Technology is a growing part of the legal industry. Millions are being spent each year on new client databases, efficient automated processes and technology to help lawyers better analyze, communicate and prepare cases. Digital transformation in law firms is bringing new innovation, which is not only saving legal firms money and time, it’s increasing their accuracy and effectiveness, helping them win cases and improve their client relationships.
Gartner has forecasted that spending on legal tech will increase 200% by 2025 (from 3.9% of in-house budgets to about 12% of in-house budgets). That means more than one out of every ten dollars in a firm’s budget will be going to technology in just a few years. While many of the mundane and manual tasks that have typically been done by assistants and paralegal staff are being automated, legal firms are also investing in capabilities like artificial intelligence to increase their performance across a number of different business cases.
While much of the early digital transformation in law firms was originally to bring manual processes online, legal firms are increasingly investing in more sophisticated technology that allow them to reach new clients and better serve the clients they have. This next wave of digital transformation brings with it a large amount of data — specifically analytics technology that can store and organize huge amounts of data that can be used to make complex decisions.
Artificial intelligence (also known as AI) is an important capability that helps legal firms make better decisions and deliver higher quality output, from determining an approach for a major case to deciding the best way to structure an important clause in a contract, and much more. Here are some examples of what AI can do for law firms.
AI is capable of scanning documents for errors and inaccuracies. What’s more, AI can analyze documents and find areas where they are different, helping lawyers fix mistakes and also enabling them to structure their contracts, arguments and other output as accurately as possible. This not only reduces errors, it also helps to produce higher quality work.
Technology-assisted review tools (also known as TAR) help lawyers analyze large amounts of information to better understand what they can do to minimize risk for their firm and clients. TAR uses predictive coding and continuous active learning in order to “learn” which documents matter most, and to mark the right time to act in the face of a potential lawsuit or other critical case.
Artificial intelligence helps lawyers with more mundane tasks as much as it helps with important decisions regarding clients and cases. AI can help lawyers better organize insights so that they are easy to access and utilize. It can also quickly comb through long recordings to find specific points of interest, which can be a huge timesaver for lawyers and paralegals.
AI helps law firms to boost attorney performance, assisting with data and processes that are very strategic, but also very mundane and time-consuming. It’s like a turbo charge that unearths new insights, provides more certainty, improves accuracy and saves time.
The beauty of AI is that it can be applied to a law firm’s processes and databases at a custom level, so that the firm can continue to be specialists at what they do. This combination of benefits also does something else: It frees legal teams to use their time more creatively and more productively. When AI is doing all of the time-consuming work, attorneys can spend more time mulling over different approaches to a case. And when AI uncovers elements from reams of documents that otherwise could have been easily missed or identified, a lawyer has a new level of value they bring to a contract, case or trial.
Law firms don’t need to implement AI technology across every aspect of what they do. Instead, AI can be implemented bit by bit, in places where firms feel they could benefit most depending on the types of clients they service. One firm may be burdened by the need to find insights within a huge amount of paperwork, whereas another firm may benefit from help identifying changes in conversations to decide when a high-risk situation is developing. The most important thing to remember about AI in law firms is that it is a powerful tool that is meant to help lawyers do their job better by automating manual processes and providing deeper insights into data and documents.