Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly potent weapon to advance legal practice and modernize justice systems. AI programs can process information much more rapidly than humans can, and are equipped to recognize patterns and trends humans might miss. AI programs also learn quickly so as to better serve clients over time. Although some have expressed fears that AI will replace human lawyers entirely, reality suggests otherwise; AI allows lawyers to focus on higher-level thinking while automating mundane, repetitive tasks for greater efficiency.
AI software like IBM’s Watson that won on Jeopardy has been adopted by numerous large law firms to speed up discovery processes by identifying relevant documents, searching case law libraries, verifying facts and drafting motions and pleadings more efficiently – freeing legal professionals up for more client advisory and negotiation duties than research-intensive responsibilities.
Other AI tools are becoming more sophisticated at understanding human language, with JPMorgan unveiling in June 2016 their COIN software program that uses an in-house AI program to read and extract over 150 attributes from 12,000 commercial credit contracts – something which would typically take lawyers and loan officers weeks of effort to do manually. Such systems help ensure better results for everyone involved during complex business transactions by helping avoid miscommunication between clients and other parties involved, thus leading to improved outcomes overall.
These technologies also assist in eliminating biases within the workplace, which have long been a problem in legal practice. But there remains the danger that some may attempt to use AI to manipulate results or commit fraud; lawyers and law firms should continue monitoring for potential dangers as AI becomes more widespread within their practices.
AI continues to advance rapidly and some experts predict it may eventually replace many basic transactional and discovery tasks in legal practice. Others disagree and maintain that its best use lies in complementing human skills rather than replacing them altogether.
AI will be most successful for businesses that can effectively integrate it into existing workflows in order to maximize benefits while mitigating risks, which requires both training and experience, along with an openness towards making adjustments as necessary.
At Emerj, we assist legal and professional services firms in selecting the optimal AI solutions to address their specific needs. We assist these firms in ranking vendors within their industries to avoid spending thousands of dollars on pilot projects that won’t generate an ROI. Furthermore, Emerj has witnessed several smaller niche firms emerge that utilize AI specifically for patent or real estate work; their success could potentially disrupt larger law firms who must offer lower prices and more efficient services in order to remain competitive.