How Is Artificial Intelligence Shaping The Legal Sector of Today?

Introduction

Machine learning application was established by a group of American academics. The application claimed to be capable of predicting the result of a case at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) with an accuracy of approximately 70.2% and the voting performance of individual judges with approximately 71.9% accuracy. 

Furthermore, it was established that the application used data regarding the political preferences and previous voting performance of the individual justices.

Undoubtedly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is among the latest technologies that are gaining popularity rapidly. Its effect is visible in almost every sector of the world. The presence of AI is quite evident in the courtrooms too. As pointed out in the previous article, Legal tech is the latest trend in today’s time! Law firms are using different technologies to manage their tasks much more efficiently.

How is technology overtaking the markets?

Here’s what Maryam Salehijam, a book author who has an LLB and PhD in Law, has to say on the topic:

“Fortunately, we live in the age of technology, which means we have new solutions to the age-old problem of billable hours. In the past, some considered legal technology to be a threat to law firms by undermining the billable hour model and breaking the lock that lawyers once held over legal information. However, it is clear that if a law firm implements the right technology, it can stay ahead of its competitors and help its lawyers to reach their professional goals.”

The competency brewing up

It isn’t just about the technology entering; it matters how efficiently it is being used. Multiple ALSPs and the Big 4 accountancy firms compete with the other legal industry firms. Yet, amidst all the competition, technology is one of the biggest factors that aid in the success of any firm in the legal business.

Thoughts of Benjamin Alarie

Benjamin Alarie is the CEO of Blue J Legal. Blue J Legal is a brand in itself and leads the industry in developing legal technology powered by machine learning. The company aims to help tax practitioners gain unparalleled visibility into challenging areas of law.

Benjamin states: “In the immediate future, AI will enable lawyers to focus on the highest value work for their clients. Machines can handle much of the busy work that used to eat up hours, and AI is increasingly being applied to more complex tasks. Once freed from the minutiae, this frees up human expertise to think more creatively and effectively”.

AI and ethical principles in the legal sector

As with any technology, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal sector must adhere to ethical principles to ensure that it does not undermine the integrity of the justice system. Similarly, ensuring that the design and implementation of AI services and tools are matched with essential rights, including privacy, equal treatment, and fair trial. Here are some key ethical principles:

Transparency: AI in court proceedings should be transparent and comprehensible to all parties involved. This includes disclosing how AI algorithms are used, what data is used to train them, and how the AI outputs are used to make decisions. Thus, such full disclosure will make it possible to evaluate the choices made, the reasoning and the assumptions used. This will ensure effective legal protection against decisions based on those choices, reasoning and assumption.

Equal treatment. AI cannot be discriminatory or biased against any individual or group. This includes ensuring that AI algorithms do not perpetuate existing biases in the justice system. For example, the information used by the algorithm may be the cause, and the partiality may also be embedded in the algorithm itself.

Accountability: The use of AI in court proceedings should be subject to oversight and accountability measures. This includes having mechanisms in place to review and challenge the decisions made by AI algorithms.

Privacy and Data Security: Courts and legal professionals have a duty to protect the sensitive and confidential information in their possession, which is even more crucial when using AI. Algorithms used in AI systems can analyze vast amounts of data. Therefore, this information must be secure and protected from unauthorized access.

Therefore, to address this concern, ethical principles must be established and adhered to by all parties involved in the advancement and implementation of legal AI systems, for example, including guidelines on the collection, use, and storage of data, as well as mechanisms for transparency and accountability in the event of a data breach will be crucial.

Human oversight: AI-powered systems can be used to analyze evidence, predict outcomes, and even make decisions in some cases. However, there is always a risk of bias or error in the AI’s decision-making process due to the algorithm, which could lead to serious consequences, particularly for the parties involved in the case. 

Therefore, human oversight allows human experts to review and verify the decisions made by AI systems by ensuring that they are fair, accurate, and ethical. Consequently, it will be easier to identify and address any errors or biases that may arise thereto if human professionals can be allowed to monitor and review the decisions made by AI systems.

Roles of AI in the legal industry

Automated legal services

Regardless of how amazing your team of customer service reps is, they will experience bad days from time to time and get exhausted. After all, they’re only human. On the other hand, a sophisticated AI might become a perfect representative. Bots never get frustrated, have a bad day, and never accidentally say the wrong thing in front of a customer.

Judge bots

While Artificial Intelligence assistants can support judges in their decision-making process by predicting and preparing judicial decisions, robot judges can replace human judges and decide cases autonomously in fully automated court proceedings. Take Xiaofa, for instance; a robot stands in Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, offering legal guidance and assisting general society with getting hold of legal terminology.

