These past few years saw AI soar successfully across the business industry. The legal sector was one of the industries that interacted with AI and continues to do so. And while people have reservations about the role of AI in the law industry, this is fading away quickly with the release of ChatGPT.
The legal sector now has more clarity about the benefits of AI. For example, AI can take over some labor-intensive law firm tasks, saving time and money. However, we still have to ask; should the legal field jump on the AI bandwagon?
In today’s guide, we explore the role of AI in the legal field. We also delve deeper into the benefits and limitations of using AI in the law industry.
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What Role Can AI Play in the Law Industry?
According to Mckinsey, 23% of the jobs by lawyers could be automated. Law firms are picking up on this and using AI to automate repetitive tasks, complete work faster, and save big.
But what exactly can AI do in the legal field? Ideally, AI relies on big data and computer algorithms to help individuals complete tasks. That said, AI is not yet at the level where it can replace human legal help. It’s more of a reliable partner that helps lawyers increase productivity and accuracy in their tasks.
Below are a few roles of AI in the law industry.
One of the most laborious parts of being a lawyer is legal research. Sometimes, finding the similarities between the current case and an old one can take a couple of hours to a full day.
This is what AI comes in to solve. With the help of AI, legal practitioners can find information about cases, clauses, and specific laws almost instantaneously. What would have taken hours can now take a few mere minutes.
For example, companies such as Ross Intelligence have built research platforms that have a detailed understanding of legal arguments. Hence, lawyers can use such platforms to quickly fill gaps in their legal research.
With AI, lawyers can identify patterns when examining certain legal data. In turn, they can develop their case strategies with informed and accurate information.
On the other hand, lawyers can train AI to simplify legalese into plain English for fast answers and easier interpretation. For example, one Twitter user was able to train an AI model to turn complex legalese into plain English. All he had to do was give the AI two examples, and it provided the rest of the translations successfully.
Document Mining and Analysis
One other role AI can play in the law industry is document mining and analysis. Specifically, AI can hasten the review of hundreds, if not thousands, of documents to help lawyers identify trends and develop relevant strategies.
AI technology can look through tons of documents without tiring as a human would. It can then categorize the findings and assess each possible solution before providing lawyers with options. Furthermore, AI can also give lawyers a confidence level for each solution.
Contract Review and Analyses
Lawyers, whether in corporate or law firms, deal with tons of contracts. Reviewing these contracts is time-consuming and often prone to human error. AI can come to the rescue of contract review and analysis. Ideally, law firms can use AI to review contracts for renewal and expiration dates, risks, if any, and legal obligations mentioned in the agreement.
Unlike when reviewed by humans, AI can manage bulk contracts and identify every crucial detail needed to fulfill the legal obligations outlined in the contract. Here’s how this can play out.
A law firm relies on an AI platform for contract review and analysis:
- If the contract meets specific criteria, approve it for signature and approval
- If the contract has certain risks, send it to the risks department for further review
- If the contract has automatic renewal clauses, notify the relevant person a month before the renewal
- Send an analysis of signed contracts in the last quarter of this year on the first Tuesday of a new quarter
As you can tell from the above examples, AI can handle contract review and analysis automatically while capturing all the crucial details without fail.
One AI platform that handles automatic and bulk contract reviews is Kira Systems. The platform enables lawyers to identify, extract and analyze information from a large batch of contacts. With such a system in place, law firms can have the guarantee that nothing critical is left out when handling their client’s contracts and businesses.
In another example, JP Morgan, in 2017, used a software program known as COIN to interpret commercial loan agreements. What previously took lawyers 360,000 hours could now be completed in minutes.
Knowing, or at least having a good idea about whether a client can win a case or have it settled in their favor, is critical for every lawyer. After all, when lawyers have a prediction about how a case will run out, they can know whether to go to trial or settle before trial.
Case prediction also enables lawyers and their clients to understand how much a case will cost and whether the time investment is worth it. For a long time, law firms’ predictions came from experience and manual research. But with AI spreading like wildfire, lawyers can now have more accurate case predictions.
AI reviews hundreds or thousands of past cases in and outside the law firm. Then, the AI platform provides a pattern and probability of a case’s outcome.
Such a platform enables lawyers to be more confident as they prepare to handle their clients’ issues since they can accurately predict how a case will turn out.
On November 30, 2022, OpenAI, a for-profit company, launched ChatGPT. The launch soon became a hot topic on social media platforms like Twitter. After all, this sophisticated chatbot was touted as capable of telling jokes, writing poems, creating software code, and answering questions in human-like form. It was almost as if you were talking to an all-knowing, omniscient genius.
Within one week of its launch, ChatGPT hit 1 million users. ChatGPT is still a hot topic, and it doesn’t look like it will slow down soon. So how can this AI solution affect the law industry?
