning?
The term Artificial Intelligence is meant to describe intelligence exhibited by machines that try to copy or mimic the human cognitive in certain ways, such as problem-solving and learning. This concept is widely being accepted and utilized to substitute those tasks that require human intelligence.
Machine learning denotes the phenomenon where computers are fed with data sets and are made to analyze different patterns from that data, learn from there and then use that learning to gain useful insights. Different algorithms are involved which aim to let the computer carry on the task without the need for human intervention.
The Impact of AI on the Legal Profession?
There is no doubt that AI has already started impacting the legal sphere in ways you might have noticed as well (if you belong to the profession, that is). Research has shown that a lot of manual work required in Law firms have been substituted by artificially intelligent machines. Since the operations are greatly improved and streamlined, as per different studies, Law firms have no choice but to embrace this new wave of technology and accept AI and machine learning in their daily operations. Below, we describe some of the different applications that Law firms have found with AI.
A great part of any legal proceeding is the amount of documentation that needs to be skimmed through to find the relevant material, which requires a team of paralegals and hours and hours of precious time. Firms have adopted AI software that helps to analyze documents and flag the ones that are deemed as relevant.
Once the relevant documents are shortlisted and flagged, machine learning comes into work and uses the learned algorithm to find similar documents that can be of use, out of the millions of papers, proceedings, and dissents. This ensures that all the legal research is done very efficiently and in a comprehensive way, covering a whole lot more data. Natural language processing or NLP is also applied to further analyze the documents to aid the research.
This is hectic work, where legal professionals are required to perform exhaustive background checks and go to lengths to uncover information regarding their clients or on their behalf. These facts and data are then evaluated for better decision making and are used to support their cases and giving sound counsel to the clients. This tedious work is fast being replaced by artificially intelligent systems, which help perform most of the due diligence more efficiently and accurately.
Often, clients come for legal counseling to review contracts and to check and identify if any issue or risk is associated with that contract. Sometimes, contracts can be misleading and have a negative impact, and legal professionals assist their clients to avoid just that. AI can be used and is being used, to analyze such contracts in bulk and made to learn to identify such situations quickly with fewer human errors, avoiding any mishap.
Since computers and artificially intelligent systems have access to huge amounts of trial data and years of documentation, pattern recognition, and machine learning comes into play in the analysis of all that. These insights are then used to predict outcomes for similar cases as well as finding answers that could have otherwise taken days to arrive.
According to recent research, many and more of the legal roles will be automated and be replaced by artificially intelligent systems. The time is ripe, therefore, for Law firms to accept and embrace this new technology change or watch as others who do fly past.
Already, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, hand in hand, are transforming the legal sector where organizations have come to realize that technology and innovation is the key to success. Already, these intelligent systems have showcased their superiority over humans, statistically speaking; numerous reports and studies will tell you just that. Especially for Contract management and legal research have shown a lot of promise.
Even though some would argue that manually reviewing documents can prove to be accurate and humans can compete with the threshold that is left by the machines, there is no doubt about the fact that AI systems are proven to be no match when it comes to speed. They get the work done in hours which would have otherwise taken a team of paralegals to perform in days!
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