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How Legal AI Is Changing the Legal Industry Forever

Legal AI taking strides in changing the legal industry forever.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here, and it has capabilities we previously thought impossible. A decade ago, lawyers probably felt like their professions were practically untouchable by technology. While a factory worker or a secretary might be replaceable by automation in the future, surely a practitioner of law would never be intellectually challenged by a machine, right?

Legal AI, even in its current, relatively new state, is starting to rattle that foundational assumption. It’s not true that AI is completely taking over the legal profession, and of course, human lawyers are still important, but legal AI is already taking strides in changing the legal industry forever.

How? And what comes next?

What Can Legal AI Do?

According to, legal AI is constantly developing but it’s already in a state where it can demonstrate “remarkable competency, completely handling hundreds of little responsibilities that used to drive lawyers crazy.” In a matter of minutes, and sometimes only a few seconds, these sophisticated AI engines can do work that previously took human beings hours.

For the most part, legal AI is used for:

·       Research. AI can function like a deeper, more sophisticated search engine. If you’re interested in learning about historical cases, legal context, or a topic relevant to an upcoming case, legal AI can give you all the information you need.

·       Document drafting. Legal AI is also being heavily used for document drafting. If you have example documents, the general idea of the document you want to draft, and a precise prompt to guide the machine intelligence, you can likely end up with a competent draft. It may need some review and editing by human beings, but it can still save a lot of time.

·       Review. It’s also very helpful to use legal AI for review purposes. Showing an existing document or even a rough draft to a sufficiently developed legal AI program can help you find errors, typos, and opportunities for improvement.

While these responsibilities may seem somewhat limited, they make up a huge percentage of what the average lawyer does on a daily basis. With these time-consuming, menial tasks either taken care of or relegated to a lower time requirement bracket, our best human legal minds can focus on more important work.

Top Ways AI Is Changing the Legal Industry

How is this changing the legal industry?

·       Elimination of grunt work. Doc review, a historically much-begrudged, menial task in the law profession, has been completely changed thanks to the prevalence of AI. While the most mundane and menial tasks in the legal industry have typically been assigned to low-level employees, they can now be almost completely delegated to machines. As a result, lawyers can focus on more important things and save hundreds of hours of time over the long run.

·       Larger scale insights. AI is good at processing data in ways that human minds just aren’t. When it comes to analyzing trends or doing background research for a given legal topic, AI has completely changed the game.

·       Fact checking and quality assurance. Lawyers always have their reputations on the line. They’re responsible for making sure that their work is completely reliable and unimpeachable. But even the soundest minds and most thorough review processes can sometimes miss something. The addition of an AI-powered review engine adds a new, incredibly powerful failsafe to the process.

·       Relationships and the human touch. Because they don’t have to spend as much time reading, processing, drafting, or reviewing, lawyers can spend more time and energy on building relationships and truly connecting with their clients. They can focus on communication and high-level issues, rather than getting saddled with endless, boring tasks.

·       Freelancers and smaller firms. The gig economy has inspired millions of people to pursue freelancing and start their own mini-businesses, so on some level, it’s no surprise to see so many contemporary lawyers attempting to find footing in their own freelancing and entrepreneurial pursuits. AI has fueled this even further, motivating more lawyers to turn independent and use AI to support their individual pursuits.

·       Restructuring in big firms. Even large firms are starting to adapt to the realities of legal AI. They’re hiring fewer low-level employees and are beginning to restructure the classic “pyramid-style” organization hierarchy that once defined them.

What Comes Next?

So what comes next for legal AI and the legal profession at large?

It’s hard to say for sure, since there are so many different directions legal AI could feasibly take. Inevitably, our technology is going to get better and our relationships with it are going to change. But the piece of that change, and how legal industry titans react to it are pretty much up in the air. Stay tuned; the one thing we can count on is that the legal world is going to keep evolving.

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