In 2016, a Deloitte Insight report predicted that there would be profound reforms across the legal profession where more than 100,000 legal jobs would be automated over the course of 10 years. The report also stated that there would be a tipping point in the year 2020 in which law firms would need to change the roles within their firms and who they hired to fit those new roles.
One of the primary drivers of the shifting legal landscape is automation, and more specifically the use of artificial intelligence. While continued automation may lead to the loss of lower-skilled legal jobs, new roles are being created to develop, manage and implement these new technologies. In fact, the report found that there has been an increase of nearly 800,000 higher-skilled, better paid jobs.
The Impact Of AI In Law
So what exactly is artificial intelligence and how is it changing roles in the legal industry? Artificial intelligence is technology that replicates certain operations of the human mind, giving machines the ability to complete tasks that have traditionally required human intelligence. Computers apply data to algorithms to spot patterns and develop insights from that data.
This emerging technology is being applied to certain legal roles, such as document review, due diligence and contract management. In some circumstances, AI can even be used to predict legal outcomes.
Here are just a few roles in which AI is being used in the legal industry.
New software powered by artificial intelligence allows for more efficient document review and legal research. Machines are faster, and arguably better, at sorting through documents to flag relevant information and recognizing patterns between those documents. This reduces the workload required for legal research and doc review, freeing attorneys to pursue higher-level tasks.
Another area in which AI is changing the legal industry is contract review. Lawyers routinely review contracts to identify risks and determine how those risks may impact their client or employer. Similar to reviewing legal documents, AI can quickly analyze contractual language to spot potential issues and help attorneys efficiently redline and negotiate contracts.
Predicting Legal Outcomes
Possibly the most powerful application of AI in the legal industry is its ability to predict legal outcomes. In fact, studies have revealed that AI is better at predicting the outcomes of legal proceedings than their human counterparts. Computers analyze years of historical trial data to make these predictions, eliminating the need to rely on hunches and anecdotal evidence.
How Can You Prepare For The Future Legal Market?
Moving forward, law firms will continue to implement new technology such as AI to improve efficiency and quality of service. The Deloitte report outlines a vision for the future of the profession and finds that there may be fewer traditional lawyers as non-lawyer roles and alternative career options increase. Law school graduates that have experience with AI, or an aptitude for using new technologies, will be positioned to help their employers flex to changes in client demands, regulations and policy developments.
TI:GER provides an environment for law students to learn about new technologies and explore the intersection of business and law. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please contact us today.