Opinion

Mar

Wednesday

8

How AI Assistants Are Helping Lawyers

By: Rita N.A Akekelwa

AI is everywhere and on everyone's lips. People are still skeptical about this relatively new technological advancement, but can it be trusted when it matters most - in legal proceedings?

New AI companies like Harvey AI are being rolled out by 3,500 lawyers in 43 offices of Allen & Overy, the world's seventh most prominent law firm in London.

AI and the Legal Profession

AI's Role in Legal Research

AI can help lawyers find the most relevant cases and statutes. Lawyers often spend hours searching through databases to find the information they need, but an AI assistant could do this faster and more efficiently than a human could ever hope to do. 

It would also allow lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks like drafting briefs or negotiating settlements rather than spending all day looking at screens of text.

Automation of Legal Tasks

AI will likely take over many routine legal tasks, such as drafting contracts or reviewing documents for errors before they're filed with courts or regulators. 

This will free up time for lawyers who want it so they can focus on more creative work, such as coming up with innovative strategies for their client's cases instead of performing rote tasks like proofreading documents before filing them with courts or regulators.

Advantages of AI for Lawyers

  • Time Savings
    AI assistants can help you save time by automating repetitive tasks like data entry and document formatting. This lets lawyers focus on critical functions like analyzing case information or meeting clients.
  • Improved Accuracy
    The ability of AI assistants to process large amounts of information quickly makes them especially useful for reviewing large volumes of documents or data sets simultaneously. 

How AI Can Improve Legal Services

AI can be used to automate many of the tasks that lawyers perform. This is especially true regarding research, which can be done much more quickly and efficiently with AI than by a human.

You may also access legal services more efficiently using an AI assistant. If you don't have enough money or time, an AI assistant could help you find an affordable lawyer who provides quality advice at a reasonable cost.

Finally, there's no question that using an AI assistant will improve the accuracy of legal advice you receive from your lawyer or other professionals (such as accountants).

Types of AI Assistants for Lawyers

AI assistants are available in various forms. The most common are:

  • Voice Assistants - These perform tasks such as welcoming a new client via a call, providing a client with your firm's contact details and thanking them for their support. One such AI is Amelia Case Manager Voice by OneLawAi.
  • Chatbots - These are designed to mimic human conversation by responding with text or speech based on your input. This can be extremely helpful when interacting with clients’ queries and can attend to clients’ requests instantly. AI chatbots created for law firms include LawDroid, Smith.ai and LexReception, among many others.
  • Document Automation Software - This type of software uses machine learning algorithms to automatically generate documents, such as legal contracts or letters, based on predetermined parameters you set up ahead of time. An example of document automation AI is RallyAI or Lawyaw.

It is, however, essential to note that several companies claim that their product is AI-enabled while not having any AI embedded within them. The FTC recently warned against this practice stating that FTC technologists can look under the hood and analyze the product to determine if what’s inside matches up with the AI claim.

Benefits of AI Assistants for Lawyers

The benefits of AI assistants for lawyers are numerous. With the help of an AI assistant, you can save time and increase efficiency by delegating tasks that would otherwise take up your valuable time. 

For example, if you have a lot of administrative work but don't want to spend your entire day doing it, an AI assistant could take care of it while you focus on more important matters like client meetings or court appearances.

A second benefit is accuracy. Lawyers often have difficulty keeping track of all their files because there are so many documents involved in each case; this makes it easy for mistakes (such as missing signatures) to slip through the cracks when filing documents with various bodies.  

An AI assistant will ensure that all information is entered correctly into their system, so there's no risk of making mistakes during another part of the litigation process, such as trial preparation.

How to Choose the Right AI Assistant for Your Law Firm:

Before looking for an AI assistant, you must identify your needs and determine essential features. 

Although most AI assistants use OpenAI’s platform - its direct rival, Anthropic, raised $10.5m through legal tech company Robin AI alone. Robin AI is trained on data from 4.5 million legal documents as well as has 30 in-house lawyers to ensure its efficiency. More importantly, this creates valuable competition in AI, thus guaranteeing differential development. 

Keep your AI claims in check - Michael Atleson https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/blog/2023/02/keep-your-ai-claims-check

Wise and Monzo founders back legal generative AI startup’s $10.5m Series A - Amy O’Brien https://sifted.eu/articles/wise-monzo-founders-generative-ai-news/

Top AI startups in the legal practice include Artrium, Casetext and DoNotPay, among many others. These startups have amassed vast amounts of funding and, along with established AI companies like Harvey AI, will pave the way forward in the legal profession. 

Harvey AI was founded in 2022 by Winston Weinberg, a former lawyer practicing at O’Melveney & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, a former research scientist at Google. These two roommates realized that AI could improve the legal workflow by enabling lawyers to use AI as an intermediary between tech and the law, thus improving client satisfaction.

Casetext was founded in 2013 by Jake Heller, also a practicing attorney. The idea for Castext was born out of the founder's frustration with the tedious and time-consuming process of transcribing and reviewing legal depositions. They recognized a need for a faster and more accurate way to process large volumes of legal documents and saw an opportunity to use AI to solve the problem.

DoNotPay is a legal tech startup founded in 2015 by Joshua Browder. The company's mission is to make legal help accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial means.

Browder came up with the idea for DoNotPay after receiving numerous parking tickets in the UK. He realized that the process of appealing these tickets was needlessly complex and time-consuming, and he saw an opportunity to use AI to simplify the process.

The future, however, might not be as good as it may seem.

Challenges Faced By AI

The U.S. Copyright Office has recently withdrawn copyright protection it awarded to an author who created images using Midjourney. This AI system generates images based on the user's input. The Office stated that these images “are not the product of human authorship” and, therefore, will not be copyrightable.

In another instance, the CEO of DoNotPay, Joshua Browder, tried to use various AI programs to deliver AI-generated responses that the Defendants could use in court to settle their speeding tickets. This was short-lived as he faced multiple threats from state bar associations, including possible prison time.

Conclusion

AI assistants are becoming more popular and can be an excellent tool for lawyers. They can help you manage your workload, keep track of important information and even write legal briefs. 

AI assistants will not replace lawyers altogether--they're still in the early stages of development. However, they can make life easier for lawyers who want to focus on what they do best: solving problems.

If you decide to use an AI assistant, choose one that other users with similar needs as yours have tested. Reading reviews online is the best way to determine which ones work well. It’s necessary to compare the different types of AI based on your needs. A quick comparison based on functionality, features and benefits is included below: