While time is of the essence for lawyers they often find themselves caught up in monotonous and time-consuming tasks. This time, if saved, can be otherwise spent in valuable activities like case planning or client consultation. 

Lately, the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by a storm. The legal industry is no stranger to this ongoing AI Revolution. AI tools can be used to automate routine tasks and streamline workflows which can enhance cost efficiency and productivity. Lawyers can focus better on clients when they spend less time doing monotonous and time-consuming tasks.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and How Are Lawyers Using It?

AI refers to computer software and systems which have been trained to perform specific tasks and improve over time through feedback. AI can learn quickly and can process vast volumes of data to complete data-intensive tasks in a short amount of time. Moreover, AI can recognize patterns in a dataset much better and faster than humans. This helps AI to analyse information by spotting  inconsistencies and mistakes.  

In today’s digital age data has been anointed as the new gold. This is just as relevant for the legal profession where voluminous case laws, statutes, and commentaries take a huge amount of time to sift through, and analyse to form an opinion and apply to the facts at hand. As the corpus of legal texts and material keeps piling up, AI can potentially step in to allow lawyers to keep abreast. A few potential uses of AI in the legal industry are as follows: 

  1. Review of Documents
  2. Legal Research in Case Laws and Statutes
  3. Analysis of Legal Documents like Agreements, and Statutes
  4. Anonymization and Pseudonymization of Confidential Information
  5. Proofreading for Grammatical and Other Errors
  6. Organisation of Documents. 

The growing role of AI in the legal industry

In the short period where AI became mainstream, it has become an integral part of the legal industry. AI has been utilised for various workflows from legal research to contract analysis. One thing is clear – AI tools can help lawyers to focus on what they do best – practice law. 

  1. Document Review and Analysis

Document review is one of the most important tasks for lawyers, but it is also very time-consuming. E-discovery tools like Relativity allow lawyers to process, review, and tag large number of electronic documents. They also have the capability to identify relevant documents and extract critical information. This overall process not only increases efficiency and accuracy but also reduces the likelihood of error. AI tools that can help labelling documents efficiently, categorizing evidence as per relevance, and summarizing documents can allow lawyers to focus on interpreting laws and strategizing rather than sorting through paperwork.

2. Legal Research

While AI is not yet capable of conducting precise legal research, AI-powered platforms have streamlined the process substantially. For instance, lawyers can scan and search large databases of various statutes, case laws, etc. and sort them on parameters like jurisdiction, practice area, etc. Tools like Fastcase and Casetext are such examples which can be integrated into existing workflows to allow quicker legal research.

3. Due Diligence

Conducting due diligence requires lawyers to review large quantities of documents. AI can be leveraged to review such documents at an exponentially faster pace. They can also spot inconsistencies across multiple documents. While a lawyer may still need to doublecheck to ensure accuracy, the time required in such tasks can be reduced significantly. AI tools like Luminance are already being used for due diligence in M&A transactions.  

4. Litigation Analysis

Oftentimes lawyers need to quantify litigation or judging its viability. This required extensive analysis of precedents to identify trends. AI tools can help conduct these reviews faster. Lexis Nexis has launched a legal analytics platform Lex Machina which mines vast amounts of legal data to generate insights and analysis that can be utilised for this task.

5. Legal Data Management through Data Masking

As data becomes central for most industries the risk of data piracy has put a premium on data privacy. In such cases, data masking functionality helps law firms to mask their client’s confidential information in documents. This is not only relevant for compliance with GDPR but also helps build trust with clients. Nymiz is one such company that offers AI Powered Data Masking solution. This ensure that lawyers are able to handle sensitive information without the risk of a breach or unauthorised usage.

Benefits of using AI tools for routine tasks

  1. Time Savings

This is an obvious one. If lawyers can automate tasks like document review, data management, and legal research which are the most time-consuming ones with AI, they will be saving a lot of time. This time can then be invested in client-focused activities.

2. Improved Accuracy

AI tools are programmed to sift through large datasets and ensure accuracy. Since they do not get exhausted unlike humans there is minimal error and consistent output. The precision of AI tools helps to identify even the smallest inconsistency ensuring all documents are thoroughly reviewed and vetted for regulatory compliance.

3. Cost Efficiency

Another obvious benefit of AI tools is cost savings. Since lawyers and law firms will spend significantly less time on manual tasks, they will need fewer personnel, leading to reduced operational costs, which is beneficial for small and medium-sized firms. AI tools can help such firms or lawyers to scale proportionally without increasing staff costs providing a competitive edge.

4. Customer-Centric Experience

Given the cost and time efficiency of automating routine legal task, lawyers can focus on providing the best client experience. This will enhance client interaction as they can ensure quicker turnarounds and greater attention to detail. In the long run, better service will lead to long-term client retention.

Final thoughts

While AI is not yet advanced enough to provide fool proof legal information, it has proven potential in the advancement of legal industry.  It is only expected to improve and scale over the years. Lawyers in the future can get more done within less time and instead focus on better client experience.

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