As artificial intelligence technology continues to grow more ubiquitous in workplaces, lawyers are grappling with the role algorithms can play in the law firm setting. Legal tech can help improve efficiencies in law firms in a number of ways, if lawyers are ready and willing to embrace assistive technologies. 

AI programs are capable of taking on administrative tasks like billing and generating form documents, leaving lawyers with more time to focus efforts on litigation and interfacing more directly with clients.

With the many modern innovations in AI, it’s easy to forget that AI has a long history in the legal realm. E-discovery has utilized AI to classify and automate document review for over two decades. Judges use AI to verify submissions and identify missing authorities and precedents. Nowadays, many of the same tools to increase efficiency and accuracy are available for the average lawyer to use at their firm.

Machine Learning Can Augment Law Firm Efficiency

Today, there are AI technologies that can augment lawyers’ work in more substantive ways. Contract analysis AI tools, for example, work to sift through contracts to identify key terms and make suggestions for changes lawyers might want to make in order to better serve clients’ interests. Using machine learning (a type of AI in which algorithms “learn” through examining patterns in large quantities of data and become more accurate and faster over time), assistive technology can help draft documents and even predict the outcomes of potential litigation.

Augmenting Versus Automating and the Limits of AI

Despite its amazing potential, AI is no substitute for human knowledge. AI tools have the potential to reduce lawyers’ time spent on previously laborious tasks, to check for accuracy, and to bolster the work lawyers are already doing. AI is not able to organically compose complex legal documents, give thoughtful advice to clients, or replicate a lawyer’s expertise in the courtroom or board room.

The Future of AI in Law Firms

AI has immense potential to continue growing in the legal field. Startups focusing on AI algorithms garner billions in funding, and new technology is invented and improved every day. Law firms willing to integrate assistive technology in their practices and explore the ways AI can augment their work, stand to improve their efficiency as they move into the future.

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