What Exactly is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot trained to provide answers in a human-sounding and conversational form. This AI model has been trained using both machine learning and human intervention. Specifically, the team at OpenAI relied on a training method known as reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF). This training has made ChatGPT a flexible model with answers to almost any question. Users can ask the model to write a blog post, software code, or translate text.
How’s ChatGPT Different from Other AI Models
ChatGPT’s most vital point against other AI models is how it answers questions. First off, the answers are more conversational and human-sounding. It can also provide more context within a response based on the previous questions you had asked and the solutions it gave.
In addition, ChatGPT is more conscious of the answers it gives. For example, this AI model can refuse to answer a question if it thinks the question is derogatory, racist, sexist, homophobic, harmful, or encourages illegal activity.
While ChatGPT is incredible in what it does, it still hasn’t reached its prime time. The creators of OpenAI have warned that the model may sometimes provide inaccurate answers. Moreover, ChatGPT will tell you it doesn’t know the answers to specific questions. For example, the model can not answer any inquiries linked to events happening in 2021 and beyond. Since it’s still in the early research phase, ChatGPT may also provide inaccurate answers.
There’s also the issue of copyright and plagiarism when using ChatGPT to create commercial content. That said, ChatGPT has achieved an impressive feat while still in its early stages. The AI model can and will touch every industry, the legal sector included. Here’s how ChatGPT features in the legal field.
ChatGPT and the Legal Field
The legal industry has already started testing ChatGPT to understand how it can solve legal issues. For example, one lawyer demonstrated on a Tiktok video how ChatGPT created a will for a Texas couple. On the first try, the chatbot failed to include two witnesses as required by Texas law. When the lawyer asked ChatGPT to correct the mistake, it did and provided an updated draft. According to the lawyer, the draft was not far off from what’s legally acceptable. In another video, a lawyer tested ChatGPT and showed this AI model creating a detailed contract draft with a brief explanation accompanying the draft.
Here’s another example of chat GPT providing a detailed answer to a wrongful death claim. It takes all the previous questions the lawyer had asked before and applies them to the current legal question. This is impressive since the AI model acts as an omniscient human would, providing contextual knowledge, giving clear examples, and presenting it all in a conversational tone.
As ChatGPT develops further, we expect to see more lawyers and legal firms adopt this AI technology. And why not? ChatGPT has the potential to help lawyers cut the time it takes to perform laborious tasks to mere seconds. In turn, law firms can cut costs and free up lawyers to perform more high-impact functions for clients.
Let’s examine a few examples of how law firms and their clients can benefit from ChatGPT.
ChatGPT can be developed into a high-level chatbot with detailed and factual answers to clients’ most common and repetitive responses. Thanks to its conversational tone and ability to contextualize answers based on questions asked, it would work exceptionally well.
Legal research is one more task that ChatGPT could help automate and speed up. Chat GPT can provide:
- Law clauses.
- Examples of legal situations.
- Mostly factual answers, depending on a country’s or state’s law.
Moreover, you can ask ChatGPT follow-up questions without going into much detail, and it will still provide valuable answers.
Drafting Legal Documents
From our previous examples, you know that ChatGPT can create legal documents in seconds. This AI model can generate everything from wills to contracts to Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). AI taking over the drafting of legal documents can save a firm time, reduce errors and streamline the entire process.
Document Review and Analysis
Finally, ChatGPT can come in handy for document review and analysis. With this technology, law firms can review large batches of contracts and documents in minutes. They can further uncover patterns and solutions from the information examined to discover the best course of action.
Potential Challenges and Concerns Surrounding the Use of AI in the Law Industry
While AI has many incredible benefits, it’s not a perfect system by any means. Currently, one primary concern surrounding the use of AI is ethical and accountability issues. For example, who will be at fault if AI provides a client with information that leads to harm, loss, or a negative side effect?
Unfortunately, this is not clear as there are also not enough regulatory measures taken to handle such issues. More importantly, AI is not prepped for matters such as equity judgment and dealing with complexities that arise during a case. AI might also provide nonfactual and biased responses.
Benefits of AI Technologies Such as ChatGPT
ChatGPT is beneficial to both lawyers and the everyday person. For lawyers, ChatGPT provides automation, easy access to research, and accurate prediction for different cases. More importantly, AI saves a legal firm time and resources and enables legal teams to provide higher-quality services to their clients.
On the other hand, ChatGPT makes legal help highly accessible to low-income individuals. According to a 2022 report by the Legal Service Corporation, 92% of low-income Americans fail to receive enough help for their substantial legal problems. ChatGPT can change this. Through this AI tool, Americans can access insights and advice for pressing legal issues and know how to act.
Will ChatGPT Take Over Lawyer Jobs?
ChatGPT and most other AI tools are not out to get lawyers’ jobs. Instead, these technologies act like partners that can help legal professionals work faster, better, and more accurately. As ChatGPT is developed further, we will continue to see its spread and use in the legal profession.
originally published at JD Supra