The legal industry is on the brink of significant transformation, as the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly prevalent. While some segments of the legal profession have been quick to adapt, others are still grappling with the challenges that lie ahead.
Notably, Westlaw — a leading legal research platform — recently announced its integration of iterative AI, highlighting the industry’s evolving landscape. However, the judicial and legislative branches of government seem to lag in preparedness.
“Historically, people have been apprehensive about emerging computer technology,” comments Rob Scott, Chief Innovator of Monjur. “But the power of AI is breathtaking.”
With AI-driven advancements already commercially available in legal research, document creation, and editing, it is crucial to assess the legal industry’s readiness for the impending AI revolution.
The impact of AI in the legal workplace
The widespread adoption of AI is poised to revolutionize nearly every aspect of the modern workforce at an astonishing pace. One notable example of this transformation is the advent of large language models like ChatGPT, which have completely changed the game regarding content generation across domains.
However, it is important to recognize that AI is not meant to replace human workers. Instead, it is a powerful tool that enhances productivity, accuracy, and scalability. The modern worker is still a creative and critical-thinking human, utilizing AI tools to amplify their capabilities.
AI offers significant advantages like unparalleled efficiency, quality, and productivity gains, surpassing the capabilities of any previous computer-based technology. For example, AI can cut legal research time in half. Lawyers can focus more on analysis and strategic decision-making by allowing AI to do the research. Not only that, but AI can also prepare documents for review to improve them. Interestingly, AI can offer predictive analytics, allowing lawyers to make data-driven predictions about case outcomes, assess litigation risks, and develop informed client strategies. “Tasks that were once time-consuming and resource-intensive,” adds Rob Scott, “can now be streamlined and automated with the assistance of AI.”
However, the implementation of AI also poses particular challenges and drawbacks. Uncertainty surrounds the long-term effects of AI on the workforce, including potential job displacement and the need for reskilling or upskilling. Regulatory risks and ethical considerations arise as AI technologies continue to evolve rapidly, requiring appropriate frameworks to govern their responsibility. For example, lawyers must consider how much of their client’s information they can input into the AI and the unintentional AI bias. “Remember that AI models are created and trained by humans,” reminds Scott. “It’s inevitable that it will be biased.”
Evaluating the viability of AI adoption in law
The legal profession is at a critical tipping point of either being the leader in integrative AI or staying left behind. Each young attorney and paralegal needs to stay ahead of the game and learn how to use AI efficiently to emphasize the human element — creativity, innovation, and strategic decision-making — based on the data AI can help them discover.
“In much the same way that law firms retired typewriters for word processors and fax machines for email systems,” notes Rob Scott, “AI tools already exist for legal research, document preparation and review, and client communications. And there are more uses of AI to follow.”
Early adopters of AI already have a competitive edge, because they learn how to use it efficiently, while others are still figuring out if they should use AI. They’re ahead of the game by training their personnel, working out the kinks, and providing excellent service to their clients.
Early adopters are also already recognizing certain legal steps they set up to ensure the ethical use of AI. For example, law firms must encrypt all their data and use AI wisely. Andy Patel, senior researcher at WithSecure, shared, “Prompts entered into the ChatGPT interface will be collected and used in future training data. […] However, it is not possible for information from one user’s session to leak to another’s.”
Ultimately, implementing AI requires effective change management strategies and training programs. Ensuring lawyers and staff have the skills and knowledge to effectively use AI tools is vital. Training programs should address the technical aspects of AI, as well as the ethical implications and best practices for AI-enabled workflows.
Continuous monitoring and evaluation of AI adoption efforts helps identify areas of improvement and ensures that AI tools align with the firm’s goals. Regular feedback from lawyers, staff, and clients can provide valuable insights to optimize AI implementation strategies and operations.
Monjur’s approach to the AI revolution
As the legal industry embraces the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI), Monjur is committed to staying at the forefront of this technological revolution. Recognizing the immense benefits that AI integration can bring, Monjur has adopted a strategic approach to harness AI tools and empower its legal professionals.
“The truth is, the legal industry is document-intensive,” shares Rob Scott. “AI can help with that. Monjur plans to integrate with ChatGPT-4 to enable real-time comparison of its industry-leading legal templates for IT Managed Services and Cloud contracting. Today clients receive quarterly and annual updates to the contract templates. With AI, Monjur plans to enable real-time visibility into the current master templates, allowing clients to keep their contracts up-to-date.”
The rapidly evolving technology of AI has the potential to reshape the way legal work is done, bringing unprecedented efficiency, accuracy, and innovation to the forefront. By embracing AI thoughtfully and ethically, it holds a world of possibilities to enhance the human touch, like creativity, critical thinking, and empathy. It also removes the grunt work of the legal profession (legal research, document creation and revision, and base-level analysis). The AI revolution will reshape how legal professionals work, advocate for justice, and navigate the complexities of the modern legal world.
“While AI is not likely to replace legal professionals in the near term, people who don’t use AI will lose their jobs to those that do,” Scott concludes.