Lawyers should embrace AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made some impressive advances in the past decade, specifically in technology designed for legal work. In that time, we’ve been bombarded with warnings that AI will take our jobs and robots will ultimately put humans out of work. And while those fears are largely unfounded, many lawyers remain skeptical of AI and question how it might impact their future careers.

Facing AI fears

First, a reality check: Robots aren’t poised to replace lawyers any time soon. Today’s AI is not capable of replicating an attorney’s legal acumen in terms of creative thinking, areas that involve abstract concepts or ideas, common sense, judgment, or client advocacy. These skills are what make us human, and where lawyers provide the most value to their clients.

In law practice, AI is used to leverage data to increase efficiency, empowering firms to retain clients and generate revenue. This is happening largely through automation, which helps to eliminate routine, repetitive tasks that have traditionally been performed manually. Eliminating these tasks, however, does not mean eliminating jobs. It simply means that the roles of people who once performed these tasks will evolve.

AI in Document Automation

Documents are the lifeblood of the legal industry. Most jobs include tasks or elements that could benefit from automation, and the systems and platforms we use every day are already incorporating aspects of AI to streamline workflows and free up attorneys from administrative tasks.

Document generation, editing, and finalization have traditionally been tedious, time-intensive tasks, particularly for complex contracts. AI in document automation gives law firms and legal departments greater control over their document production and approval processes. Law firms currently using HotDocs, for example:

  • Create thousands of documents weekly, with greater consistency
  • Reduce time spent generating documents by 94%
  • Save thousands of dollars each time a document is created

Document automation is just one popular way AI is streamlining and enhancing the practice law. Exciting work with AI is being done in the areas of enhanced outcome prediction, real-time client dashboards, streamlined research, due diligence, and discovery. Tomas Suros, chief solutions architect at AbacusNext provides a deep dive into each area in “AI: A Lawyer’s Frenemy?,” which appeared in ILTA’s Winter edition of Peer to Peer Magazine.

AI: The Future of Law

AI tools are the future of the legal industry, so it’s crucial for firms to embrace today’s technological advances if they want to remain competitive tomorrow. It’s time to put our unfounded fears of AI aside and understand that AI and automation offer law firms the ability to deliver better work product and better client service.