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This article has been written by Vidhya Sumra, pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation, and Dispute Resolution from LawSikho.com.

Introduction

Can contract managers, specialists, and lawyers be automated? The answer is NO. Lawyers are already using and interacting more closely with artificial intelligence-enabled software and will continue to do so in the future. 

Take a look around you. Artificial intelligence is no longer a revolutionary concept; it is already here. Artificial intelligence is already being used by twenty-first-century pioneer enterprises to innovate and grow quickly. The result is that businesses that can use artificial intelligence can gain a competitive advantage. Those who ignore it will be left behind. Which side do you support?

In this article, I am highlighting the various ways in which artificial intelligence is now being used in the legal profession and how technology vendors are attempting to streamline work processes. The present legal uses of artificial intelligence are divided into the following groups:

  • Assisting lawyers with research and due diligence
  • Using analytics to provide additional insights 
  • Automating creative activities 

What is a contract lawyer?

A business contract lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in assisting clients with business contracts. They have specialised training or experience in specific areas of law or business like realty, taxation, intellectual property, international tax, corporates, etc. They are familiar with contracts, contract requirements, and contract legislation in their area. Lawyers who specialise in business contracts regularly draft, evaluate, and negotiate contracts for their clients. 

As mentioned above, a contract lawyer’s duties and responsibilities are creating contracts, evaluating contracts, and ensuring the interests of their clients are safeguarded. Contract lawyers are familiar with contract requirements and how to ensure that they will be enforced. Certain legal components and wording are frequently required in these types of contracts.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the replication of human intelligence in robots that have been trained to think and act like humans. The phrase can also refer to any machine that demonstrates human-like characteristics like learning and problem-solving.

The majority of people immediately think of robots when they hear the words artificial intelligence. That’s because big-budget movies and literature have human-like computers wreaking devastation on the planet. However, this could not be further from the truth. Artificial intelligence is founded on the idea that human intelligence may be characterised in such a way that a machine can simply duplicate it and carry out activities ranging from the most basic to the most complicated. Artificial intelligence’s goals include simulating human cognitive processes.

Artificial intelligence in law and in legal practice

Artificial intelligence companies are still working on ways to develop technology that can handle time-consuming activities in a variety of industries with greater speed and precision. In the legal industry, artificial intelligence has already proven to be beneficial to both lawyers and clients. 

The application of artificial intelligence in the legal system is still in its early stages, but various countries, law firms, and judiciaries are slowly adopting it. It helps lawyers save money by pointing up legal flaws in court decisions, assisting with contract drafting, due diligence, and legal analytics, among other things. Similarly, artificial intelligence can help lessen the burden on the judiciary, particularly in cases involving minor offences, while leaving complicated matters to be resolved by human judges.

A law firm in the United States has employed the world’s first artificial intelligence lawyer, who will support the firm’s various teams in legal research. The ‘ROSS’ robot is based on IBM’s Watson cognitive computer and is largely used to review legal contracts, do legal research, and summarise case laws, among other things. Similarly, Linklaters LLP, a global law company, is creating Nakhoda, an artificial intelligence software to provide efficient contract administration and structured legal data.

Artificial intelligence is currently being used in legal practice in a variety of ways. This trend, according to Richard Susskind, one of the UK’s most respected thinkers on the interface of law and technology, will continue to increase in the coming years.

Susskind opines, “AI and other technologies are enabling machines to take on many of the tasks that many used to think required human lawyers and that’s not plateauing. It seems to be happening at quite a rate.” The developments, according to Susskind, will eventually warm up by 2020.

Recent progress in the Indian legal profession

In India’s legal field, artificial intelligence’s progress has been slowed. According to research, just approximately 4% of lawyers in India employ artificial intelligence in their profession. The Indian judicial system utilizes artificial intelligence in a variety of ways, including legal research, due diligence, contract generation (smart contracts), and more. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is said to be India’s first law practice to apply artificial intelligence, which is largely used to analyse and improve contractual and other legal texts. They have entered into a contract with Kira Systems to get access to their machine learning system, which helps them speed up their legal research and efficiency.

In an event held by the Supreme Court Bar Association on Constitution Day in 2019, India’s Chief Justice, Sharad Arvind Bobde, mentioned that “We propose to introduce, if possible, a system of artificial intelligence. There are many things which we need to look at before we introduce ourselves. We do not want to give the impression that this is ever going to substitute the judges.” 

Key areas of current applications

Current artificial intelligence applications appear to fall into six key areas, based on our review of firms and products in the legal field:

  1. Due diligence: Lawyers use artificial intelligence systems to uncover background information as part of their due diligence to incorporate contract review, legal research, and electronic discovery.

2. Prediction technology: An artificial intelligence programme delivers findings that predict the outcome of litigation.

3. Legal analytics: Lawyers would look for trends and patterns using data from previous case law, win/loss ratios, and a judge’s experience.

4. Documents automation: Software templates are used by law firms to fill up documents based on data input.

5. Intellectual property: Lawyers can use artificial intelligence tools to help them analyse huge intellectual portfolios and extract insights from the information.

6. Electronic billing: The billable hours of lawyers are calculated automatically.

How can artificial intelligence be used in due diligence?

Due diligence is the most crucial aspect of any M&A deal, a process in which lawyers have to go through thousands of documents to discover every possible risk in the company being acquired. 

