Richard Susskind’s latest book, The Future of Professions, predicted that the society would create greater online interactions with more and more professional services, such as architects, professors, accountants, doctors, and lawyers. The legal industry was one of the last to finally accept and invest in the use of technology in their businesses.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology comprises of computer systems and programs that can perform tasks which until now were normally requiring human input. This cognitive computing is already disrupting the very entrenched norms of the legal industry. Part of it happens because of the pressure that technology-savvy customers are putting on legal firms for reducing the risks. Another part of it has to do with the competition that accounting and insurance attorney firms are bringing.
Legal startups are leveraging the use of AI to attract customers fed up by the old procedures
while big legal companies are already optimizing the time needed for analysis and documents review.
- Technology for Fast Legal Services Delivery
Artificial Intelligence will change the way law firms are finalizing their tasks and delivering their results. As law firms are not the most efficient or cost-effective service providers, programs that will enhance a company’s project management expertise will become highly valued. The competition will oblige firms to adopt the technology that can make their work better, faster and cheaper.
The improvements that these type of systems can bring are already seen in situations regarding documents standardization and analysis. The Berwin Leighton Paisner international law firm became a pioneer in the industry in 2015 when they asked Contract Robot, UK’s first AI, to review live documents. The process was completed in two seconds. Efficiency will become one of the greatest effects that AI will bring to the legal industry.
- Technology for Affordable Legal Services
Nowadays, one of the reasons the legal industry is perceived stiff and arrogant is because of the inability of the majority of the population to secure legal representation at affordable costs. AI technology will increase the access of individuals and small business to cheaper justice.
A positive argument in this direction is brought by the DoNotPay online robot, which successfully helped its users in solving 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York, free of charge and with a success rate of 64%.
However, this will not provoke the collapse of the legal firms, as some might think. Such type of services can only provide legal assistance at affordable costs, in such a way that everybody will be able to access legal advice and information in cases where legal representation is not necessary.
- Technology for Changing the Legal Organizational Structure
The current structure of legal firms has reached a deadlock. Even though the need for legal services is much bigger than in the last years, the demand for legal services provided by companies remained flat.
The traditional law firm model, with high hourly rates and “partner tributes,” is no longer assisting the customer needs. Online-based companies are already challenging the model. Legal firms need to quickly adjust and follow the example of financial or medical institutions that provide half of their services online.
- Technology for Development of New Types of Professionals
One of the main fears about AI’s big involvement in the industry is the assumption that technology will replace lawyers and legal professionals. In fact, technology will help produce a new range of professionals that will work with lawyers to update the services and programs that firms are offering.
Therefore, robots will not steal lawyers’ attributes; in fact, they will ease their professional lives and work for them. Lawyers will be able to concentrate more on data interpretation, deliver their professional judgment and perform only tasks that require their professional expertise.
- Technology for Restructuring the Market
AI will have a significant impact on the restructuring of the industry market, as companies that will fail in adopting the new technologies will remain less productive and underdeveloped.
Clients will expect faster services, more strategic input, so firms that will not be able to provide to these expectations most probably will be bought-out by more productive and financially strong players. The Alternative Business Structure will have a change in becoming a mainstream business model.
Artificial Intelligence will completely transform the daily operational system of legal companies. Early-adopters will soon win the market, and once firms become as tech-savvy as their customers, they will enter a new era. The evolution is normal; it is time for the legal industry to catch up with the trends and follow the example of the financial and medical industries.