AI and Law Firms

We’ve been hearing a lot about AI (artificial intelligence) in broader society and our profession.  What is it exactly and how can law firms leverage it?

Artificial intelligence mimics certain operations of the human mind and is the term used when machines are able to complete tasks that typically require human intelligence. The term machine learning is when computers use rules (algorithms) to analyze data and learn patterns and glean insights from the data. Artificial intelligence is a large factor shifting the way legal work is done.

Experts tell us that AI has the potential of taking over these tasks:

And in some cases, it already has.

Should we be afraid? Absolutely not! Consider these words from the head of a knowledge management (AI) team at the Reed Smith law firm in London:

(AI) is looking to be a massive time-saver for firms, and bringing true value on the more repetitive tasks – lawyers spend less time trawling through endless files. Instead, computer programs can read documents, interpret them, and identify the case-relevant results – all in a matter of minutes. And how might lawyers use this newly freed time of theirs? Dillon says now “legal work is much more interesting as computers can do the donkey work, and the lawyers are able to do more analysis,” adding further value for the client. AI can even take advisory roles, although not extensively. It can’t provide specific advice to a client on a specific matter, but can answer simple and common legal questions.

Computers doing the donkey work? I can get behind that.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

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