Is Artificial Intelligence the Future of the Legal Sector?

Amol Verma,

Chanakya National Law University, Patna.


Technology aids in making human life easy and smooth. Artificial Intelligence (hereinafter referred to as ‘AI’) as the name suggests can be comprehended to mean the capability of a digital computer to undertake tasks usually associated with intelligent beings.[1]Many written resources have dealt with law and AI.[2] There has been no dearth of debates and discussions pertaining to the impact that Artificial Intelligence is going to have over the future of the Indian Legal System.[3] It is not possible to imagine the future of Indian legal profession without the intervention of AI as the clients themselves are going to demand efficient and speedier solutions to their legal problems which is possible through AI and technology. In fact, technology has already knocked the doors of the legal profession. Legal research which is considered to be of utmost importance for any legal practitioner has been transformed to its core. Legal Search engines such as Manupatra, SCC Online, Hein Online, Legit Quest, etc. have not only made legal research easy but have changed the way how legal research was carried on. This has definitely cut down the amount of time and energy that was earlier invested in searching relevant provisions and judgments in law journals. These Legal Search engines have supplemented the Indian Legal Practice to a great extent.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR THE INDIAN LEGAL INDUSTRY

Artificial Intelligence has changed the work structure and framework of many industries. Without an iota of doubt, AI has the ability to transform the manner in which legal practitioners operate. Not just the laws and regulations, the Indian legal system is also dynamic in its approach and growth.

AI has brought a paradigm shift in the way legal research was carried out. Within a few minutes of time, the legal practitioners can get insights into the relevant case laws and provisions they were looking for with the help of an AI-enabled legal search engine.

AI has brought a considerable downfall in the expenditure of various law firms, offices and other legal practitioners. By supplementing the legal research domain with AI Technology, it has reduced the long hours of work that were earlier required to go through vast commentaries and journals. Furthermore, these efficient tools of AI-enabled Search Engines to help the Legal Professionals inefficiently advising their clients and honing their litigating skills.[4] Although, in the practical sense the AI-driven robots cannot take the place of legal practitioners, however, they can surely assist lawyers in the creation and drafting of documents.[5] By outsourcing these works to remote AI-based services, the clerical work of lawyer can be reduced to a great extent, leaving them with more time which they can devote to their core works.

Areas of the Legal Profession where AI is proving to be a boon

  • Handling of Administrative Matters – It is important to note that, apart from giving Judicial Decisions, the Judges also burdened with administrative tasks such as planning and organizing different categories of trials, sending official communications, making litigants aware about the legal rights, etc. These less important tasks which are repetitive in nature can be undertaken by AI-driven machines, thereby enabling the judge to focus on significant activities.

  • Notification of Case Hearings through AI-driven tools – Lawyers as well as clients have to invest a considerable amount of energy and time in checking the cause list on a regular basis in order to keep them updated regarding the case hearings. AI-driven tools can provide regular updates of case hearings by way of email and SMS. Legitquest, a legal search engine provides updated information of case hearings through Email and Text Messages

  • Accurate Prediction of Case results – AI technology helps the lawyer to know the probability of winning a particular case at hand. It predicts the outcome of a case by establishing algorithm patterns. AI-driven technology goes through the precedents related to a particular case. Certain AI software can also process the documents attached to the judgments.

  • Legal Analysis by use of Visual Search and Case Ranking algorithm – Some start-up legal search platforms such as NearLaw and CaseMine are using innovative tools like Visual Search and Case Ranking algorithms which aids the researcher by displacing most relevant judgments within few seconds of time. The unique feature of case ranking algorithm sorts and ranks judgments across various courts/tribunals and comes up with 50 top cases.[6]

TRACING THE EVOLUTION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND LAW

We can find origins of attempts to mechanise legal learning back to Gottfried Leibniz in the 1600s.[7] Gottfried was a well-known mathematician who pioneered the discussion on how mathematical framework can improve the legal practice. He is credited with being a co-inventor of calculus and was also profoundly trained in law.[8]

During the mid-twentieth century, many researchers took inspiration from computer science and AI and tried there in developing them in the context of the legal profession. Most of these developments were taking place in Europe across university laboratories. From 1970 -1990, most of the researchers focused upon modelling legal argument in computer-process able form and computationally modelling laws and legal regulations.[9]

The 21st Century, witnessed the majority of the contribution to the field of AI and law from technology-driven legal start-up corporations. These start-ups made use of machine learning to present the law in a more efficient manner. Stanford University has its own research centre, namely ‘CodeX Center for Legal Informatics’.[10] The research centre weighs on the development of computational law and focuses on mechanization of legal learning.


