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Rise of the Robots – How Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change how Law Firms work

Away from the hype, companies are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform their business. It’s not just tech-firms, but includes companies from logistics to recruitment, healthcare to building. These companies are using AI to improve their decision making, efficiency and service delivery.

Law Firms are not exempt, AI is already capable of doing some of the jobs that are usually assigned to newly qualified graduates.

However, the following quote from Bill Gates applies just as much to AI as it does to any other technology, Bill says:

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

Therefore, it’s critical that Firms understand their business processes, and which ones would be suitable for the application of AI.

Where mundane routine tasks can be automated, and some decision making taken out of the hands of experts, so AI will give those experts more time to spend on applying their professional judgement, and performing the tasks that require their years of training to be applied.

AI will enable Lawyers to bill more time, if they record it, and bring in fees for higher value work. The utopia of reduced administration costs, and higher billable hours could be just a mouse click away.

Terms like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining should become part of the lexicon of any innovative Law Firm. Their ability to leverage the benefits that this world brings will only be limited their imagination. As computing power, and access to it, grows exponentially in the coming years, any Law Firm wanting to gain an advantage, must embrace the power that AI will bring.

AI is not something for the future, it is already dramatically reducing the time it takes to do searches and cross-referencing of regulatory registers for client names. It’s automating the drafting of certain legal or contract documents from hours to minutes. In litigation, AI has been set to work searching millions of documents, using “machine learning” it’s able to pull out a reduced subset of data to support a case.

Using AI, advance data mining, and Machine Learning will mean that certain elements of Law could be automated, and a savvy start-up will do to Law Firms what Amazon has done to Bookstores. Will AI replace Lawyers, no, but Lawyers must work alongside these software robots to adapt and survive.

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