It involves various records distributed over frameworks and hard drives, assessing the acquired information to identify any prospective threats, and preparing a due diligence report based on the findings. The lawyers need to put their time, attention, and often even their own money into this procedure. For lawyers, the completely tiresome scenario can occasionally lead to inaccuracy and mistakes, which can result in a bad reputation for the law firm.

The first and most obvious benefit of incorporating artificial intelligence into the due diligence process is that it will save M&A lawyers several hours of work. Manual due diligence requires lawyers to spend many hours in the process, making it a tiresome task that frequently results in errors on their part. Artificial intelligence will ensure that due diligence is conducted in a timely and efficient manner.

By giving it access to a variety of sources, such as different contracts and other relevant documents, artificial intelligence can be used to discover and define unique and ambiguous terms if it is correctly developed and trained. This will also put artificial intelligence’s ability to choose these unusual and contradictory terms to the test. Legal research, discovery, due diligence, contract drafting, and contract analysis have all become easier with the use of artificial intelligence. As mentioned above, M&A lawyers need a technology that can help them avoid all of these mistakes and deliver high-quality, error-free due diligence reports. Artificial intelligence enters the picture here.

Artificial intelligence applications

Now, we will look at the present artificial intelligence applications in law:

1. Kira systems

Kira system was founded by Noah Waisberg a former M&A lawyer. Kira Systems states that its software can undertake a more accurate due diligence contract assessment. Kira could be used to choose all of the provisions that you want to search for, and it will highlight the ones you want to review. It makes the exam a lot easier.  It can also be used to keep track of all the documents that have been evaluated and identify which clauses have caused issues. The company says that their system can accomplish the task up to 40% faster if used the first time and up to 90% faster for individuals with more experience.

2. eBrevia

Lawyers, on the other hand, may be overworked because of examining several contracts, and they may overlook critical revisions that result in legal complications later on. When Ned Gannon and Adam Nguyen, co-founders of eBrevia, were still working as junior associates, they faced the same issue. They formed a company in collaboration with Columbia University to speed up the document review process.

3. JP Morgan

JPMorgan has accessed artificial intelligence by establishing in-house legal technology solutions, as reported in June 2016. COIN (short for Contract Intelligence), according to JP Morgan, pulls 150 features from 12,000 commercial credit agreements and contracts in only a few seconds.

4. Legal robot

Legal Robot, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence firm, on the other hand, is currently offering contract analytics, its response to the increasing contract review software market. The company claims that its software, which is currently in beta, is capable of converting legal content into numeric form and raising concerns on the document using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

5. TrademarkNow

TrademarkNow is a start-up that uses artificial intelligence to automate part of the manual knowledge labour involved in intellectual property application. It promises to employ a complicated algorithm to abbreviate lengthy searches for patents, registered items, and trademarks using the trademark clearance platform, which, according to the business, gives search results in less than 15 seconds.

6. Brightflag

Brightflag provides centralised legal pricing software that modifies line-by-line goods automatically. It also allows users to centralise invoice review, ensuring that all papers are sent to the appropriate approver. Furthermore, artificial intelligence provides analytics by recording and categorising all pricing data to determine alternative fee arrangements and budgets.

Limitations of artificial intelligence 

Artificial intelligence has had a significant impact on the legal profession as well as some corporate operations. According to numerous studies conducted around the world, technology is faster, more trustworthy, and efficient than humans. However, there are some gaps and concerns that have been noticed. They are listed below:

1. Higher cost 

Artificial intelligence is still very expensive in many countries because of an inadequacy of development capabilities, which drives up expenses and lengthens the time it takes to feed data into the software. 

2. No replicating humans

Machines, unlike lawyers and humans in general, are deprived of emotions and moral worth. They can only do what is programmed for them and cannot make moral judgments. This is especially true in the case of equity judgments.

3. Improvement

Today’s artificial intelligence, unlike humans cannot improve on its own without new codes and a new training methodology among other things. They are unable to apply their intelligence to any challenge with ease. Their cognitive capacities are limited and they are unable to perform tasks for which they were not designed.

4. Unemployment

The most serious drawback of artificial intelligence is the amount of job loss it would cause in the legal profession. According to Deloitte, artificial intelligence will automate over 100,000 legal-related positions by 2036. They also claim that by 2020, law firms will be at a “tipping point” in terms of developing a new talent strategy.

Conclusion

The most well-known advantage of artificial intelligence tools in legal practise appears to be increased efficiency. Procedures in artificial intelligence software speed up document processing while also detecting mistakes and other difficulties.

It is unclear how the legal artificial intelligence transition will take place. Large law firms, on the one hand, are likely to drive early adoption since they are the most able to pay for robust artificial intelligence-based tools and integrations. Because they don’t have to cope with the vast existing overhead of larger organisations, newer firms are more likely to start with a lean, automated, efficiency-driven approach.

Artificial intelligence will affect many aspects of the workforce; however, it is not now available in all countries, but this may change in the future. ‘Smart people won’t appreciate this technology; they’ll want it done the old-fashioned way,’ some lawyers do argue. Indeed, there may be no choice but to rely on human competence in some legal problems, but artificial intelligence will greatly augment other procedures and services, and the field itself will eventually have to evolve.

References


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