With new technology and artificial intelligence (AI) emerging, along with new advancements coming out each day, life as we know it may soon change. New advancements have also sparked the question: How will AI affect law firms and lawyers?
Artificial intelligence has revolutionized everyday tasks, from packing and shipping to fast food service. But, there is a concern about using AI in the legal field. Although the future is still unknown, artificial intelligence currently has been shaping the legal field by increasing productivity and efficiency.
Artificial intelligence will provide automated solutions to everyday legal practice and services. Attorneys will be able to take on more clients as AI helps them increase efficiency and make sure that the legal process is streamlined. Although there are some benefits to AI in the legal field, it also has several limitations, which could hurt a client’s case if used improperly.
What are examples of AI in the legal field?
AI is not new and has existed for the last several decades. For example, the facial recognition software used to unlock your iPhone is considered a type of AI. Other examples of AI include:
- Chatbots: Chatbots are a type of AI that assist with customer service. The most common example of a chatbot is Chat GPT. Currently, several law firms use chatbots to answer any immediate questions that website visitors may have, such as how to book a consultation, and how to get in touch with the legal staff. Currently, Chat GPT could assist by providing general legal answers to questions, along with providing general blog posts for law firms that law firms could use on their site. However, chatbots’ current capabilities are answering general questions, and are not updated with current laws and regulations.
- Smart compose: Smart compose is a type of feature provided when drafting emails. AI is used to quickly compose emails and make sure that it is grammatically and contextually correct. Attorneys may use this to efficiently compose emails when communicating with other third parties, or their clients. This feature also suggests phrases or keywords as you type the body of the email.
- Recording: Currently, AI programs such as Google Recorder and Otter.ai is used to transcribe speeches in real-time. This could be especially important when attorneys transcribe their client’s statements during a consultation, in a deposition, or when witnesses provide testimony in court.
- Human resources: AI has also been known to provide automated candidate screening, which assists law firms when determining what type of candidate is right for them.
- Legal research: AI powered legal research programs allow attorneys to find quick answers to their search results when it comes to case law and case history. This not only cuts off a large portion of the attorney’s time but allows the attorney to save money for their client. Examples of AI-powered legal research programs are Casetext and Fastcase.
- Document management software: AI-powered document management softwares store all documents digitally, including attorney notes, contracts, medical records of clients, and emails, and makes it easier to find. It also makes it easier to share among the legal staff in the event that many employees are remote.
- Contract review: AI powered contract review programs such as Diligent and Clio assist attorneys when reviewing long contracts. These programs provide the attorneys with a quick summary, and make it easier for the attorney to look for a specific clause or a specific phrase in the contract.
What are the cons of AI in the legal field?
- Lack of emotional support: Although AI can be very efficient when it comes to handling legal practice, it does not provide the emotional and human support that clients may need. Especially after experiencing an accident, such as a car accident or a truck accident, clients will need the personal touch of an attorney. An attorney will not only be able to provide legal services but also emotional comfort and emotional security.
- Limited capabilities: Artificial intelligence could only go so far. There is limited information fed to the AI, and this could be burdensome and often works against the client’s favor. For example, AI is not updated every day. If a new law were to pass, it most likely would reach the AI’s information database a couple of years later. Currently, Chat GPT is only updated to 2019. Since then, there have been hundreds of laws and regulations passed on the local level, state level, and federal levels in all different types of legal fields, from mass tort lawsuits to insurance bad faith lawsuits. An experienced attorney always stays on top of rules and regulations to make sure that they are following the proper requirements when filing a legal claim.
- Security concerns: Currently, with any type of artificial intelligence, there are security concerns as to how the AI collects personal data. This could also be very difficult when a client’s medical records are introduced to the AI’s database. AI data privacy and security still have a long way to go.
- Technology addiction: As we rely more on technology and artificial intelligence for everyday tasks, society could risk technology addiction. Technology addiction could not only lead to restlessness, but also ADHD, anxiety, and depression as users start to get easily irritated if they do not get the answer to their problems immediately the way AI does.
- Unemployment: Streamlining the legal process with artificial intelligence could lead to less demand for attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, and legal admins. As law firms try to introduce AI, the need for staff may be decreased, and there might not be immediate attention given to a client’s case. For example, in the event that a client may want to speak with someone from the law firm regarding their case, it may be difficult to get a hold of someone, given that the staff has been substantially reduced.
- Lost information: Since artificial intelligence is constantly being updated, there is also the risk of having all information lost with a faulty system update. This could also be very problematic since there is also a chance of the program’s system being down.
- Bias: There may be implicit bias in AI software. For example, AI has difficulty identifying minorities and females. Artificial intelligence also has difficulty understanding and transcribing subjects who may have an accent. Many believe that the reason for this is that during the early stages of creating the foundation for AI, the subjects of artificial intelligence were predominantly white.
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a very common concern for attorneys who incorporate AI software programs into their daily work. For example, attorneys writing motions may have the same exact cookie-cutter automated writing. This could also significantly impact copyright infringement.
- Marketing problems: Using artificial intelligence could also lead to marketing problems. In the event that law firms start to use the same blog posts, their websites start to rank lower, and they may actually harm themselves and reduce their visibility on sites such as Google and Bing. Currently, there has been an increased interest in AI detectors. Large search engines like Google are trying to implement AI detectors to remove automated websites from their search results.
Will AI replace lawyers?
AI programs will make attorneys’ tasks more efficient, and allow attorneys to take on more clients and work. For example, AI could help an attorney write motions and communicate with clients and third parties. But, AI is not meant to steal jobs from attorneys.
AI has the potential of becoming an addition to the legal field and advancing clients’ needs. But, AI needs to be further developed in collaboration with attorneys to better meet the needs of clients and lawyers. AI could eventually revolutionize the legal field, but there may still be a long way to go.