Imagine what a lawyer does on a particular day: researching cases, writing briefs, advising clients. While technology has been eating away at the margins of the legal profession for some time, it`s hard to imagine these complex tasks being handled by a robot. Despite these concerns, Richardson still believes the net impact of the new technology will be positive. The quality of lawyers and judges depends on the information they receive, and AI has the potential to significantly improve the quality of information. Yet no matter how sophisticated technology becomes, she and Girardi agree it will never replace the judgment and decision-making that only humans can provide. „AI will not replace the need for critical thinking. We still need to prepare students to think like lawyers, and I don`t think that will ever change,“ Richardson said. Here in Louisiana, we are excited to explore the potential of automation for our state`s legal systems and our clients at J. Antonio Tramontana`s Monroe Law Firm.
A positive online reputation is the key to the success and marketing of law firms. Therefore, proactively asking customers for reviews goes a long way in building that reputation. But manually contacting each client can be an extremely time-consuming task for paralegals. In the context of legal services, the many consumers who cannot afford a lawyer are already giving up their day in court or dealing with legal claims on their own – often with poor results. If partial automation means that an overwhelmed legal aid lawyer now has time to take on more client cases, or if clients can now afford to hire a lawyer, everyone will be better off. In addition, technology-enabled legal services can help consumers better represent themselves. For example, the U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri now provides a platform to help people filing for bankruptcy prepare their forms, either alone or with a free 30-minute meeting with an attorney. Because the platform offers a head start, both the advocate and the consumer can make better use of the 30-minute window. Peter Saunders, Senior Partner for Professional Practice at Deloitte, said: „Technological advances mean that an increasing number of traditional routine tasks in the legal sector can be automated by intelligent, self-learning algorithms.
Some companies are already using virtual assistants or eDiscovery tools. However, the legal industry can do more to take advantage of automation and technology. After figuring out how to identify citations, we accidentally stumbled upon a methodology to automate one of the most demanding and time-consuming aspects of legal practice: legal research. The legal profession is defined by rules and evidence, criteria that fit well with automation, machine learning or, the more colloquial term, artificial intelligence (AI). However, you shouldn`t use every automation tool that crosses your path as a paralegal. Do your homework first (if you`re not sure where to start, we`ve compiled a list of what to look for in paralegals). It is important for paralegals to keep abreast of and familiarize themselves with the latest technologies. This allows paralegals to use automation to develop their roles and value for law firms. One of the first things we learned is that it can be difficult to predict which tasks can be easily automated. For example, quotes in a letter – such as „Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 (1954)“ – are very easy to recognize and separate from the rest of the text.
That`s not the case for machine learning software, which stumbled into the punctuation blizzard inside and outside the quote. Are paralegals automated? With legal technology, some paralegal tasks can be easily automated. But that doesn`t mean the role of paralegals will soon be completely eliminated. By automating certain parts of a paralegal`s work – such as creating repetitive documents and onboarding paperwork – paralegals become more valuable to a law firm. It was like those „captcha“ boxes you have to fill out on websites to prove you`re not a robot – a human can easily recognize a phone pole, but a robot is confused by all the background noise in the image. Our research project, in which we collaborated with computer scientists and linguists from MITRE, a government-funded non-profit research and development organization, should not focus on automation. As law professors, we have tried to identify the textual characteristics of successful and unsuccessful legal briefs. Learn more about the benefits (and ethical considerations) of AI in the legal industry.
Lawyers who learn to work with automation will win. Early adopters are already carving out new legal professions from automation technologies. Paralegals are often in a unique position to work on client-facing tasks and perform substantive legal work on behalf of lawyers. Because of this unique position, paralegals tend to have a deeper perspective on possible gaps in law firm workflows and processes. Other examples of legal document automation software that can simplify processes for paralegals include WealthCounsel, Lawyaw, and LawCloud. Similarly, automation could help reduce the cost of legal services and make them more accessible to the many people who cannot afford a lawyer. As Alt Legal`s Nehal Madhani and Palace Law`s Jordan Couch discuss on Clio`s Daily Matters podcast, automating repetitive processes can give lawyers — like paralegals — more time in their day to work on more important things. One of those things is to provide law firm clients with exceptional client-centric experiences. A new analysis from Deloitte Insight indicates that about 114,000 legal jobs are likely to be replaced by automated machines and algorithms over the next two decades. The report calls for „far-reaching reforms“ across the legal profession, with 114,000 jobs accounting for more than 39% of jobs in the legal sector.
While there is still no consensus on how AI will ultimately shape the legal profession, we do know that AI will change almost every facet of our lives and that the new technologies that will power it will create a host of unprecedented legal problems, including ownership, liability, privacy, and policing. To get a taste of what`s to come, think about it: if self-driving cars have accidents, who is considered responsible? The owner of the car? The manufacturer? The developer of the software? The mere fact that these are complex issues that will soon be exacerbated by unprecedented technology shows the need for more lawyers, but not just any type of lawyers. We need those who are able to understand our rapidly changing society. Some legal observers have pointed out that while LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer have had success with newly formed companies, legal automation has not reached more sophisticated legal buyers. Fortune 500 companies, for example, don`t use LegalZoom. That`s right. Law firms are already using AI to perform due diligence more efficiently, conduct research, and bill for hours. However, some expect the impact of AI to be much more transformative. AI is expected to eliminate most paralegal and legal research positions over the next decade.
Could judges and lawyers share the same fate? My co-author Michael Ashley and I spoke with experts about the impact of AI on the legal system for our upcoming book, Own the A.I. Revolution: Unlock your AI strategy to disrupt your competitors. Preparing and preparing legal documents on behalf of lawyers is one of the most common tasks of paralegals. The good news is that document automation tools can make this process faster and easier for paralegals. Richardson believes AI can benefit the legal profession, but she warns us to be careful about how we implement it. Even the best AI needs to be taught, which means it can`t be as objective as the people who teach it. „People often look at AI and algorithms as objective, regardless of where the data used in the machine learning process comes from,“ says Richardson, who specializes in the dangers of unconscious bias. „Biased data will lead to biased AI.
By educating people about the legal profession, we need to help future lawyers and judges understand how AI works and how it impacts our field. Elizabeth C. Tippett is an associate professor of law at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Charlotte Alexander is an associate professor of law and analysis at Georgia State University in Atlanta. This was first published by The Conversation – „Robots are coming for lawyers – which may be bad for tomorrow`s lawyers, but ideal for anyone who needs cheap legal aid“. If you are a paralegal, you know how important the legal work of paralegals is in law firms. But it`s always natural to wonder if the rise of technology – especially the automation of paralegal services – in law firms will pose a threat to your role. This latest study suggests a much lower percentage: about 13% of a lawyer`s time could be automated with current and advanced smart technologies. Traditionally, the focus of technological automation has been mechanical work and factory jobs, but improvements in robotics and artificial intelligence have meant that this trend now extends beyond blue-collar jobs to white-collar jobs such as accounting and law. Such efficiency is great, but will lawyers panic if they can`t charge so many hours? Not according to Girardi.