Artificial intelligence partners with lawyers

With the time savings of automated review, research, and document quality control, artificial intelligence frees up attorneys’ time and mental energy for higher-level work. This enhances creativity, allowing attorneys to add unique value and focus completely on the work computers can’t do.

Other tasks that can be done by AI, which can be handy for lawyers, are:

  • E-Discovery
  • Legal research
  • Document management and automation
  • Due diligence
  • Litigation analysis
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve access to justice
  • Better client-centred experience

What does the future of law hold with artificial intelligence coming in?

The innovation being brought by AI into the legal industry will completely change the face of the sector.

There are endless backlogs in many court systems, even today. With AI coming in, individuals will be able to get better and quicker access to justice. The technological aspect has already made a lot of advancements in legal businesses. For instance, people can submit their arguments and evidence through a dedicated online medium. Thereby moving the judgments to the internet and reducing time in the courtrooms.

With AI booming, the legal tech will only get better in the future. Rather than just the decisions being made online, it will be much more than that. For instance, AI will create a system where the tech product will be able to guide people too. There will be a diagnostic system where people can get guidance about their various legal options.

Also, they can understand the assembling of evidence, alternative ways as solutions for disputes, etc. Further, AI is of great use when it comes to making predictions. Thus, one can expect a system with the most likely outcomes for a particular dispute.

What can artificial intelligence do for courts?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the way courts operate, from improving access to justice to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of court proceedings. Besides, unlike human judges, AI does not get tired. Here are a few examples: 

Predictive analytics: AI can analyze data from past cases to predict the likely outcome of future cases. This can help judges and lawyers make more informed decisions and improve the accuracy of their predictions because court proceedings risk having an unpredictable outcome. Additionally, the more cases become complex with more information and issues, the more the risk increases. Hence more interest in AI due to its ability to reduce risk.

Access to justice: AI can help improve access to justice by providing legal information and resources to people who cannot afford traditional legal services.

Case management: AI can help courts manage their cases more effectively by automating routine tasks such as sorting large cases, document processing, scheduling, and case assignment. This can free up judges and court staff to focus on more complex issues.

Sentencing: AI can assist judges in determining appropriate sentences by analyzing factors such as the defendant’s criminal history and the severity of the crime and Predicting recidivism such as the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS). Some U.S. criminal judges use COMPAS to assess the recidivism hazard of a convicted person, particularly in making judgments on pre-trial detention or sentencing.

What are some of the limitations of artificial intelligence that can affect the use of AI in the legal sector?

AI has its share of limitations, especially considering the organizational challenges of AI. The 3 most common challenges that we shall face are:

Difficult and costly process of labelling data. In cases where data becomes expensive and limited to collect, AI solutions become less effective compared to traditional workflow engine applications. 

Requirement of massive amounts of data to complete training procedure. The rule of AI is simple, the more data you store within the machine, the better the results are generated. However, organizations with limited data would find it difficult to implement AI at a large scale, especially considering the data limits and cost barriers. This is why AI is often associated with big firms since small or medium enterprises shall experience these difficulties.

Issues with explainability. An alternate way of understanding AI is comparing it to a “black box”. This means it cannot provide clarity or improvements related to the decisions made. This becomes an issue, especially in the legal field, considering that reasonings play a vital role in decision-making. 

Support from those in the industry

The biggest roadblock at any point in time is going to be the political aspects of bringing in this technological change. The support of lawyers, firms, and judges is essential to shift more towards legal tech. Also, to switch to simplified ways to make court systems much more efficient.

At the same time, the law institutions imparting education should change the curriculum to generate 21st-century lawyers. 

Frequently Asked Question

What is AI in the legal sector?

AI in the legal sector involves using machine learning algorithms and other advanced technologies, such as software, to analyze legal data and automate legal processes. This includes everything from document review and contract analysis to legal research and decision-making.

How is the legal sector responding to the use of AI?

The legal sector is responding to the use of AI in various ways. For example, most law firms and legal departments are investing heavily in AI and other advanced technologies to improve efficiency and for better client service, while others are taking steps to ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically, taking into account concerns such as privacy.

Final words about artificial intelligence

It is supposed to be an accumulation of efforts from the universities teaching law, lawyers in practice, judges, and law firms. This effort is essential to bring about this technical change for the better. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to bring about massive innovation and make the system of courtrooms much more effective.

It’s imperative that we recognize the immense potential of AI in courtrooms and embrace innovations like digital signatures, urging legal professionals to explore the possibilities of electronic signatures as a crucial step toward a more efficient and effective legal landscape.

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