Artificial Intelligence in Action: Redefining Law Services
The law industry is drastically changing.
Previously, it was extremely difficult to meet the requirements to start a career as a lawyer for big enterprises. The positions required time-consuming (and expensive) education, real-work experience, and/or high grades from a university for new hires from a campus, etc. About a decade ago, a specialist with 10 years of experience and a respectable library of legal literature was considered ‘a good lawyer’.
Now computers, law databases, and automated workplaces are prevalent in the law industry. These innovations have accelerated the pace of both business management and customer service, with knowledge-sharing platforms and document template libraries now standard fare. In turn, these services decrease the need for lawyers to perform simple operations, having an enormous effect on the industry.
In Eastern Europe, many law degree students who graduated in the year 2000-2010 have not been able to find jobs in law services. The need for such a large number of specialists had significantly decreased over the decade due to automation. In just 20 years, technology had replaced the ground base of law services – from real people and paper libraries, to automated workplaces, shareable knowledge bases, enhanced expert systems, and AI technology.
From a technological point of view, these 20 years were a serious step. And now we need to be ready for even more acceleration. Artificial intelligence (AI) will bring deep changes to the industry, because AI application is developing rapidly, especially in legal practice.
The diagram below illustrates the areas of AI, which were adopted and are now widely used in the legal industry:
Moving from theory to practice, there are several examples of systems already in use that bring value to businesses and customers.
Expert system eBrevia Intelligent Contract Analytics
Expert systems have been used since the mid-1980s. These are programs with sets of algorithms that help users – no matter how knowledgeable they are in the field – make complex decisions. This means operators with little or no experience in a field can easily make business decisions. This approach provides a good opportunity for the automation of routines in the future, and could completely remove humans altogether in particular use cases.
To dip into this area, company eBravia built a legal-based expert system with AI elements – and the results were staggering. For example, the analysis of a real estate lease (not even commoditized) takes 3 minutes, compared to several hours if done by a lawyer. Moreover, the system can organize specific information from thousands of contracts in a form convenient for analysis and risk assessment, such as tables and graphs. For a visual explanation, refer to the diagram below:
Ravn Extract and Kira Enterprise made a very convenient tool for the preliminary analysis of documents, eliminating the need to read each line by line. Simply upload documents into the system, and in a few minutes you’ll receive all the key information for analysis in a convenient and friendly format. The system provides a risks description, legislation discrepancy or regulators' requirements, key financial information, links information from several contracts and/or historical data, etc. While analyzing a document, the system also provides options for substantiating certain abstracts, links to regulatory documents, as well as text replacement options according to your company’s particular practice.
In my native country of Ukraine, there are currently no issues with parking fines – they are extremely difficult to get due to the local law enforcement system. But parking tickets are a huge problem in the US and the UK.
For example, when staying near a hotel in London for more than 15 minutes, expect to be fined 60-150 pounds. In addition, this fine is not controlled by police patrol officers, but by a system based on CCTV (video cameras that record your arrival and departure from the area).
This presents an issue. What if the delay was caused by necessity? The fine can be contested, of course, but the lawyer’s work on this matter will cost about 100 GBP in London. Nobody really argues, because it’s easier and cheaper to pay the fine.
To combat this issue, a 19-year-old programmer from the United Kingdom launched a free online chatbot service called DoNotPay, which is aimed at helping contest parking fines. To ease the process, the service creates a set of documents needed for the court or the police. In just a few years after the service’s creation, more than 160,000 applications were filed and penalties for more than $4 million were canceled (with 64% of cases resulting in canceled fines).
It’s all thanks to this chatbot system, which puts you in a dialogue with a virtual agent. The chatbot asks the user about all the details necessary to fill out forms in a conversational format, providing explanations when required. Today, DoNotPay can also be used to return money for airline tickets (if a flight was delayed or missed), or to fill out documents to receive social benefits.
Impact on jobs in law services
Dozens of successful law systems in the world were built with AI. The number is small, but hundreds of startups targeting artificial intelligence are beginning to make waves. Here is an illustration of how artificial intelligence could affect the legal labor market and what roles in the industry may be replaced by automation in the next 5-10 years, according to Law Firms in Transition: An Altman Well Flash Survey:
In addition, here are some logical possibilities:
• A decrease in staff with little experience or those who perform routine operations
• A redefinition of lawyer duties – Due to the automation of customer service and initial processing of documents, new forms of customer interactions will appear. Meeting preparations, initial customer interactions with a company, update management, etc. can all be handled by AI with minimum human interaction. Lawyers in the industry will have to adapt
• A decrease in the price of legal services
• A quicker, more convenient operations fulfillment – with new capabilities, regulators and others in the law industry need to react quickly and get information fast. Taking into account trends from the last 10 years, state and other regulators may enforce stricter rules. MiFID I and IIare good examples of laws requiring new-level reporting provided by regulators
All in all, artificial intelligence helps workers spend less time on routine tasks. As a result, lawyers should not worry about a dramatic reduction in jobs – as long as you are proficient enough. Skilled specialists will still be in demand. Learning new skills and branching out to new areas, like communications and sales, will be essential.
Maybe in the near future, an automated judge will run trials in a courtroom instead of a human. (Scientists are already working on them, by the way). But this is a good thing, as automation would decrease human bias. This way, laws could be read and applied in strict logical forms, leaving them less open to subjective interpretation. Whether the person on trial is a well-known celebrity with influential friends or is just an average Joe, decisions made by the law would remain unbiased.
Now that I’ve shown you how AI is a positive addition to the law industry, find out what the AI experts at Luxoft can do for your company. If you want to know how we can improve your business, be sure to contact us by clicking here.