Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Sector

Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Sector

Artificial Intelligence: what does it mean?

AI is a simple formula of combination of human brain and technology. AI has become an essential part of life of all modern Homo sapiens, ranging from the Siri or Alexa in our gadgets to major medical surgery performing robots. AI is a tool to identify the work of a machine to that of a human brain, boosting its intelligence by the way of trial and learn method. New options explored add to the knowledge that isn’t otherwise provided to the AI machinery at the time of its birth.

The rigorous jobs that required huge amount of labour and manpower can easily be done by the use of machines, and the same is what is set to be achieved by the way of artificial intelligence so as to reduce burden on human mind with numerous of possibilities being explored each day. Artificial intelligence has jostled its way into every sector of the economy within its few years of inception. The use of AI is no more limited to industry and manufacturing but to every other business, profession or service providing agencies, therefore it is now very important to understand the history, uses and implications to ascertain the future of AI. 
Modern artificial intelligence has begun to be seen in history with the aim of defining philosophers' system of human thought. 1884 is very important for artificial intelligence. Charles  Babbage,  on this  date,  has  worked  on  a  mechanical  machine  that  will exhibit  intelligent  behavior. However,  as  a  result  of  these studies, he  decided  that he  would  not be  able to  produce  a machine  that  would  exhibit  as  intelligent  behaviors  as  a human  being,  and  he  took  his  work  suspended. In 1950, Claude Shannon introduced the idea that computers could play chess. Work on artificial intelligence continued slowly until the early 1960s. 

The emergence of artificial intelligence officially in history dates back to1956.  In 1956,  a  conference artificial intelligence  session  at  Dartmouth  College  was  introduced for  the  first  time.  The first application based on AI was introduced during this conference, based on logic theorems and chess games. The algorithms created during this era led to the birth of the idea that intelligent computers can be created in the future. 

It was in the 1980’s the development of AI gained pace; IBM developed its first personal computer in 1981 alongside MIT preparing its human looking robot. And then in the late 2000 kismet, a robot was introduced that could mimic simple human gestures. Another robot also took to market, named Asimo which had human skill and ability later in 2010 modified to act using mind power. Since, then the use of AI has been unstoppable and its growth is noteworthy. 

Uses of AI in the legal sector

Machine learning or AI has already been put to use in the legal industry. With most of the court procedures still being real time and human intelligence based, the secondary tasks have been trusted upon the advancement of technology in the name of AI. The various domains in which AI has been proved to be functional include:

i. Electronic billing: With the advocates being stuck in various client meetings and other commitments, AI is used to keep a track of the total number of billable hours spent with an individual client making it easy to estimate the monetary value of the lawyers’ time.  There are various softwares that have been developed to ease the working of lawyers on their billable. Examples include smokeball- it’s cloud based software that keeps record of all the working of a legal firm and also has a distinctive feature to track all mails relating to billings and Bright flag- offers a software to set up list by list analysis of all bills along with the alternative fee arrangements.
ii. Legal research: technology has always been a strong pillar for advancement of legal research; online portals such as lexis nexis, manupatra have made complex legal research a matter of one click. But an extensive amount of data is available over the web and it can overwhelm the lawyer causing nuisance and confusion, this is where AI comes into play. Lawyers can benefit from AI in making diligent legal research without having to be muddled in unrelated information. Tools such as ROSS intelligence software which allows narrowing down research or as lex machina which helps find solutions by comparing similar cases come in handy.
iii. Predicting outcomes: the AI uses predictive coding to advance the research so as to explore the best possible options available to the lawyer in a particular case. It uses a search algorithm to rank the documents as per the positive outcomes to the matter at hand. Castext’s CARA is a technology that claims to predict the opposite councils arguments and its impact on the case by using previously stored data.
iv. Contract review and management: many lawyers are majorly burdened with drafting of contracts or reviewing them so that it doesn’t adversely affect the client. Various AI software are utilized in order to overlook these contracts, edit them and make them favorable by analyzing the possible outcomes that may be developed out of various contractual obligations in its clauses.  A good example would be JPmoragan’s 2016 COIN (contract intelligence) which has the tendency to fetch 150 attributes extracted from 12000 contracts. 
v.Instant helpdesks and chat boxes: The numerous problems are solved through a Google search, while the potential clients look up for websites to address their legal issues, the chat boxes instantly appear on the screen. It is through artificial intelligence multiflourous replies as per the needs and messages of the user are created without any human intervention, this helps develop a good client base and provide on the spot solutions. 

Adoption of AI in the legal sector

The most significant utility of AI developed till date is efficiency. AI tends to reduce the total burden of work on the lawyer by making it easy for them to propound better solutions, contract reviews, and outcomes. To this point it is clear that this will also imply the reduction on billable hours of the advocates, whereas the income of a lawyer depends upon the number of hours provided to a client.  Moreover, it would also eliminate the need for associates and interns in view of the fact that their work will now be done by the use of AI.

Big firms may adopt the machine intelligence in the view of advancement but they will have to cut short on the reliance over billable hours through a client and focus on the number of client they can secure so as to rise their takings. Whereas small legal firms will be reluctant to use AI since that would be of no benefit to them considering their workload is considerably less and all they depend upon are the existing clients and their billable. 

Another notable use of AI is in the form of electronic billing to which most lawyers believe that it may constitute errors as to the fact that all the records can’t be made by AI and it could also somehow result in the invasion of privacy and privity of the contract between lawyer and the client, as AI requires access to data and accounts to keep the record of the billing. 

A view that is also held by critics is that some tasks can only be performed at the hands of human specialization and it would be a grave error to utilize AI for it. It is also relevant to think of the reluctance that could be faced by AI from senior lawyers as they still prefer to use the conventional method of doing their job.

Brian Inkster, founder of Inksters, a multi-disciplinary law firm with offices across Scotland, says that while predictive coding technology is one of the key forms of AI with a stronger take-up by the legal sector, small to medium-sized law firms do not have much call to take advantage of it. In fact, he says: ‘I have yet to see any real legal AI products that I think would benefit my firm.’

Inkster warns of the hype which has led to the exaggeration of AI functionality: ‘Law firms need to be aware of legal AI “washing”, whereby vendors say their products are AI-enabled, but the reality is far from that’. 

Thus it can be deduced that, though looking over the current world crisis the functionality of the courts may have changed but the processes intend to remain the same. The use of AI at current has not been widely supported and it is urged by the legal fraternity to use what they are already equipped with until better solutions and overwhelming need of AI arise. 

References :- 

1. Mad M. Mijwel, ‘history of artificial intelligence’ 2015, 3(1) <>
2. Seedrs, ‘Six ways the legal sector is using AI right now’, (lawsociety, 13.december.2018) <>