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How AI Automation is Reshaping Legal Practices

Discover how AI automation is revolutionizing legal practices. Explore the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal industry and stay ahead in the evolving landscape. Embrace the future of law with cutting-edge insights on AI integration.

Law is a necessary part of modern society. Born out of and refined over millennia of various civilizations’ attempts at societal standards, structurization, political influence, and the need to reinforce the moral and ethical notions of culture, the law has proven its importance.

Undergirding nearly every facet of civilization, the law enables public and private economies, governments, industries, and citizens to go about their daily lives in agreement that allows unity, respect, and civility.

As with any matter of human existence, the changes in other industries bring up new questions about what, how, and by what means a society will operate.

While there have been a handful of genuinely notable revolutions to modern society over the millennials, perhaps the most transformative would be the technological revolution.

how ai automation is reshaping legal practices

The influx of various ideas, systems, and machines has woven itself into every nuance of the global populace, and with that has come a rapid evolution of personal and societal abilities.

Computers, technology, and communications have undergone drastic improvements, and the rate at which those advancements are multiplied and enhanced is hard to keep up with.

The revelatory embracement of so many of the ideas and technologies made available to the public and private sectors only increases the pace at which the demand and production of advanced technologies will be integrated into society.

However, as with all inventions and innovation, there is a period in which those ideas and technologies are accepted and built into existing systems, industries, and production methods; other sectors of society must consider how they must adapt.

Not doing so runs the risk of becoming obsolete and extinct. Since the practice of law is not a part of modern culture that can be abandoned, business and thought leaders aware of these shifts actively participate in reevaluating these dynamics. AI and automation will change the future of legal practice.

How that changes legal practice is still to be discovered, but here are some current examples and ideas of what that may look like.

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Technology and Its Influence on The Practice of Law

Artificial intelligence, the new buzzword, is quickly becoming one of the most potentially influential forces the world has ever had to reckon with.

The gradual introduction of advanced computer processing potentials has been steadily growing since the invention of the computer. Still, software and hardware have come a long way since the first computers.

The processing power now available in some children’s toys dwarfs what was found in the most expensive PCs even a few decades ago.

As both mediums have advanced, humanity has been playing with making those systems operate more intelligently and efficiently. Though things were not yet termed artificial intelligence, their capacities mirrored much of human potential and behavior.

With the ever-increasing demand for faster productivity, efficiency, and profitability, the inventiveness of humankind has led to a near-greedy demand for enhanced operating systems.

AI has drastically changed how businesses operate, from the financial sector production lines to healthcare.

The automation of tasks, which used to take entire teams of people, has now been boxed into portable hardware, which, as many see it, has made modern life more productive and accessible.

However, as with all technologies, a period of adjustment is required, and legal professionals are doing their best to consider how and which of these technologies to adopt while still respecting and maintaining the necessity and efficacy of their practices.

No industry will be immune to the impact of AI’s presence in society. Still, the legal sector, which has, in many ways, always had a heavy reliance on human presence and expertise, is being challenged in some ways.

Here are some ways AI technology and automation change how attorneys practice law.

Research

A case cannot be won without research. The internet is one thing, but there are now entire systems powered by AI that aid in and generate the analysis of vast amounts of information found in the various databases that house legal information.

Things like laws, county statutes, regulations, case studies and trends, and cases under review all fall under the categories of the necessary information to be reviewed before a lawyer may have built the most robust case possible for a client.

AI enhances all of this, often drastically reducing the search time by intelligently influencing the search parameters to provide new and helpful resources.

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Automation

As with all humanity, most of the world was trapped and limited by analog mediums until a few decades ago. Since so much of the world now exists in a digital format, the means and methods of accessing that information have also been digitized.

AI and computer automation can now assist the once demanding and time-draining task of analyzing contracts and other legal paperwork. The intelligent systems and algorithms, which are AI software’s processing capacities, now behave with advanced, adaptive learning strategies by which large swaths of data can be analyzed.

The information and conclusions derived from cold documents make the identification of key insights and even the presence of human error a much more effective and reliable way by which to review documents.

The technology empowered by AI tech also influences lawyers’ abilities to consider cases and contracts and make detailed risk assessments. Using keywords, ideas, parameters, and goals, the programs can identify words and clauses that help determine any potential risks within the data.

The results generated help to create suggestions for actions. The pace with which legal teams can now analyze and review various contracts empowers lawyers to judge and accurately determine contracts for consistency.

