On that note, let’s explore the significant areas within the legal world that will witness a sea change for better efficiencies at a fraction of cost and time.
Contracts are the lifeline of an organization. Legal contracts and documents are sort of ubiquitous in the business world, irrespective of the industry. Unfortunately, their sheer volume makes it extremely difficult to manage, track, and act based on the milestones and timelines. What’s more challenging is that many organizations do not even have a central repository of contracts, leaving no scope for an efficient way of extracting strategic information. With each contract being unique in terms of external stakeholders, renewal dates, and renegotiation terms, imagine the expanse of work involved in collating and correcting these contracts.
It has been estimated that inefficient contracting causes firms to lose between 5% to 40% of the value on a given deal, depending on circumstances. Source: KPMG
In this context, AI will make a lasting impact by effectuating permanent process improvements. Firms that have invested in AI software, especially to manage their contracting documents, have certainly experienced an increase in productivity and efficiency in their contracting. It is achievable with the technology’s potential to identify contract types (even in multiple languages) based on pattern recognition. AI’s underlying algorithms specific to contracting can recognize data patterns and extract variables of importance. Apart from sorting out voluminous data records at lightning speed, the AI software specializes in contract management that is more nuanced and customized.
Analyzing documents is another significant area within the legal space, which is time-consuming. AI software automates the document review system to ensure attention to documents or specific parts of a document that warrants attention. It segregates the documents into clause-based categories and aids lawyers in comprehending each clause’s severity and managing risks. The more documents it reviews, the better it gets at identifying similar patterns, unearthing identical case histories, and providing fact-based evidence for lawyers to build a case.
While the legal fraternity is adept at understanding and using legal terms and phrases, the commoners are left confused. AI can help by providing simpler versions of the legal documents that help both parties involved – lawyers and clients. In addition to being swift, it also provides proactive suggestions for the lawyers by bracketing the cases in a certain category to point them in the direction of how to handle such cases.
With multiple clients on board, engagement lawyers can have issues when it comes to presenting invoices. However, AI software comes in handy with its suite of measurements tools providing accurate billable hours and automated sending of invoices. What’s more? It can send out automatic reminders of late payments. An assistant empowered with legal knowledge is a trend that is gathering momentum. It helps lawyers refer to historical data, record present proceedings, and predict outcomes based on previous similar cases. All this is possible without errors and, most importantly, with nil time constraints.
AI may not be ready yet to make judgments, but it makes many a lawyer’s life easy by uncovering pertinent background information related to cases in hand. Verification of data, checking it for accuracy, summarizing the data points, and providing related references are all done systematically with nil errors. The legal system is currently dependent on paralegals and researchers to discover, index, and process information. However, validating client information through interviews conducted by machines is far more accurate. Besides, clients are more comfortable speaking to a machine than a lawyer, maybe because it is not judgemental.
Like the FAQ feature, the AI chatbots are equipped to handle several hundreds of legal questions and simultaneously clarify doubts. The possibility of innumerable people availing of this service is the highlight as it is practically impossible for one lawyer to answer multiple clients at a time. Chatbots help in scaling up the legal services, making them available to thousands of customers worldwide irrespective of time and location. In several cases, the first line of service with a chatbot has helped convert prospects into clients, which is a welcome trend for lawyers.
Obviously, AI is here to stay, and it is making inroads into many areas within the legal profession. While, on the one hand, it is going to be a multipurpose legal assistant to lawyers, it also means lawyers must be smarter in leveraging it to offer more niche services, shrugging off more and more tasks to the AI. This way, they get to focus on strategic, higher-value works that offer a competitive advantage to today’s law firms. Naturally, they will have to take up legal initiatives that acknowledge the cognitive abilities of a human being. As for clients, they can get affordable and accessible legal services round the clock.
“As computational technology and artificial intelligence mature, more people will be able to have better access to justice.” Monica Bay, Fellow, Stanford Law School CodeX