Artificial Intelligence: Boon or bane for the lawyers

Adv. George Merlo Pallath

These days, one of the hottest subject in the media, whether it be the newspapers or the TV channels or the social media, is about how the humans and specifically the jobs are going to be impacted by the advances in artificial Intelligence and robotics. Anybody using the latest smartphones is already aware of the power and potential of virtual personal assistants such as “Siri” and “Google Alexa”. Smart home devices have the ability to learn a person’s behaviour patterns by adjusting the settings of appliances or thermostats, while self-driving cars are already becoming a reality. Soon these personal assistants will develop into robots that will be equipped with Artificial intelligence. Within the next decade, we will see a quantum jump in robotics and Artificial Intelligence based applications. Already in USA, they are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to diagnose diseases. Many hospitals already use robotics for surgery. Artificial Intelligence equipped self-learning robots is already a reality and will be replacing humans in various fields within as short a time as 10 to 15 years. But AI will completely replace all sorts of repetitive, routine and optimizing jobs in the world. And it’s not just in factories, but truckers, drivers and even jobs like telesales, customer service and haematologists as well as radiologists over the next 15 years are going to be gradually replaced by artificial intelligence. AI will displace almost 40% of the jobs in the world. In the past, we humans used technology as a tool. Now, technology has already advanced to the point where it is using and even controlling us. In fact, humans are becoming the impediment.
If the practitioners of the legal profession, coat and gown clad in colonial style, tradition-bound and labour-heavy, dealing with human problems and emotions, still think that it cannot be touched by Artificial Intelligence, there is room for concern. The future is already here. Already a lot of work of Lawyers and Judges is being done or at least supported by computers. However, at present most of the work which is done by the computer in this field is typing, data feeding, data analysis, data search, templates and repetitive type of work. Those are all tasks that used to be done by flesh-and-blood lawyers. Increasing automation of the legal industry, not only promises to increase efficiency and save clients’ money but could also cut jobs in the sector as the technology becomes responsible for tasks currently performed by humans. The legal field is also going to be heavily impacted.
Welcome to the fuzzy new world of “Artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, data science” where the machines are able to think, learn, upgrade and update all by itself. These Artificial Intelligence platforms will “mine” documents for evidence that will be useful in litigation, to review and create contracts, raise red flags within companies to identify potential fraud and other misconduct or do legal research and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions.
Advocates of AI, however, argue there could be an increase in the sector’s labour force as the technology drives costs down and makes legal services more affordable to greater numbers of people especially in the developed countries, where the litigation cost is exorbitantly high at present.
Right now the legal field, is where the other industries were 10 and 15 years ago, according to Noory Bechor, CEO of “LawGeex”, a leading AI-powered platform for legal contract review. Imagine drafting a contract or scrutinizing a contract. It is repetitive drudge work, almost mechanical. Once you get the hang of it and you have it in your head, what a contract should and should not contain, it becomes easy for handling these kinds of drudge work. But humans do not like to handle such repetitive work and tend to make mistakes or overlook even obvious points. That convinced him that all these tedious works can be automated. The LawGeex platform that Noory Bechor developed can take a new contract, one that it’s never seen before, read it and then compare it to a database of every similar contract that it has seen in the past. Like other AI platforms, “LawGeex” also learns from each review it performs, just like we learned to do as young lawyers.
Jay Leib, founder and managing member of “NexLP”, Chicago-based company offers “eDiscovery”, an AI platform that searches documents for information relevant to lawsuits and other litigation. According to Jay Leib, Human beings are not very good at keyword searches. They miss out a lot of things. Moreover, the explosion in the amount of electronic data generated today makes it hard for humans to keep up. There’s just so much more data now, that you need these technologies to boil the ocean for you and find relevant material. “E Discovery” AI Platform will not only look at the text of a document or email, but it also analyses the tone of the conversation, who sent it, to see whether the item should be flagged for review in litigation etc.