By freeing human beings from this otherwise tedious and remedial task, they can attend to more important, specific, and highly specialized work.

Greater Insight

AI can provide critical insights into the processes by which law firms make important legal decisions. The abilities that come with AI software make it very easy to process massive amounts of complex legal information.

The programming enables the machines to sort through mountains of information, the results of which assist professionals in their decision-making processes.

Drawing from massive databases that compile everything from changes in regulation, trends, and current cases, those programs enable teams to stay up to date on all that may be happening locally and even globally if there is that need.

These predictive abilities are invaluable not just from a time-saving standpoint but from the ability to enhance the focus needed to make smarter, more informed decisions by which law firms are more likely to win cases.

Reduction in Costs

The legal profession has long operated under the terms of billable hours as a means by which to collect payment. This, too, is now under the influence of AI capabilities.

The increased pace at which AI tech can complete tasks that otherwise take many hours means that the number of hours that might be commonly related to a case in the past will likely be drastically reduced due to enhancements. This will ultimately, maybe even permanently, alter how companies bill clients.

Where billable hours have been the norm, there may be a shift to fixed rates. This would create greater transparency in how business is operated and what clients are charged for, leading to decreased rates.

Lower rates mean many more people may feel they have access to legal advice. The shift will drive more innovation and shifts in operating procedures and policies as the years move forward.

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Long Term Impact

With the influx of technological capacity and its ability to reduce the time spent on remedial, tedious tasks, the responsibilities traditionally handed to up-and-coming attorneys and paralegals will likely change.

The enabled software will soon overtake these routine tasks to do the work that a human mind once needed.

Legal research, filing, complex analysis, and reviewing documents for spelling errors will no longer be the job of interns and trainees.

Still, it will be given to competent machines. While this point may frighten and disturb some people to think that humans are being replaced in some ways, it highlights the differences that machines cannot (yet) replicate in nuanced human behavior.

Original ideation, social formalities, and the ability to sympathize and empathize with clients to make them feel heard and helped all fall into the essential categories of human ability called emotional intelligence.

Machines are too cold and calculating to make people feel cared for in ways that will make clients feel comfortable enough to want to work with a law firm.

Complex interpersonal communication will always be for negotiation, advocacy, and social sensitivity.

Certain companies are working diligently on integrating such capabilities into AI software and hardware, but that technology is not yet here.

If anything, the capacity that AI brings into the workplace for managing specific tasks frees capable humans to concentrate on the more critical issues of a case.

Education and Training

Shifting industry trends means that how students of prospective fields are being trained will also need to adapt. In anticipation of how modern AI-informed technology is changing the landscape of law practice, many accredited law schools are adapting their curriculum to include the use and introduction of this software.

The idea is to introduce the next generation of lawyers to the tools commonly found and used in real life.

The hands-on experience enabled by the interaction with these technologies better equips people to understand how to navigate, use, and interact with the services provided by the many different AI systems, their interfaces, and their working potential.

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Ethical Considerations for the Future of Legal Practice

Ethics will always be a part of legal practice. Still, the quickly rising use of AI-informed technology is, as it should, giving rise to many important considerations of how ethics might change in the coming years.

The same shifts in practice and agreement upon ethical standards of practice will also need to be considered and programmed into the operative capacities of AI tech.

There are several ways in which ethical considerations may come into question with the increased use of AI.

Privacy is an essential and all too fleeting factor in today’s interconnected digital economies.

Since legal work requires a solid base of personal information in the legal process, guidelines and understandings of who will ultimately be responsible must be established.

Accountability will be an essential factor, but so will the assurance and safeguarding of the systems that maintain records of the personal data collected for case purposes.

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Conclusion

As with any technology, the effectiveness of systems and task orientation will be increased in whatever field those technologies are adopted.

The gradual adoption of AI technology is here. While AI can certainly simplify, streamline, and enhance the completion of specific tasks, it will not be able to replace the complex, social-emotional reasons required to serve clients fully. AI is here to stay, but so is the humanity needed to care well for clients.

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell is a well-known tech expert hailing from Silicon Valley. She is a talented writer focusing on creating easily understandable technical content. Sarah is highly skilled in crafting helpful tutorials and app reviews, making her an indispensable asset to the tech community. Her background in Computer Science gives her a comprehensive understanding of complex concepts, which she expertly simplifies for readers of all skill levels.
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