Original article was published by Priscilla A. Gonzalez on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Law Firms
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly moved from a scientific curiosity to a tool integrated into a cross-section of business and industry. More than just an automation tool, AI can revolutionize how we get work done. Some professions, such as the legal field, did not immediately see any obvious applications for the new technology. As software developers have revolutionized nearly every other sector, law firms continue to rely on manual processes and older technology. But things may be changing. Law firms are beginning to see multiple uses for artificial intelligence, and we are beginning to see that significant role it will play in the future.
Discovery and Legal Research
One area where artificial intelligence is already showing its value within law firms is discovery. With the help of AI, e-discovery is making the process faster, less labor-intensive, and fruitful. Instead of following the painstaking process of examining every document’s contents, AI can search for the most pertinent information. In addition to reducing the law firm’s workload, it can be more productive, catching things a human examiner may overlook. AI can also improve the process of legal research by searching through millions of pages of law and reviewing similar cases and outcomes. It can do all of this work in seconds, freeing up personnel for other essential work.
Contract review is some of the most essential and tedious work of a law firm. It involves manual analysis, editing, exchanging documents, and repeating until all issues are clear and agreed upon. Artificial intelligence can now ingest proposals, analyze them, and determine the agreeable and problematic sections for the documents. Legal professionals can focus on negotiating differences instead of continuously re-reading and editing hundreds of pages.
In some ways, the law firm is the perfect setting for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Machine learning is at the core of advanced AI, and it operates in much the same way as the law. They both look to available examples to infer rules that can apply to new situations. Because of this, artificial intelligence can do more than research.
Thanks to the power of machine learning, AI can process data and create models to predict outcomes. Given access to the data contained in previous cases, algorithms can look for patterns, rank data points, and determine the most likely outcome of a case. This can help law firms make better decisions about their chances of winning a trial and see the impact of differing approaches.
Adoption of Artificial Intelligence
For good reasons, the field of law is slow and careful in the adoption of new technology. Few law firms are willing to risk their reputations on investing in the bleeding edge of technological innovation. Moreover, as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to mature, they may find a home in law offices. Working alongside legal professionals, artificial intelligence may revolutionize the practice of law in the years ahead.
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