This piece, taking an optimistic view of the use of AI in the legal industry, has been authored by Priyal Agrawal and Laxmi Rathore. They are currently in their 3rd year at the Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, NMIMS, Mumbai.
“In the long term, artificial intelligence and automation are going to be taking over so much of what gives humans a feeling of purpose.” – Matt Bellamy
Artificial intelligence is a computer-based system that performs tasks, which typically require human intelligence. In this process, computers use rules to analyze data, study patterns and gather insights from the data. Artificial Intelligence companies persistently find ways of evolving technology that will manage arduous tasks in various sectors for enhanced speed and accuracy. Artificial Intelligence has transformed nearly all the professional sectors including the legal sector. It is finding its way into the legal profession and there is a plethora of software solutions available, which can substitute the humdrum and tedious work done by lawyers. In the legal profession, the changes are diverse where software solutions have outweighed paperwork, documentation and data management.
This blog analyzes the use of AI in the legal industry. It describes various AI tools which are used in the legal sector, and gives an insight into the use of AI in the Indian Judiciary system to reduce pendency of cases. Finally, we discuss the challenges in the implementation of AI in the legal field.
In the legal field, Artificial Intelligence can be applied to find digital counsel in the areas of due diligence, prediction technology, legal analytics, document automation, intellectual property and electronic billing. One such tool, which facilitates the use of artificial intelligence, is Ross Intelligence. This software has natural language search capabilities that enable lawyers to ask questions and receive information such as related case laws, recommended readings and secondary sources. Prediction Technology is a software which speculates a litigation’s probable outcome. In 2004, a group of professors from Washington University examined their algorithm’s accuracy in predicting Supreme Court judgments in 628 cases in 2002. The algorithm’s results were compared to the findings of a team of experts. It proved to be a more accurate predictor by correctly predicting 75 percent of the outcomes compared to the 59 percent of the experts’ accuracy. In 2016, JP Morgan developed an in-house legal technology tool named COIN (Contract Intelligence). It draws out 150 attributes from 12000 commercial credit agreements and contracts within few seconds. According to this organization, this equals to 36,000 hours of legal work by its lawyers.
In an interview with UK’s law Firm Slaughter and May a review of the AI tool, Luminance that is being currently used by them was taken. This tool is designed to assist with contract reviews, especially with regard to due diligence exercises during mergers and acquisitions. It was found out that the AI tool has an impact on the firm’s lawyers, who could spend more time on doing valuable work. It was also found out that the tool fits well into the existing workflows of the firm in relation to M&A due diligence. The documents that the tool helps to review are already stored in a virtual data room; the only additional step the tool needs to take is to introduce documents into the solution itself.
India is also adopting the use of artificial intelligence in the legal field. One of India’s leading law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is incorporating artificial intelligence in its processes for contract analysis and review, in concurrence with Canadian AI assistant Kira system. This software will analyze and differentiate risky provisions in the contract. It will improve the effectiveness, accuracy and scale up the speed of the firm’s delivery model for legal service and research.
In the Indian judicial system, where a plethora of cases is pending, artificial intelligence can play a significant role to reduce the burden. A deadweight of almost 7.3 lakh cases is left pending per year. A large amount of legal research is required by advocates to argue their case. Use of AI can accelerate the speed of legal research and enhance the judicial process. In this regard, a young advocate named Karan Kalia, developed a comprehensive software program for speedy disposal of trial court cases to the Supreme Court’s E-Committee led by Justice Madan B Lokur. This software offers a trial judge with appropriate case laws instantly, while also identifying their reliability.
AI enables lawyers to get nonpareil insight into the legal realm and get legal research done within few seconds. AI can balance the expenditure required for legal research by bringing about uniformity in the quality of research. AI tools help to review only those documents which are relevant to the case, rather than requiring humans to review every document. AI can analyze data through which it can make quality predictions about the outcome of legal proceedings in a competent manner, and in certain cases, better than humans. Lawyers and law firms can swing their attention to the clients rather than spending time on legal research, making the optimum use of the constrained human resources. They can present arguments and evidence digitally, get them processed and submit them faster.
Although AI is prone to some challenges, these can be subdued with time. The major concern circumscribing AI is data protection. AI is used without any legal structure that generates the risk of information assurance and security measures. A stringent framework is needed to regulate AI to safeguard an individual’s private data and provide safety standards. A few technical barriers will limit the implementation of AI technologies. It is difficult to construct algorithms that capture the law in a useful way. Lack of digitalization of data is also a technical constraint. Complexity of legal reasoning acts as a potential barrier to implementing effective legal technologies. However, this will be eventually rectified with continuous usage and time.
The introduction of AI in the legal sector will not substitute lawyers. In reality, technology will increase the efficiency and productivity of lawyers and not replace them. Instead, the roles of lawyers will shift, rather than decline, and become more interactive with technological applications in their field. None of the AI tools aims to replace a lawyer but they increase the authenticity and accuracy of research and enable to give a more result-oriented suggestion to the clients. As Mcafee and Bryjolfsson have pointed out, “Even in those areas where digital machines have far outstripped humans, people still have vital roles to play.”
The use of AI will manifest a new broom that sweeps clean, i.e., it will bring about far- reaching changes in the legal field. Over the next decade, the use of AI-based software is likely to increase manifold. This will lead to advancement and development in functionality present lawyering technologies such as decision engines, collaboration and communication tools, document automation, e-discovery and research tools and legal expert system the aforementioned. Trending industry concepts like big data and unstructured database will allow vendors to provide more robust performance. There will also be an influx of non-lawyer service providers who will enter the legal industry, some of whom will be wholly consumer-based, some lawyer focused and others will sell their wares to both consumers and lawyers. The future for manual labor in law looks bleak, for the legal world is gearing up to function in tandem with AI.