AI For Lawyers: How AI Tools Can Enhance Your Law Firm
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has trickled down to various use cases in different industries, some of which have been impacted more than others—positive or negative.
The same goes for the legal industry, where certain tasks are easier and more convenient for lawyers so far. But what kind of long-term impact will AI have on the industry? Will the need for attorneys decrease with AI at the helm?
In this post, we talk about the advantages that AI brings to law firms, as well as some of its downsides. Let’s begin!
What is Artificial Intelligence?
AI is a scientific field that uses a combination of machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics to simulate human intelligence. It first gathers copious amounts of data and analyzes and classifies them using algorithms to identify and uncover patterns. Using this information, AI can make informed predictions and actions to execute tasks normally performed by people.
AI is not a new technology, as it has been around since the 1950s, but it has evolved rapidly since then. Aside from tools like Chat GPT prevalent nowadays, AI-diagnostic tools for healthcare providers, audio-to-text transcription, and self-driving automobiles are examples of this technology at work in different facets of life.
Lawyer AI Benefits
The technological advancements in AI prove useful in the legal industry, whether you’re practicing personal injury or criminal defense. Below are the main benefits of AI to lawyers and attorneys:
Part of working a case is to extract the necessary information from the mounds of data gathered during discovery. Then, there’s the drafting of motions and documents to file with the court. This includes contracts, client summaries, and even pitches to hand prospects. Both tasks may require weeks to complete, which lawyers can reduce to a few hours using AI.
They can feed the AI software with the information and prompt it to produce the information for building their case, from producing the initial drafts to advancing and anticipating potential arguments to arise. Granted, attorneys must still review the generated content to ensure its quality. At the very least, firms can complete all tasks much faster and more efficiently with AI.
Now that lawyers have more time, they can save on costs—if not earn much more— as a result. They can complete a task hours ahead while expending less energy (since AI will take care of researching and summarizing the documents for you) and charge clients the same amount.
Even better, they can use the extra time to foster more meaningful relationships with existing clients and find opportunities to offer legal assistance. At the same time, law firms can pitch to more clients and serve more cases. Doing both allows them to maximize their team to achieve greater profit and revenue.
Half of the lawyers conducted in a Bloomberg survey admit to burning themselves out due to the stress that comes with the job. As a result, it’s possible they could miss out on information that should have been edited out or failed to include salient ones that would prove critical to the case. These don’t happen regularly, but these risks are always there, even among the best and most professional lawyers.
With AI, attorneys can focus on perfecting the documents while AI does the heavy lifting. Once the software processes the information they need, lawyers can simply double-check the data and make the necessary edits to ensure that they didn’t miss anything on the documents. This also helps improve their well-being, leading them to make more confident and focused decisions critical in winning cases.
Examples of Generative AI Applications in the Legal Field
Knowing how AI operates in the legal field helps articulate its benefits much clearer. And what better way to present them than by showing you examples of AI in action and legal tech tools for each use case in a legal setting? Below are some of the most common ones:
Document Review (NetDocuments)
Document management is arguably the biggest timesink among attorneys. To help you save time from spending too much time on this task and more time on billable hours, use an AI-powered document management system (DMS) tool like NetDocument. Its document and email management features streamline your process and reduce your team’s workload by automating menial tasks.
NetDocument’s customized workflows and real-time messaging allow you to collaborate on contracts, motions, and versions with clients and other lawyers seamlessly and securely. Its document analytics feature lets you better understand how your organization uses the platform for your projects so you can maximize ROI for your efforts.
Legal Research (CaseText)
Another time-consuming part of legal work is searching for relevant information, like jurisdictions and precedents, to draft motions and briefs for the upcoming case. Thankfully, AI tools like CaseText allow you to blaze through legal documentation in less time. Its powerful search functionality lets you type the information you’re looking for and gives you the answer and sources in seconds.
Built on OpenAI’s GPT-4 and customized for the legal industry, this AI platform lets you review and interpret meaning and context from emails and documents. From here, you can summarize lengthy agreements and opinions to their vital contract information so you can move on to the next step.
Contract Review (LexCheck)
Lawyers must iron out the contract details to ensure the terms and conditions suit their liking. Any incorrect information due to improper review increases the risk of disputes and litigation. To avoid these from happening, use an AI-powered contract analysis platform like LexCheck.
