Ever heard the expression “two heads are better than one”? There is wisdom in those words, especially when we speak about legal practice.
Knowing another lawyer’s opinion while dealing with complex cases helps to prevent mistakes that you may have overlooked and check how persuasive your position is. Additionally, hiring a paralegal will save you from spending too much time on drafting and research.
But no matter how hard your paralegal tries to make you happy, he or she is probably not that efficient in handling big data 24/7. And if they are – please don’t overuse that. It’s 2021 already, just consider using some of the technologies listed below in your practice and let your paralegal have a life with no constant overtimes.
Artificial intelligence became quite good at natural language processing. The Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 (One of the latest language models that uses deep learning to provide as human text as possible) is capable of writing essays that would make some of the top-tier copywriters envy. For example, a pretty convincing and engaging text was generated by AI to prove that robots don’t mean any harm to humanity.
But was this blog post written by artificial intelligence as well? Keep reading to find out.
In any case, this demonstrates that AI mimics the cognitive functions of humans in terms of text input processing well: both text analysis and text generation can be performed on a fairly coherent level.
Considering that, imagine how productive it would be to let the law-focused AI check the style of your agreement and propose clauses based on complex algorithms that involve not only a monstrous database of previous contracts and judgments, but also the analysis of each and every aspect relevant for your contract, such as product expiration date, possible financial losses due to inflation, and geopolitical forecasts in relevant to the contract countries?
More than that, if you suddenly need to use an already existing agreement in another jurisdiction, the AI can prepare translation and alter some clauses to make the agreement compliant with local laws & adjust it based on economic and other relevant data about such jurisdiction, so you won’t have to learn a new language and learn about the geopolitical situation in a foreign country all of a sudden to fit the one-time request of your client.
And yes, sure, AI can deal with formatting, so there will be no need in showing your new associates how to properly create a table of contents in word or where to insert a company logo.
We know that it sounds amazing, and it is exactly why we are working on such a project right now.
Knowing that AI can handle the analysis of large text databases well, it may be easily concluded that it can be handy not only at contract drafting but also during dispute resolution.
Sure, some projects can easily help with claims and other procedural documents by instantly providing a short review of all the relevant precedents, however, it may be used in a more extravagant way. By analyzing open court registers, AI can try to predict the final verdict of a specific judge.
If you thought that such a use-case is unethical and unfair, then we are glad to inform that France totally supports your opinion, as it has banned AI projects that aim to decipher judge’s behavior to predict decisions. A similar position is fairly popular in the UK.
In a meantime, researchers from the United States tend to conduct such analysis for research purposes and publish the results. For example, algorithms and formulas for decision analysis were published by Will Dobbie, Jacob Goldin, and Crystal S. Yang in an article named ‘The Effects of Pretrial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges’.
This issue seems very complex. If it is completely legal for a natural person to analyze court decisions and make predictions, why similar activity should be banned for the artificial intelligence? If speed and accuracy are the reasons for such prohibition, then it is the greatest compliment that AI has ever received yet.
It is safe to note that currently the most AI-friendly court-wise country right now is Estonia. The government of Estonia embraces the technology, instead of combating it, by running a pilot ‘AI judge’ project. Mentioned AI judge is designed to review claims of less than 7,000 Euros (that’s a bit more than 8400 USD!).
All things considered, litigation-wise AI can be useful both for attorneys (document preparation, court practice analysis) and judges (document preparation, workload reduction due to the transfer of specific categories of cases under AI’s jurisdiction).
By thinking a bit more on the idea of judge AI, it is pretty natural to conclude that artificial intelligence may come in handy in other relations that fall under a specific administrative regulation. Artificial intelligence deals with audio- and video content just as great as with text. Thus, a combination of AI with CCTV, public registers, e-filing platforms seems like a reasonable idea to further implement e-government concepts, which are very much relevant nowadays due to COVID-outbreak.
While deciding if it is reasonable to use AI during contract drafting is up to the lawyer, AI integrated into administrative services would be too hard to bypass, as legal professionals quite often deal with various license acquisitions and registration procedures.
For example, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) works quite hard on intellectual property-related AI systems. Main AI research areas include image search within global data brand that helps to easily check availability of trademarks; integration of machine translation into verse and well-structured WIPO’s legal database; automatic patent classification tool that helps to categorize patent applications into technical units according to their International Patent Classification (IPC) class, subclass, main group or sub-group. In addition to that, WIPO conducts researches related to data analysis, digitalization and process automation, helpdesk services etc.
Speaking about examples of specific countries, ‘Diia’ (Ukraine) project is very much worth mentioning, as it embodies a fine example of public services transformation from bureaucratic paperwork overloads to digital simplicity. Practical realization of such digitalization concept in Ukraine is presented by the creation of a portal that can be accessed both via web browser and mobile. Diia aims to center within itself various administrative services (from strictly business-oriented to civil-oriented), so they could be easily accessed by a couple of simple taps instead of paperwork filling. Usage of artificial technologies within such projects to automatically generate documents, fasten up database searches is a necessary pragmatic step.
Projects listed above are usually being developed with an aid of various experts, just like any other IT solution aimed at a large user base. Thus, a proper quality level is to be expected, and not using that to your advantage would be a huge mistake.
Being a lawyer means to be always ready for competition, but, sadly, competing against the progress never ends up well. Running a law firm with hundreds of tired paralegals & ignoring modern technologies, while others just use AI to draft and analyze documents, will lead a firm to an ultimate demise. Even if mentioned paralegals will match AI’s performance, their services will cost more. And if AI’s would perform slightly worse than paralegal – it would be still more rational to use an AI to generate documents and a single paralegal to check it afterward, than to hire a bunch of paralegals.
However, if the firm desires to refrain from the acceptance of 21st-century realities that hard, totally ignoring the AI technology while staying in legal business would be impossible, considering the constant development of electronic administrative services greatly accelerated by the pandemic. If a service can be accessed online, but the lawyer advises filing documents manually for no particular reason, except that lawyer did not know about a digital option – the client will never go back to such a lawyer when he will be notified that the online procedure is easier and faster.