Using AI to Serve Your Clients More Effectively
Once the province of science fiction fans and futurists, artificial intelligence (or AI) is no longer the stuff of imagination. In fact, you’ve probably used some form of AI in the last 24 hours without even thinking about it. If you conducted a search online, asked Siri for directions, or played a video game, you were most likely using some form of AI.
But what about the availability of AI to enhance a legal practice? Admittedly, until recently, cost concerns typically made such applications accessible only to larger law firms. The good news is that’s changing significantly as AI developers are shifting from a client-based approach to a product-based approach. The single biggest factor in that shift is the advent of cloud-based computing. Until the cloud became a reliable and viable platform, anyone who wanted to effectively implement artificial intelligence applications usually had to maintain physical servers, which required staff to manage and service. With cloud-based computing, that’s unnecessary. Now, a law office can experiment with AI-based applications without any upfront investment other than the cost of the software. The increased demand for software in turn propels the development of new AI applications for the legal profession.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Simply put, AI involves machines that perform functions that customarily require human intelligence. AI might involve activities related to the senses, such as vision (like facial recognition software) or hearing (voice-activated assistants). It also can involve decision-making, or even translation from one language to another.
Current Applications of AI to the Practice of Law
Though the development and application of artificial intelligence to the practice of law is still very much in its infancy, there already are a number of ways you can benefit from AI:
- Streamline due diligence requirements — In a law practice, due diligence takes a variety of forms, from background checks to the clarification of legal precedent. When done by humans, due diligence can be extremely costly and time-consuming. AI tools, with keyword-based algorithms, can dramatically reduce the time required to complete these tasks.
- Improve contract review and management — Even the most meticulous lawyer can miss a crucial mistake in a contract. AI-driven contract review software can parse a lengthy contract in a fraction of the time and with fewer errors than human eyes.
- Enhance document review — Programs are available to help identify, locate, organize, file, analyze, and produce all types of documents.
- More reliably predict your likelihood of success — There are AI applications that can help you quickly analyze data and forecast the likely outcome. This can help you know when it will be in your client’s best interest to settle, and it may even help you decide whether to take a case. In both instances, you can save time and money.
- Automate legal processes — Some legal matters, such as divorce, tend to have the same components, follow the same patterns, and have a range of predictable outcomes. With an AI-based application, you can engage the client to enter a lot of the data and make many of the critical decisions. Of course, you’ll always be there to assist or answer any questions.
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