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The legal profession is no stranger to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and its impact is only expected to intensify in the upcoming years. As businesses strive to reduce costs and increase efficiency, AI is used for various tasks, including contract review, legal research, and drafting legal documents. According to the World Economic Forum, the legal sector will most likely experience AI disruption after the transportation and healthcare sectors.
Five years ago, the New York Times reported AI is doing legal work, but it’s not replacing lawyers — yet. However, recent developments with ChatGPT underscore how close we are to a reality where this will be the case. AI can now, undeniably, help and replace lawyers for certain types of tasks – from drafting contracts to summarizing complex laws.
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Large language models, such as GPT-3, have recently revolutionized the practical use of artificial intelligence in the legal field. These models, trained on vast amounts of data, can generate human-like text, making them ideal for summarizing legal documents and predicting case outcomes. The recent acceleration of using large language models in the legal field can be attributed to a few key factors. One is the continued advancement and development of these models, which have become more sophisticated and accurate over time. This has made them increasingly useful and practical for various applications, especially in the legal industry.
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Another factor driving the adoption of large language models in the legal field is the increasing industry demand for automation and efficiency. Legal professionals are under increasing pressure to handle a high volume of work in a short amount of time. Using large language models can help alleviate this burden by automating certain tasks and allowing for more efficient research and analysis.
However, deploying AI in the legal sector does not come without difficulties. Cost is a major obstacle to AI adoption in the legal industry. There may be significant upfront costs associated with selecting and putting in place AI systems, as well as potential continuing maintenance and training expenses. The legal sector is heavily regulated, and adhering to these standards can be difficult and expensive.
The absence of standards in the legal industry is another problem that can make it challenging to use AI systems. Laws and rules are distinct to each legal jurisdiction, and AI systems must be tailored to follow these criteria. This can be a time-consuming and expensive procedure that may also include hiring specialized staff with knowledge of both AI and law.
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Finally, the legal sector has an aversion to change. Many legal professionals, including lawyers, have reservations about AI’s dependability and accuracy and may be reluctant to use it in their job. Another concern is that using AI would drive job losses or decrease demand for human legal professionals.
Do these reasons matter, though, to the companies and clients that pay for legal services? Probably not.
AI can significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency for business — it’s undeniable that the use cases for AI in the law and business are here, and they’re not going away. AI can reduce the time and resources needed to execute some jobs by automating them. For clients seeking legal services, this may eventually mean cost savings.
The speed at which AI can process and interpret enormous amounts of data is one of its main advantages. This can be especially helpful in legal practice, where it may be necessary to study and analyze documents and other materials quickly. Additionally, AI can eliminate humans in the loop regarding due diligence.
Even online dispute resolution services such as JAMS eliminate the need for in-person court hearings on complex intellectual property matters.
It’s also essential to consider the growing trust in AI systems. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 76% of respondents reported having trust in AI systems to make decisions, and 72% believed that AI could be a valuable addition to their organization. This suggests a growing acceptance of AI within the legal industry, and customers may be more willing to adopt it to achieve greater efficiency and cost savings.
However, not everything related to AI is bad for lawyers. AI can give partners at law firms and general counsels new opportunities, even while it may automate low-level jobs. For instance, AI in contract management software can make it faster for lawyers and business teams to author, negotiate and redline initial drafts, freeing up time for higher-value activities that are often valued the most: negotiation and advocacy.
As lawyers learn to collaborate with and take advantage of AI systems, it’s conceivable that AI usage could lead to new career possibilities. So, will AI replace human lawyers in the coming five years? It’s impossible to say for sure, but the trend is undeniable: AI use in the legal sector is expected to grow in the upcoming years, and human attorneys must adapt if they want to stay in demand.