Artificial Intelligence (AI)Tech Tips

Legal Industry Looks to Adopt AI Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has shown remarkable growth in recent years, and the legal industry is one of many sectors seeking to adopt this emerging technology. AI tools have great potential for streamlining legal procedures in a field where efficiency and accuracy are paramount. According to Legal Dive, around 75% of legal chiefs plan to incorporate generative AI tools into their operations, primarily for electronic discovery and compliance monitoring. Much of the legal industry has shifted attitudes toward technology. While caution is still exhibited, many are more willing and comfortable with automating work and embracing and investing in new technologies to become effective business partners. 

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks requiring human intelligence. Our “What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how does it work” post highlights that AI can understand natural language, recognise patterns, make decisions, solve problems, and learn from experience, among many other functions. Notably, it does these things with a human-like approach. It simulates human behaviour and decision-making but does so at much faster speeds and through analysing large amounts of data. AI systems also have an algorithm that instructs how it processes data and undergoes training to enhance its capabilities. Once trained, the AI program can make predictions or decisions based on new, unseen data.

AI tools in the legal industry

In the Lawyer UK 200 report, 57% of firms in the survey claimed their AI implementations have been successful, with other studies reporting that 23% of a lawyer’s time can now be automated with AI, saving around two hours out of their 10-hour working days. Case in point, one of the most highly sought-after AI tools in the industry is contract lifecycle solutions, where a lawyer may spend three to five business days reviewing a standard contract of up to 30 pages — more, depending on whether a contract is lengthier or complex.

Contract management is essential for reducing risk, ensuring compliance, and cultivating strong relationships with clients and partners. Since contract management requires the utmost accuracy, AI tools make the lifecycle more efficient. Definely’s contract lifecycle solution enables legal professionals to create, draft, and proofread contracts easily. Legal teams can create legal documents by leveraging the firm’s internal document repository and data, draft these documents by accessing and editing defined terms and cross-references in one place, and automatically proofread with a button. These functions allow professionals to enhance their contracts and legal documents and save time by eliminating tedious manual processes.

Another AI tool gaining traction in the legal sector is generative AI, which includes algorithms like ChatGPT — a tool 90% of lawyers have used, according to a survey from the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Europe 2023 report. Generative AI can be used to write part of a judgment or a summary of a particular area of law; more than 90% of lawyers have said that generative AI will significantly affect how they deliver legal advice.

In law school, these tools can act as judges to provide law students with real-time feedback or be incorporated into debates to challenge students’ knowledge and application of their education. Aside from well-known models like ChatGPT, generative AI programs like Lexis+ AI are made specifically for the legal industry. It can draft legal advice and communications, summarise critical information from firm documents, and provide citations that link to legal authorities.

What’s next for AI in the legal industry?

With AI becoming more integrated into the legal sector, professionals will have to be well-informed about how it works and how it can be used to improve their practice while also being able to advise clients on AI-related legal issues and implications.

Lawyers and legal chiefs will have to invest time in understanding the landscape. In an interview with the Financial Times, Pinsent Masons partner Alastair Morrison acknowledges the serious disruptive power of artificial intelligence. “The firms who do not embrace the opportunity AI poses now will not see the erosion going around them until it is too late,” said Morrison, emphasising how Big Law has always been able to deliver complex legal solutions through people. “[Now], we have a proper tool that enables the delivery of these solutions at scale.”

Being familiar with how AI systems and their algorithms work can make for more seamless adoption and help firms understand which AI tools will benefit the business the most. This know-how will also help provide clients with information on intellectual property, ethics, bias, privacy concerns and more, allowing for a more updated practice that can handle modern-day legal challenges.  AI is a relatively new area of exploration for the legal industry and still poses some challenges for adoption. Legal professionals will need to foster a culture of adaptability and be open to learning more about the workings of AI technology, its potential impacts on legal work, and how it can be implemented ethically into the practice. 

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Jason Davies

I am one of the editors here at I am a UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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