How will AI Affect the Legal Profession
Intelligently integrated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are transforming the legal profession in many respects. Still, in most instances, it is improving what lawyers do by automating routine, mundane tasks enabling them to focus on complex higher-value duties, such as reviewing pre-sorted documents, negotiating deals, and making court appearances. They also manage time usage by analyzing the work other law firm employees, like paralegals, do to determine whether that time is being used effectively. They promote development and competitiveness in the legal profession by increasing accuracy and improving performance; this will challenge the way attorneys conduct research, analyze information, and even manage their firms.
These technological innovations will enable the legal firms and departments that implement and leverage them to offer better legal services and representation for their clients. Here are ways the legal profession is going to be shaken up by AI and analytics:
1- Reviewing Contracts
Part of the work a law firm does on behalf of its clients is to review contracts to identify terms that could have negative consequences for their clients. AI technology and machine learning can review contracts and documents to look for risks, and suggest changes that help clients negotiate much better terms. And because these software use machine learning, they get smarter, faster, and more effective with each use.
2- Developing Legal Strategies and Briefs
By implementing AI and machine learning into strategic decision making, lawyers gain access to information that reveals judge or jury biases; they can also scan through years of trial data and predict legal outcomes. This information will help them enhance their decision-making as they make professional judgments to build arguments with language that resonate with the judge and jury. Another task that machines can assist with is that of drafting the first copy of a legal brief. Lawyers must produce well-written and persuasive legal briefs, but the process is a time consuming and tiresome one. By allowing the machine to compose the initial copy, the attorney can dedicate valuable time and energy to other tasks; all they’d have to do is revise and tweak the document to create a final copy.
3- Increasing Profitability
AI analytics can impact nearly every aspect of a law firm, including advertising, accounting, and the procurement of clients. Machines can rapidly detect patterns across vast amounts of data to identify trends and connections, as well as inconsistencies that the human eye can fail to recognize. Spotting these patterns ahead of time can allow the firm to delegate assignments in a manner that ensures they provide exemplary legal services. The machines can collect information, and evaluate the data, while at the same time finding ways to run more efficiently and profitably.
4- Tracking Client Acquisition
Machine learning, when combined with marketing data, makes it easier to understand the acquisition and retention of clients, including what ad campaigns were most popular and how clients choose one firm over the others because the data would provide a better understanding of which firm performs the best, and which lawyers have the most successful cases.
5- Increasing Productivity
As much legal work is monotonous, AI can improve productivity by automating tedious tasks that don’t require the expertise of a real person. AI enhances the accuracy and efficiency of legal procedures by automating a variety of menial tasks that waste time and resources.
6- Eradicating Research Errors
Although lawyers are fantastic at conducting legal research, as it is among the essential aspects of the legal process, they are prone to error. AI-powered software can eliminate the chance of mistakes by producing outputs and results more efficiently and rapidly. Machine learning algorithms can find documents and data that are relevant to a lawyer’s case; they can also highlight how laws have changed over the years and how they differ within various jurisdictions. The machine’s results may not be perfect, but they do save the firm time and a solution to ensuring that the information collected contains no errors to have a pair of eyes go through them.
7- Guaranteeing Customer Satisfaction
AI-powered chatbots can provide better customer service. Chatbots are robots that imitate human conversations based on a collective of information about a brand or company. The purpose of these bots is to improve a website’s usefulness by making it possible for clients to have 24/7 access to resources and answers to their questions, all while eliminating long response times from the customer service reps.
8- Automating Text and Image Redaction
Redaction is defined as the removal of text or images from an original document by blacking out individual words, phrases, or paragraphs or by pixelating images. Redacting requires a great deal of attention to detail and several pairs of eyes to review the final copy. Errors can occur due to the volume of material handled by lawyers daily; even though they work hard to protect sensitive information, it is hard to eliminate all errors. Automated redaction software, like CaseGuard, produces fast and easy redaction of PDF documents, audio, and video files by using automatic redaction based on pattern recognition. By automating the redaction process, law firms can cut costs as manually redacting records is costly because someone has to be hired to do it, and boy, is it time-consuming!
9- Putting An End To Ineffective Redaction
In legal proceedings, redaction is required in part to honor attorney-client privilege and to prevent the publication of personal data. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a law that states that members of the public are entitled to request details regarding the activities of government and public agencies, lawyers can only withhold an entire document from disclosure if all the information is safeguarded under an exemption or the redaction renders the report useless. When making information available under FOIA, law firms need to redact personal data from documents before it is released; this ensures that individuals cannot be identified from that information. The purpose of redaction is to irreversibly delete the confidential information from the redacted copy of the report. Attorneys that regularly file court documents electronically, or handle sensitive data, need to be sure that they are redacting files correctly, as mistakes can lead to the waiver of the attorney-client privilege, a malpractice lawsuit, or even professional disciplinary action. Mis-haps occur when documents are redacted incorrectly. Wrong ways to redact documents include:
- Coating printed text with a black marker or pen.
- Also, changing the font to white to match a white background. This method of setting the font color to be the same as its background is ineffective because once the document is shared electronically, the content can be revealed by changing the color of the font. Although, it’s worth it to mention that this can work if the versions of the documents being distributed are in printed form.
- It includes blacking out the text using the highlight tool as well. Unless the document is shared only in a printed version, covering over black font by highlighting it with black ink is just as risky as matching the font color with the background because it can be altered back to its original state.
- And most importantly, someone forgets to remove the meta-data. Meta-data is data that provides information about other data; it is crucial to remember to get rid of it before publishing legal documents. For example, images taken with a smartphone can contain the GPS coordinates of where they were captured, the date and time, and information about the type of device that was used. Therefore, pixelating the image itself is not enough; the data embedded within that file must also be extracted and redacted.
The best way to redact is by using CaseGuard’s all-in-one software. Their high-performance software for redacting video, audio, images, and PDF documents utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and redact faces, computer screens, license plates, and other objects automatically. CaseGuard’s easy to use redaction software finds any word, sentence, or pattern, then lets the user redact any or all occurrences with just a click!
Artificial intelligence is enhancing the legal profession in a multitude of ways by increasing access to information, optimizing time management, and thus improving profitability. It is automating time and labor-intensive legal work, allowing lawyers to take on more critical tasks like providing counsel to their clients, negotiating, and appearing in court. AI analytics will also automate audio, image, video, and PDF redaction, and this will save firms money, not only by eliminating the need to hire a legal associate to perform these tasks but by decreasing the likelihood of a malpractice lawsuit due to a lawyer’s negligence. Because redacting means that some private data can be released without violating attorney-client confidentiality, automated redaction will help law firms promote satisfactory and ethical practices, as attorneys adhere to the legal requirements outlined by FOIA. Firms that implement this technology will enjoy a competitive advantage by performing more efficiently and effectively, as clients will demand it; law firms need to be ready to stay competitive to avoid being replaced by competitors.