A human hand and robotic hand fist-bumping to celebrate harnessing the power of robotics for legal firms

AI Evolves to Benefit A Risk-Averse Legal Sector

Published on : 02/11/2021 02 November Nov 11 2021

As a member of the legal profession, you fill your days with mundane, repetitive work. Consuming your time with necessary tasks but often tedious, like monitoring deadlines for multiple clients/projects, negotiating contracts, researching issues, communicating with clients, vendors, and outside counsel, keeping track of hours for billing, and more.


 Automating routine high-volume tasks to improve efficiency can positively impact the legal industry's rebound after recently taking a step back due to the health crisis. AI (Artificial Intelligence) has evolved to take many of those repetitive tasks off your plate.  

What are the barriers to AI in the legal work environment? 

First, there is fear that new technology will replace human resources and reduce the need for lawyers and paralegals. In addition, the legal industry is risk-hesitant in general, so they often lag behind adopting new technology. Some organizations are not the first to jump into the latest innovations. 

AI is evolving to add value to legal organizations and remove any hesitancy to adopt the technology. 

A Look Back at History -The Turing Test aka The Imitation Game

Wikipedia informs us that in the 1950s, Alan Turing proposed that a human being judge how well the natural conversation between a human and a machine sounds when the machine is programmed to respond with human-like responses. The evaluator was aware that one participant in the conversation was a machine, and he separated the participants from one another. Both participants used a computer keyboard to type their words. 

Meet Eugene Goostman, a chatbot who would like to have a word.

Eugene Goostman is a chatbot that some consider passed the Turing test, a test of a computer's ability to communicate indistinguishably from a human. 

Developed by two Russians and one Ukrainian programmer in 2001, Goostman has a persona of a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy with traits intended to elicit forgiveness for grammatical errors and lack of general knowledge. 

A sample of one of the conversations:

Scott: Which is bigger, a shoebox or Mount Everest?
Eugene: I can't make a choice right now. I should think it out later. And I forgot to ask you where you are from…
Scott: How many legs does a camel have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe, three? :-))) By the way, I still don't know your specialty – or, possibly, I've missed it?
Scott: How many legs does a millipede have?
Eugene: Just two, but Chernobyl mutants may have up to five. I know you are supposed to trick me.
Scott: No, I need to know that you're not a chatbot. Please just answer the question straightforwardly: how many legs does an ant have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe three? :-))) Oh, what a fruitful conversation ;-) 

Cited: The origin of intelligent behavior | by Samuel Flwnder. https://towardsdatascience.com/the-origin-of-intelligent-behavior-3d3f2f659dc2

Passing the Turing test proved to be a challenge. Wikipedia states that the Goostman bot entered several Turing test contests and finished second in 2005 and 2006.

In June 2012, at an event celebrating the 100th birthday of the test's author, Alan Turing, Goostman won a competition in the largest-ever Turing test contest. It persuaded 29% of its judges that it was human. 

On 7 June 2014, at a contest marking the 60th anniversary of Turing's death, 33% of the event's judges thought that Goostman was human, validating Turing's prediction that by the year 2000, machines would be capable of fooling 30% of human judges after five minutes of questioning. 

AI has come a long way and has evolved to significantly impact the day-to-day work for lawyers, In-house Counsel, and Law firms. Efficiencies and employee morale, customer service, and vendor relations thrive when business processes are consistent.  

Practical ways to apply AI in the Legal Industry

 1. Rules-based tasks: 

AI is a good fit if you have rules in place for a business process. An excellent example is the laborious process of checking if vendors have overcharged the firm. Instead of a human examining each invoice line-by-line, an AI-driven program could help narrow that down to the exception invoices that do not match the billing guidelines in seconds. 

 2. AI can build rules from the data

Machine learning further evolves the value of AI. A machine-learning algorithm is used against vast blocks of data to learn and create business rules from patterns in the data.

This method speeds up the automation process by beginning with the data and building business rules based on the findings. In the case of invoices, It also enables management by exception by revealing trends or errors in the line items that don't match your guidelines. The limitation of this data approach is it needs massive amounts of data to be effective – the more data, the better the accuracy. And, if data is expensive to collect, other methods may be more effective, like workflow engines.

 3. Contract life-cycle management 

Standardizing contracts is no longer a "someday wish" for In-house Counsel and Law Firms but a reality with AI features that automate the process.

The legal sector handles massive amounts of written data: legal texts, contracts, litigation, jurisprudence. When essential information is written in natural language, Artificial Intelligence and language processing applications can save considerable time for legal professionals. Extracting data stored in your business system and inserting specific data elements into the contract automates and speeds up the process. 

AI Machine-learning can automatically extract:
  • Deadlines
  • Amounts
  • Renewals
  • Currencies
  • Force Majeure Clauses

 4. Additional areas for AI in the Legal industry

  • Due diligence – Litigators perform due diligence with the help of AI tools to uncover background information. 
  • Prediction technology – Forecast the outcome of a litigation case with AI insights. 
  • Legal analytics – Lawyers can look for patterns in a judge's record and history of rulings. 
  • Document automation – Lawyers use software template documents that AI automatically fills from data stored in the business system 
  • Intellectual property – AI guides the process of analyzing data to gain insights for IP Portfolios. 
  • Electronic billing – Automatically compute Lawyers' billable hours.

In Summary:

Harnessing the power of AI ensures that Lawyers, In-house Counsel, and Law firms can compete better and adapt to the future. AI is a powerful tool for attorneys to help them in their work, but it can't take over. The AI "thinker" has limitations and won't be able to do things that only an intelligent human could accomplish - such as analyzing, correlating, or contextualizing data beyond what machines are capable of achieving themselves. But lifting the burden of routine, repetitive tasks from their shoulders means Lawyers are free to address the nuances of complex issues, putting their intellect to the best use. 
And just to test your skills, we used an AI tool to write the summary paragraph at the end of this blog – Can you tell?

About the author: 
Legal Suite is the worldwide leader in digital transformation for lawyers. We have delivered our state-of-the-art software for lawyers, law firms, and in-house general counsel to 65,000 users for over two decades. www.legal-suite.com


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