Technology Pushing Attorneys into the 21st Century

December 13, 2017

Law is complicated, and many consider the practice of law an art. That’s why most experts thought the automation of legal work something of the distant future.

However, legal services have proven surprisingly easy to automate. From simple offerings like DoNotPay, which helps citizens appeal parking tickets, to eBrevia and CSDisco, which automate legal research and e-discovery, artificial intelligence is picking away at the way simple legal services are offered at law firms.

These AI platforms can find, organize and summarise legal data, shrinking multiple days of human work into seconds of digital processing.

RAVN, an AI platform, can use the internet’s legal data to create contracts and agreements from scratch.

Peter Wallqvist, CEO of RAVN, doesn’t just see his technology replacing people, he believes RAVN will surpass its human competition. By ensuring data is always interpreted the same way, RAVN will make it easier to make consistent legal recommendations.

Ned Gannon, CEO of eBrevia, says that AIs that combine machine learning and native language processing don’t just recognize keywords. They recognize concepts and use statistics to predict whether or not a word or phrase is relevant. To replicate the same type of analysis, a lawyer or paralegal would have to spend double or triple the time that software can achieve the same result.

Startup ComplianceHR is giving accountants and compliance departments time and money by providing simple legal information over time. By tracking decisions, minutes, and policies along with legal data regarding employment and human resources, it allows accountants and other professionals to remain compliant without having to consult an attorney.

RankBrain means that firms can gain internet notoriety with many types of content and the higher the quality, the better the score. By investing time in writing helpful, well-researched articles, attorneys can attract more business online at no extra cost.

ROSS, another AI, is powered by IBM’s Watson. ROSS is a new addition to the bankruptcy-focused law firm Baker & Hostetler. ROSS allows their firm to, according to CEO Andrew Arruda, “harness the power of AI to serve justice.”

The capabilities that ROSS brings to law firms come at an opportune time for the legal industry. By some estimates, more than three in four Americans that need a lawyer cannot afford one. ROSS is the technology that can potentially fill that gap.  

Many of these legal platforms are so advanced that they can predict the likelihood of a ruling being overturned or the exact probability of a contract being breached. When combined, these technologies can be used to write entire briefs, an endeavor that used to require the majority of young associates’ time.

These technologies will have disruptive effects. Yet as much as 40% of the time attorneys spend in-office is not billable, meaning any opportunity to save time can translate directly into increased profitability. Faced with numbers like that, how many law firms can afford to sit on the sidelines?

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