Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a commonplace technology that helps us navigate our personal and professional lives with greater ease and convenience. Whether you realize it or not, AI impacts your day-to-day activities—from the Live Chat on your favorite eCommerce site, facial recognition that unlocks your phone, to what you see in your Twitter feed and what Google ads appear when you search.
While still in the early adoption phase in many industries, the impact of AI can be seen across business functions—from sales and marketing (e.g., chatbots), accounting, human resources (automated candidate screening) to IT systems management, building maintenance (heating and cooling systems), and manufacturing (inventory management).
Artificial intelligence (AI) is not merely a field of technical innovation and academic study. Despite the legal industry’s long-standing hesitancy to adopt new technology, It’s also becoming indispensable in practicing law and has started beginning to make its mark on law firms.
AI in law firms can deliver significant efficiency and cost-saving benefits for your practice, helping automate routine tasks such as legal research and analysis, document management, and billing. Let’s explore what AI is and how lawyer AI can help your firm thrive.
Application of AI in legal industry –
AI in the legal industry is rife with controversy as well as promise. The fundamental need that AI fills is having access to volumes of legal data at once without the means to efficiently study it and render actionable insights with the available time and resources. AI can quickly sort through mass legal data, make sense of any patterns, and recommend the next steps to take.
In this article, we discuss insights from our research, revealing the different ways in which AI is currently applied in the legal profession and how technology providers are trying to streamline work processes. We break down AI’s current legal applications into the following categories of applications:
The legal industry currently uses AI in many aspects of its work. Artificial intelligence in law firms may not be explicitly noticeable—but it helps lawyers and paralegals do their jobs better. Specifically, AI in law firms helps legal professionals transform their practice by putting clients first in an unprecedented way.
Here are just a few of the ways lawyers can take advantage of artificial intelligence in their firms:
The simplest and most common form of AI in law is e-discovery – the process of scanning electronic information to obtain non-privileged information relevant to a case or claim. E-discovery software allows lawyers to scan documents using search terms or specific parameters, such as dates or geographic location. As a result, lawyers get almost instant responses—which is significantly faster than scanning hard copies. This extra time allows lawyers to discover more relevant information.
Similar to e-discovery software, AI-powered legal research software allows legal professionals to quickly scan and search large databases of regulations, statutes, practice areas, jurisdictions, case laws, and more. With legal research software, lawyers can gather data and help them understand precedents. Conducting more comprehensive research at faster speeds saves lawyers time and saves clients’ money. Tools that integrate with practice management software—such as Casetext and Fastcase—enable users to conduct and attach research directly to relevant case details.
Document management and automation
While law firms continue to become more paper less work environment, electronic document storage has similar challenges hard copy document storage. Electronic records take less physical space but sorting and finding documents is still challenging.
Using tagging and profiling functionality, AI-driven document management software stores and organizes legal files, including contracts, case files, notes, emails, etc. This method of storing and organizing digital files, along with full-text search, makes documents a lot easier to find. Document management solutions also enable connections to other systems like Microsoft Office to easily share files with others.
Document automation helps law firms create documents using intelligent templates; legal professionals can automatically fill form fields directly from case records into the templates, saving time and effort. Legal document automation provides a centralized and efficient process for producing letters, agreements, motions, pleading, bills, invoices, and other legal documents.
Conducting due diligence often requires legal professionals to review a large number of documents, such as contracts. As with other document-related challenges, AI can help legal professionals review documents more quickly. An AI-based due diligence solution can pull specific documents required for due diligence, like documents containing a specific clause. AI due diligence software can also spot variations or changes in documents. The best part? AI can go through documents in seconds. While we recommend still having a human review the data, lawyers can benefit from drastically reducing the manual effort of document review.
Determining the viability of litigation or quantifying the value of a lawsuit requires extensive analysis of precedent-setting cases. Lawyer AI can quickly review those precedents and help lawyers draft more accurate and appropriate documents based on that data.