He also points out that computers do not get tired, they do not get hungry, they do not fall asleep. All the biological problems that can happen to a human being are not applicable to computers. Computers will work 24 X 7, 365 days, without rest, sleep or exhaustion. They do not require any holidays or sick leave.
Another big international law firm “Reed Smith” recently put that question to the test with “RAVN ACE”, the AI platform from “RAVN Systems”. Reed Smith had RAVN conduct a review of hundreds of pages of documents. “RAVN system” not only compared very favourably with humans, it worked much faster than its human counterparts. In fact, it was so fast that it finished in minutes, what humans would have taken days to complete. The speed and data analysis capacity of AI platforms have now grabbed the interest of large firms and multinational companies.
“ROSS Intelligence” makes a legal research platform based on IBM’s cognitive computing system “IBM Watson”, which is being used by a number of the world’s biggest law firms, including Dentons, as well as Latham & Watkins. According to Andrew Arruda, CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence:
“There are thousands of laws are being published each day… But until recently, our computers have had a very superficial understanding of natural language. “ROSS” pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from the document in question.”
A standard question could be along the lines of “Can a stay order be lifted if the plaintiff has obtained it through misrepresentation?” Answers against this kind of question can be tricky with keyword searches but artificial intelligence is well-suited to parse out the meaning from this question and look for answers across billions of documents. The system analyses the meaning and relationships between words to understand the legal concepts they form. For each answer, the system shows the level of confidence it has in its answer.
According to Andrew Arruda, his company is working with lawyers from every type of organization, in-house, big, medium, small, solo practitioners as well as law schools and bar associations. He noted that his company’s new platform is already saving 20 to 30 hours of research time per case for its clients. This translates into huge savings of time and money and the big law firms and corporations are very much interested in cutting down on costs. According to Jay Leib, founder and managing member of NexLP, Artificial Intelligence platforms will become the order of the day as early as 2020 and 2025. If AI solutions become pervasive, law firms may cut staff. Paralegals and legal assistants are in the high-risk category. At the same time, lawyers, which rely on labour input from legal assistants, are in the low risk category.
Many Law enforcement officials in USA are using AI to predict when and where crimes are likely to occur.
Many Law Firms in USA use AI to predict legal outcomes and to find out which Lawyers win before which judges! In Europe AI reached the same verdict as Judges as the European Court of human rights in nearly 4 out of 5 cases involving torture, degrading treatment and privacy.
IBM WATSON another question answering, Computer System is a machine which can answer your legal queries at home without approaching a Lawyer. It not only has speech reorganization, but it is created to understand the intention of the words spoken. Another key feature is its ability to learn from its own success and failures. It has the capacity to keep on upgrading itself.
Blue J Legal: Another Canadian Legal start up can predict with greater than 90% accuracy what a court of law would hold in different circumstances.
Coming to India Aniruddha Yadav, an Engineer has founded a new Law tech start-up “Case mine”. It guides Lawyers through different types of work, while connecting them to relevant templates, documents and precedents. Judges can upload both the Appellants submission and the Respondents submission and within seconds see whether both parties are missing out and important precedent and lines of thought that are important to the case.
Mumbai based Law Firm Cyril Amal Chand Mangal das has adopted Canada based machine learning legal system ‘KIRA’ which has striking efficiency gains.
At present, the legal fees are exorbitantly high in the USA & other developed countries. As AI platforms become more common, the cost of legal work is going to see a dramatic fall and the cost of legal work and litigation will come down drastically. It is a reality that many individuals who need a lawyer at present cannot afford one. Theoretically, lawyers can be more efficient from day one because of the technology. The activities that AI excels at is data retrieval, data crunching. This is not a field where people excel. Lawyers with the help of faster data retrieval can theoretically become more efficient at lesser cost and input. The most important advancement in AI is that technology has already started to make use of AI platforms which continuously learn and upgrade themselves.

