Artificial Intelligence: What is it, and how is it transforming the provision of legal services?

I’m no expert on artificial intelligence – or even technology for that matter – but it doesn’t matter. It’s 2017, and artificial intelligence is profoundly impacting our personal and professional lives. As a millennial (yes, I went there), I am All. About. Convenience. So, if Amazon wants to predict my buying behavior, or Netflix prompts me with my next binge-worthy obsession, I’m all for it. Whether we realize it or not, we see artificial intelligence every day.

What is artificial intelligence?
Simply put, artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, is the application of technology to mimic human intelligence. What makes AI so fascinating is the ability for AI machines to understand, reason and learn, improving with each interaction. As a result, AI provides meaningful insights from large amounts of unstructured data.

How is it changing the provision of legal services?
If you are imagining robot lawyers rattling off legal advice to clients, arguing with opposing robot-counsel and negotiating settlements, let’s take a big step back. In a nutshell, AI enables law firms to be faster, stronger, smarter, more strategic, more accurate and less expensive.

Legal Research. Artificial intelligence allows mundane and repetitive tasks to be replaced with tools, like ROSS, an AI application for legal research that uses cognitive computing to comb through a vast legal database for answers to any legal question. Lawyers can ask ROSS questions in normal language, as you would ask the weather of Siri or Alexa, and receive answers within seconds, saving tons of time for the attorney and money for the client. Firms such as Dentons, Bryan Cave, Latham & Watkins and BakerHostetler are already benefitting from having ROSS on their team.

Due Diligence & Contract Review. Kira and eBrevia make contract review faster while simultaneously mitigating risk of errors and unexpected liabilities. With AI, contractual obligations are tracked and opportunities to reclaim revenue or eliminate costs are identified. AI tools such as these bring unprecedented accuracy and efficiency to due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, real estate leases, financial deals and contracts at risk of noncompliance with various regulatory bodies. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt and other AmLaw100 firms are already using Kira, and Baker McKenzie uses eBrevia.

Document Automation. With AI applications such as like Neota Logic, firms, like Foley & Lardner and Akerman, use AI for client intake and document automation. Tools like this use information input directly by the client or prospective client to pre-screen prospective clients, prep for meetings, open new matters and generate various legal documents, such as contracts, NDAs, compliance documents, pre-merger notifications, requests and employee handbooks.

Legal AnalyticsLex Machina and Ravel – soon to be one in the same – mine litigation data about judges, lawyers, parties and relevant topics to provide invaluable litigation strategies and tactics in order to win lawsuits. In this application of AI, lawyers are armed with what’s most important to their case, why, and what the most effectively and persuasively present that information. Duane Morris, White & Case and Akin Gump are among the firms already tapping into this competitive edge.

The applications of AI are endless, and this list is only the tip of the iceberg. The end result: your clients will welcome the cost savings, increased efficiency and winning results, and your attorneys will happily replace some of the time spent on monotonous and arduous tasks with more satisfying client interactions and appreciate the accuracy, efficiency and predictive capabilities AI provides.

So, while we don’t have to fear robotic world domination yet, we have and will continue to see AI touch our daily lives and the legal industry in the coming years – in many ways for the better.

For more on artificial intelligence, LMA facilitates a plethora of resources available to you. A couple of my favorites are Today in Legal Artificial Intelligence, Mark T. Greene Ph.D.’s always interesting and often funny daily blog, and the LMA Artificial Intelligence Community, where you can start a discussion and access additional resources.

By Ashley Rosenblatt, Marketing Coordinator, Gordon Feinblatt for the September/October 2017 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Newsletter

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