It catches errors and inconsistencies for you as you focus on drafting the contract on Microsoft Word. LexCheck also provides suggestions to correct any mistakes you make on the go. You can also train the platform’s AI to analyze your contract using its built-in core playbooks or develop custom contract playbooks. This way, its AI can spot contract and agreement issues according to your specifications.
Predictive Analytics (Lex Machina)
Lawyers would want all the information to determine their likelihood of success in a potential lawsuit. This means analyzing past cases similar to the current one they’re handling. However, instead of reviewing legal arguments and damages awarded in the previous cases, they can use an AI automation tool like Lex Machina to examine these for them.
The software browses its extensive selection of precedent-setting cases to uncover common patterns and trends. It can also help you compare judges and law firms who worked on these cases to help you better understand what happened to the cases, who won, and why. These help attorneys prepare legal documents to help them win their current case and others.
Client Communication and Service (Smith.ai)
When focusing on multiple clients simultaneously, law firms are bound to miss calls and messages. However, this also means wasted opportunities for them to help people with their legal problems. To keep potential customers engaged with your legal services, you can deploy Smith.ai on your site. This AI chatbot is a 24/7 receptionist and addresses every incoming interaction with potential cases.
Lawyers can train Smith.ai with the firm’s data on top of large language models (LLMs). The chatbot also analyzes call data according to completed actions, caller disposition, etc. This allows firms with information to not only convert inquiring prospects into clients but also provide current clients with all the support they need during the ongoing case.
Potential Ethical Concerns Lawyers Must Consider When Using AI
At face value, the positive impact the AI tools above could potentially bring to your business makes them a must-have in your legal toolset. However, questions about its potential misuse and consequences still linger and must be answered. Here are some of the issues:
Bias in AI Algorithms
As mentioned, AI undergoes data training using gathered information from different sources. That means it may learn previous legal proceedings that ended with unfair bias. This is critical because it also affects the outputs and predictions the AI will produce for you, making the AI ultimately unreliable and flawed.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance AI systems and software hold a certain legal bias unless you have full control over what legal information you feed into it. So, you can’t completely rely on AI to do everything for you—a level of human intervention on your end, such as reviewing and verifying its output, is necessary.
Replace Human Judgment Entirely
In relation to AI bias, you simply cannot allow AI to make judgments for you. Legal cases are complex proceedings that stem from various strategic decisions and choices made over time. We’re not even factoring the human elements between client and lawyer. Therefore, AI alone cannot account for all these factors when creating outputs and predictions for you.
AI can help in completing menial tasks in a legal case, as we’ve discussed in the examples above. However, the decision on how to move the case forward depends on the lawyers assigned to the case. Aside from presenting the information to the court of law, they also must collaborate with other attorneys and clients to win the case, something that AI cannot do on its own.
Erode Client Confidentiality and Privacy
As with most online tools, AI software may store data and information you entered and submitted to them. You can be as careful about the data you enter on the AI and the software accesses, but the risk of someone with malicious intent viewing your information is present. Security breaches are outside of your control, but you don’t want to experience this issue and put your and your client’s case at risk.
The best way to ensure data privacy and confidentiality using AI is by doing your due diligence. Vet tools and AI providers you will use and ensure they have security systems in place. The tools must also have good reviews concerning their usability and user protection. Finally, you want to inform clients that you’ll use AI as part of your process when working on their cases.
What Impact Will AI Have on the Future of the Legal Profession?
Time will ultimately tell whether AI technology becomes a fixture in the legal industry. But from the looks of it, its use cases are too beneficial for law firms to ignore. Anything that can make the jobs of lawyers and attorneys much easier while saving costs and resources is something that all legal businesses must look into.
The use of AI can also be the downfall of lawyers if used incorrectly. Legal cases are won not just by the legal documents created but by the decisions made by attorneys on a given case and the relationships they forge with clients and the jury. AI will make the job much more convenient for law firms if used correctly. But at the heart of a successful legal practice is the human component that AI can’t replicate.
On The Map Marketing has started to experiment with AI tools for its law firm clients. Talk to us to learn how we can help you run AI-powered digital marketing.
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