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AI in the legal sector

AI Technologies in the Legal Sector: The Ruby Slippers of the Industry

AI Technologies in the Legal Sector: The Ruby Slippers of the Industry

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Let’s just get this one out of the way: Will AI replace lawyers? Short answer, no. However, that question, and others like it, steer away attention from the more pressing concerns and realistic outcomes involving AI and tech’s digital transformation of law practices.

McKinsey consulting shared that an estimated 22% of a lawyer’s job and 35%of a law clerk’s job can be automated. But that doesn’t mean that lawyers, paralegals, and clerks should fear losing their jobs.

It’s about time we put fear and bias aside to understand the usefulness of tech advancements and AI in the legal sector. So, let’s see what this yellow brick road has in store for us.

Taking the worry out of the uncertainty

The unknown, fears, and myths, oh my! Misconceptions about the implementation of technologies and AI within the legal sphere cloud our judgment about the reality of such tools. Instead of concerns regarding accuracy and efficiency, specific questions take up the time and focus that could be better spent elsewhere. So let’s knock some of those concerns out right now.

Will AI take over jobs?
Well, you never know. But as previously mentioned, AI is not on track to replace lawyers. Though, it is on pace to replace the mundane tasks of lawyers, so that should be a relief, rather than a concern.

Are AI technologies for small or big firms? Will legal departments have a need for them?
Law firms and legal departments can adopt whatever systems, programs, and machine learning technologies best fit their needs. There is no one size fits all, and there is something for everyone.

Will training and maintenance be too time-consuming and costly?
Time and money should be factored in when considering the use of advanced tech and AI. However, maintenance, training, and repair are necessary for every aspect of development and growth and should be seen as an investment rather than a setback.

Understanding the facts and falsehoods about the technology and AI adopted by law firms and legal departments can make your use of such tools more dynamic and worthwhile.

Value, uses, and limitations

So, what’s really behind the curtain of AI in the legal industry? Are tech and automation the all-knowing and powerful wizards of the land of law? Well, let’s not over-exaggerate the potential capabilities of the advancements and progression of legal technology. Here’s what we know:

Drafting, review, and documentation will never be the same.
There is a wide range of AI tools for lawyers that reduce the day-to-day labor-intensive and repetitive work and improve the organization, time management, and overall efficiency of case and document review.

Legal professionals can make a shift toward a “client-centric” practice.
With fewer resources put into tedious tasks and paperwork, there’s more room for enhancing the client experience. Legal AI technology allows for time and energy to be more focused on client services and solutions
You can only get out what you put in.
Though technology has come a long way, perfect algorithms and flawless systems don’t exist. The accuracy of AI in the legal sector is only as good as the extensive labeling system and massive amounts of data required.

Rest assured, the technology you may question and resist still has some learning and adjusting to do before putting on a tie and stealing the coveted corner office.

Adapting to the future of AI

There’s no place like the future, and thankfully, with a better awareness of technology’s impact on the legal industry, you can tap your heels with confidence.

The ways of the past are far from dead. Still, an upward tick of interest in technology in the legal industry isn’t going to fade away either, so it may be best to channel your ambition toward acclimating along with the development of AI and law.

Fortunately for students barely finding their footing on the legal career path, the responsibility of adapting to the future of AI has taken root in the lecture halls of law schools. Harvard has already taken an adaptive approach in offering lawyers training with programs and courses in legal innovation.

With a wide range of resources dedicated to minding the gap between technology and law practices, new legal professionals can better embrace the current tech trends and what’s to come.

The reality is, legal AI is not only here to stay but is also a progressing resource for the industry. So, instead of jumping ship, consider expanding your skillset and mastering the tech tools implemented by your firm or legal department. 

Remember, the question you should be asking isn’t: “are lawyers going to be replaced by AI?” It’s: “how do I take advantage of the AI technologies available so that I’m not replaced by professionals who already do so?”

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