How can lawyer AI benefit the firm and the client?
Using AI in law firms augments the abilities of legal professionals to do their jobs. Overall, AI helps reduce the time spent on manual tasks, freeing up more time to devote to relationship-building and client-focused activities. Law firms can realize numerous benefits for both clients and the bottom line:
Using AI to automate routine manual tasks helps improve efficiency across the firm. AI-driven processes eliminate labor-intensive, time-consuming activities to boost productivity, whether searching for a contract, conducting due diligence, or creating an invoice. When lawyers become more efficient, they can focus more time on their clients—while increasing the time spent on billable work.
Improve access to justice
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to reduce barriers to justice—most notably, the high cost of accessing legal help. By saving time on manual and routine legal work, lawyers can reduce estimates and costs for clients. For example, lawyers can pass those savings on to clients if the research that previously took 20 hours now takes two to complete. In addition, lawyers can spend the time saved doing tedious research on assisting more clients.
Provide a better client-center experience
The benefits of using artificial intelligence in law firms boils down to one main advantage: giving lawyers and legal professionals more time. With AI-driven tools creating time and labor efficiencies, lawyers can have more time to spend directly with clients to foster meaningful relationships. Ideally, lawyers can go beyond just helping clients solve their legal challenges. Lawyers can get to know their clients better and truly understand how and why they need legal assistance with more time at hand.
By becoming a trusted advisor who takes the time to get to know your clients and deliver an efficient and timely service, your reputation will precede you. By increasing clients’ confidence and trust in you, you’ll generate more referrals and better online reviews. This approach can ultimately lead to more clients and revenue for your law firm.
AI Tools for Law
Lawyers can use several powerful AI-driven tools to help them practice law more efficiently and become more client-centric. Here’s an overview of five key players:
A legal research platform Casetext, is an AI-powered tool that helps lawyers find cases quickly and easily. Casetext also integrates with Clio, so legal professionals can conduct searches with one click, right within Clio, and save the searches directly to the current matter. Also, Casetext analyses cases to ensure they are relevant to the matter at hand.
On the other hand, Casetext’s CARA claims to allow lawyers to forecast an opposing counsel’s arguments by finding opinions that were previously used by lawyers. Users can also detect cases that have been negatively treated and flagged as something that lawyers may deem unreliable.
Kira is a powerful machine learning software that identifies, extracts, and analyzes text in your contracts and other documents.
Kira Systems asserts that its software can perform a more accurate due diligence contract review by searching, highlighting, and extracting relevant content for analysis. Other team members who need to perform multiple reviews of the content can search for the extracted information with links to the original source using the software. The company claims that its system 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.
Kira’s leading machine learning contract analysis technology has helped top teams globally.
Every lawsuit and court case requires diligent legal research. However, the number of links to open, cases to read and information to note, can overwhelm lawyers who have limited time doing research. Lawyers can take advantage of the natural language search capability of the ROSS Intelligence software by asking questions, and receiving information such as recommended readings, related case law and secondary resources.
On the other hand, Legal Robot, a San Francisco-based AI company, currently offers Contract Analytics, its answer to the growing contract review software market. Currently in beta, the company states that its software can change legal content into numeric form and raising issues on the document through machine learning and AI.
A video presenting how the software works states that it builds a legal language model from thousands of documents. This knowledge is used to score the contract based on language complexity, legal phrasing, and enforceability. With the issues flagged by the software, it then provides suggestions on improving the contract’s compliance, consistency, and readability by evaluating it on best practices, risk factors and differences in the jurisdiction.
Fastcase is the leading next-generation legal research service that puts a comprehensive national law library and powerful searching, sorting, and data visualization tools at your fingertips, and it’s available for free to all California Lawyers Association members.
Fastcase offers a collection of cloud-based software for lawyers – Fastcase legal research, Docket Alarm, and NextChapter – for practitioners to accomplish research goals and complete tasks quickly and efficiently in a way that is adaptable to their unique needs.
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