Is AI in the Legal Industry a game changer? Here’s what you should know!
Over the years, we’ve seen many new technologies bringing profound changes in many areas of our lives. The advent of the internet, the emergence of smartphones, or the Internet of Things (IoT) have helped transform and shape the world that we live in. But none of these innovations and advancements seem to have the kind of power and potential that AI holds at the moment. What was once considered a utopian idea straight out of a Sci-Fi movie, has now become a reality that is leaving its mark on nearly every industry and area of activity.
Today, AI applications have become mainstream and AI in the legal industry is going to be a game changer. From voice and image recognition to chatbots, predictive analytics, or natural language processing, AI technology is used by millions of people around the world every day, although most users are not even aware of it. Some industries were quicker than others at adopting AI solutions, but it appears that even the sectors that are known for being traditionally resistant to change are now ready to embrace AI capabilities.
Such is the case of the legal industry which despite its reluctance to innovation has taken important steps towards digitalization in recent years, with more law firms making use of tech tools and solutions in their daily operations and online legal services such as Personal Injury Claims Care becoming increasingly popular. Now, it’s AI’s turn to drive further changes to the practice of law and bring a breath of fresh air to the industry.
What is AI?
The hype around AI technology and its applications has grown considerably over the past few years, to the point where everyone has become familiar with the term. But the fact that AI has become a buzzword in the tech world doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of people have a good understanding of the concept, which is why it’s important to provide some clarifications in this respect.
AI, short for Artificial Intelligence, refers to the ability of a machine or computer system to simulate human intelligence through programming. In other words, this technology concerns itself with teaching machines to perform certain tasks and operations that up till now required human intervention. The term AI can be attributed to any machine or device that mimics human thinking and actions. Chatbots, automated candidate screening, digital assistants, self-driving cars, smart home devices, or search and recommendation algorithms are all instances of AI applications.
But how do you teach a machine to act like a human being? For a lot of people, the mere idea of having a non-sentient entity think and act just like a real living person sends shivers down their spine. But quick research into the science behind AI technology is enough to tone down the enthusiasm or fear that some might experience. At the moment, AI machines are not as advanced as to replace humans, and according to most experts, the chances of reaching such a high level of independence in the near future are rather slim.
AI systems work by assimilating large amounts of data, processing the information they receive, and then identifying patterns to build algorithms and create predictions about future situations. That’s what allows AI systems to mimic human interactions and make smart decisions. So, even though AI-based machines are becoming smarter, faster, and more skilled by the day, they lack human insight and contextual awareness, as they’re not intuitive or emotional. That means there’s no real reason to believe that AI will ever render humans redundant.
How Does AI Integrate into the Legal Landscape?
Now that we’ve cleared the smoke around what AI is and isn’t, let’s take a look at how this technology is influencing the legal field. There are different uses of AI in the legal industry, and as research in the area continues, we’re bound to see further AI integrations.
Legal professionals are often tasked with going through tons of electronic documents in order to find information that is relevant to the case they’re working on. Needless to say, this can be an extremely cumbersome and time-consuming activity. Fortunately, AI technology offers an effective alternative in the form of e-discovery.
E-discovery is a type of digital procedure backed by AI technology that gives lawyers the possibility to scan a multitude of electronic documents, by introducing certain terms or parameters, and gain quick and easy access to the data they require. This means lawyers can use the extra time they have on their hands in a more productive way and work on building their cases more effectively.
Closely related to e-discovery, legal research is another instance of AI application where professionals use software to identify and find the laws that apply to a certain case and support the legal decision-making. This includes finding sources of law, searching secondary authorities for information on legal topics, and investigating non-legal sources. AI-powered legal research allows professionals to identify and analyse precedents, facilitating the legal process.
Document Management and Automation
Although law firms continue to be plagued by tons of paperwork as they still rely on physical documents, the trend is moving towards the digitalization of document management and automation. And yet, storing and organizing digital documents also comes with challenges.
That’s where AI solutions step in, implementing tagging and profiling functionalities to make document storage and management less of a hassle. AI-driven software has the capability of organizing all types of legal files, from contracts to notes or emails, so legal teams can keep everything in proper order, ensure the security of their files and find what they need with greater ease.
Is AI in the Legal Industry a Change for the Better?
The use of AI in the legal industry is currently in its early stages, and there are still many questions about this technology that we have yet to answer. However, the success that AI applications have enjoyed so far and the benefits they provide for law firms give us strong reasons to believe that AI is going to gain even more ground in the legal industry in the years to come.