1)Accuracy and precision
2)Reduction in time consumption
3) Reduction in costs
4)Solution to access to justice problem. Computers do not get tired, do not get hungry, do not get sleep! i.e. they do not have biological problems of human beings.
5)Computers does not suffer from human prejudices and biases.
6) Artificial intelligence with much superior data retrieval and data crunching capacity and algorithms, will not miss out much. They will not suffer from memory issues.
7) AI will be much faster than humans.
8) AI will excel in drafting routine documents and pleadings.
9) Likewise, AI will excel in finding the right precedents on any question of law within minutes.
10) Cannot rule out AI being used for judging a case in future.
11) It will liberate us from doing routine drudge work so that we can concentrate more on creative work.
12) It keeps on getting faster and faster. More powerful.

1)Unstructured human interactions being key part of Lawyering and Judging is extremely difficult to automate.
2)Computers cannot articulate the diverse emotional states of human beings.
3)Computers may be able to read or analysis sentences but may not be able to understand and summarize entire paragraph.
4) Advocacy requires conceptual creativity and flexibility which are beyond current scope of computers.
5)By delegating increasing number of tasks to machines, there is a danger that existing skills will atrophy.
Sofia Lingos, a lawyer and board member of the “Legal Technology Resource Centre” of the “American Bar Association” says that lawyers should be both afraid and encouraged by artificial intelligence. It is wise to embrace AI, so that it can be a tool as opposed to an impediment. No one wants to be competing against IBM Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer system.
It is thus clear that two views emerge, one holding that given the reach of AI at this point of time, it will remain as an enabler or supporter of the legal field. But not as replacement of lawyers and judges. It may even be considered legal malpractice not to use AI one day,” says Tom Girardi, renowned civil litigator and the real-life inspiration for the lawyer in the movie, Erin Brockovich. “It would be analogous to a lawyer in the late twentieth century still doing everything by hand when this person could use a computer.” Lawyers and judges are only as good as the information they receive, and AI has the potential to significantly increase the quality and quantity of information.
However, the other view holds that Computers and Machines with AI have not only an ability to store and deliver but also an ability to learn. If scientists focus on this ability to learn, the notion of robots replacing lawyers and judges may well become reality. We may even see Robot Lawyers advising clients within 10 years.
It is predicted by the experts in the field of artificial intelligence, that within the next 5 to 10 years, many of the present-day jobs will be taken over by Artificial Intelligence. This includes the profession of law also. Even the job of a judge is being tried out and AI platforms are coming up trumps. Nobody is immune to change. The legal sector has been slow to change, technologically or otherwise. But change it must and change it will. The next decade will see more momentous changes taking place in our lives and particularly in the legal field than what has happened in the last 300 years put together.
Though no consensus exists yet as to how AI will ultimately shape the legal profession, we do know AI is poised to transform nearly every facet of our lives, and the new technologies it’s powering will create a host of unprecedented legal issues, including ownership, liability, privacy and policing. For a taste of what’s coming, just consider this: when self-driving cars start getting into accidents, who will be deemed responsible? The car owner? The manufacturer? The software designer? The very fact these are complicated issues soon to be exacerbated by unprecedented technology reveals the need for more lawyers, but not just any kind of lawyers. We need those capable of making sense of our rapidly evolving society.
Song Richardson, Dean of University of California says “What worries me is that we won’t have lawyers who understand algorithms and AI well enough to even know what questions to ask, nor judges who feel comfortable enough with these new technologies to rule on cases involving them,” says Richardson.
In the light of such valid concerns, it is becoming increasingly clear our law schools must prepare tomorrow’s lawyers to use the new technology. But even this is not enough. We also need today’s practicing counsel and judges to grasp AI and all it promises to better serve and protect our fellow humans. We need lawyers who can make sense of a rapidly evolving society. Maybe in future, the lawyers might not only pass law, but might also have to master AI and robotics.
The best advice to young lawyers is “If you can’t beat them, join them!”


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