Connections for Success

 

11.25.20

AI: From Hollywood Science Fiction to the Legal World
Joshua Goldschmidt

Artificial intelligence (AI) — the use of computers to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence — is no longer just the plot of Hollywood’s next dystopian movie. AI is already integrated in many aspects of our daily life including Netflix, Amazon and Spotify recommendations, phone-face recognition technology and what we see on social media. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to evaluate its possibilities for the legal industry.

While AI is already making an impact in so-called Big Law, AI can also help attorneys and administrators at smaller firms. Moreover, as firms increasingly commoditize legal services, clients expect firms to use every tool they can to expedite work and cut costs. This article examines how law firms can use AI to their advantage.

Potential applications

The American Bar Association (ABA) has expressly recognized the growing role of AI in the practice of law. In 2019, the ABA’s House of Delegates approved Resolution 112, which encourages courts and attorneys to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the use of AI in the field. The report recommending the adoption of the resolution predicted that AI will fundamentally transform the practice of law in the coming years.

Here are some areas where your firm might consider deploying AI:

Due Diligence/Contract Review
AI can play a major role when it comes to handling the minutiae of due diligence and contract review, where human error can delay or upend transactions. It can, for example, search for specific language in contract-heavy mergers and acquisitions and uncover problematic provisions. Natural language processing tools can extract and contextualize critical information from a company’s portfolio of contracts.

AI also can find inconsistent terms or language between different drafts and documents. Attorneys would, of course, make the final decision on language. Down the road though, AI tools could even become capable of drafting contracts within programmed parameters.

Discovery
With AI, law firms can more easily analyze mountains of documents, briefs and files for “related documents.” In some cases, this analysis can be performed without any human intervention. Where such intervention is required, you can assign fewer attorneys than would be involved in the past. In either case, document review will go more quickly than it traditionally has which is sure to please clients.

Data Analytics
Perhaps one of the most exciting uses of AI in the legal world is in the realm of data analytics. AI enables multiple forms of analytics, including predictive (forecasting the behavior of, for example, judges or expert witnesses based on past behavior) and prescriptive (providing advice on whether to settle or go to trial).

These types of analytics can:

  • Aid in the jurisdiction and jury selection;
  • Assess deal profitability;
  • Estimate case value; and
  • Guide litigation strategies and settlement negotiations.

Attorneys can also formulate more accurate litigation budgets with the help of AI. Data analytics that incorporates past cases and invoices allow them to better understand the likely costs for specific strategies. This is particularly useful when clients require fixed-fee or other alternative-fee arrangements.

Litigation Financing
AI is propelling the concept of litigation financing where investors fund the costs of a lawsuit in exchange for a piece of any judgment or settlement. It gives investors a better idea of which cases are worth supporting.

The Changing Legal Landscape

The introduction of AI to the workplace often leads to concerns about job losses, but the need for competent counsel is not going anywhere. AI cannot replace the relationships and trust that attorneys develop with their clients, nor the experience and nuance they bring to complex matters. However, AI frees up attorney’s hours so they can handle more complex cases and/or additional clients. Further, AI opens the door to a new group of cost-sensitive clients who may have chosen different or in some cases no legal representation. AI is the future and today is as good as any to evaluate how to adapt and conquer.

Related Read: Get Smart: Law Firms are Getting Ahead by Harnessing Relationship Intelligence

Sample List of Providers
AI for contract review:

AI for discovery analysis and requests:

AI for building arguments and identifying relevant cases:

Related Read: Is the Netflix Model the Next Big Thing in Law Firm Billing?

For more information, contact Joshua Goldschmidt at jgoldschmidt@orba.com or call him at 312.670.7444. Visit ORBA.com to learn more about our Law Firm Group.

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