EFFECT OF AI ON LEGAL CAREERS AND WHETHER AI CAN BE AN ALTERNATIVE FOR A LAWYER

AI in the legal profession is bound to lead to a better comprehension of legal ideas among legal Practitioners, legal Scholars and law students alike.[11] The effect and impact of AI and technology on Legal Careers can be presented in the following points:

  1. AI will lead to more job opportunities in the legal domain: Humans and machines are bound to work in a collaborated manner once AI enters the concerned domain. One of the major prerequisites of a job would surely be sound knowledge of computational technology. The data analysis would be necessary; therefore AI is bound to create more data analytics jobs. It is important to note that, with the help of data analysis relevant insights can be generated in order to improve the legal practice.

  2. The efficiency of Legal Practitioners would increase: The coming of AI-driven technology into the legal profession will in no way oust the services of legal practitioners. On the contrary, AI is deemed to contribute towards the efficiency of lawyers by aiding them in speedier legal research, contract review, proofreading of documents, etc.

  3. AI demands new skills to be acquired by the coming of age legal practitioners: The days were the mere knowledge of typewriting was sufficient for a lawyer are long gone. The advancement of AI and innovation into the legal industry demands new skills such as sound knowledge of computational technology, data analytics and efficiency in online legal research from the Legal Practitioners.

  4. Innovative ways of serving Clients: As of now, the law offices, lawyers and law firms adhere to the practice of billing their clients on the basis of time taken to render a particular service or alternatively on the basis of time taken to find a legal solution to the problem at hand. However, with the coming of age and development of AI-driven technology, this practice is bound to go obsolete. Therefore, this would call for a fast track change of approach from the legal practitioners in the manner of serving their clients. The entire process would become client-friendly and the billing may be done on the basis of the quality of performance/service rendered, rather than the quantity of time spent.

Can AI and Technology Replace a Lawyer?

It is important to understand that the main motive behind the introduction and advancement of AI and technology into the various domains is to flourish opportunities, and not to target the job of individuals and replace them. Even if it goes against its main motive there are certain hindrances that AI encounters while rendering its functions within the legal domain.

The rationale decision making, the critical analysis, and the application of relevant provisions to the concerned matter at hand that a lawyer undertakes cannot be performed by any AI-driven software or tool. These software’s are simply incapable to make decisions as to which document is relevant for the case at hand. These AI tools can definitely cut down on the time taken by a lawyer but cannot apply the same legal mind and skills as the lawyer does. Only that part of a lawyer’s job which is mechanical and repetitive is capable of being undertaken by AI. At present, human cognitive skills are very unlikely to be replaced by some AI-enabled technology.[12] Most importantly, skills such as abstract thinking, emotional intelligence, legal farsightedness, client counselling and advocacy are intrinsic to lawyers per se. AI still has a long road ahead of it in order to serve as an alternative to legal practitioners.

References

[1] Artificial intelligence, Encyclopaedia Britannica (May 10, 2020, 7:24 AM), https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence. [2] Sonia K. Katyal, Private Accountability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, 66 Ucla L. Rev. 54 (2019); Frank Pasquale, A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation, 87 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1 (2019). [3] How Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds future for the Indian Legal System with innovative assistance, LatestLaws.com (May 10, 2020, 7:33 AM), https://www.latestlaws.com/did-you-know/how-artificial-intelligence-ai-holds-future-for-the-indian-legal-system-with-innovative-assistance/. [4] Mirza Aslam Beg, Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Indian Legal System, Legal Services India (May 10, 2020, 11:23 AM), http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-631-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-indian-legal-system.html. [5] Pallavi Gupta, Artificial Intelligence: Legal Challenge in India, ResearchGate (May 10, 2020, 11:45 AM), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335967041_Artificial_Intelligence_Legal_Challenge_in_India. [6] Parth Jain, Artificial Intelligence for sustainable and effective justice delivery in India, Oida International Journal of Sustainable Development 64, 66 (2018). [7]5 Giovanni Sartor, A Treatise Of Legal Philosophy and General Jurisprudence: Legal Reasoning 389-90 (Enrico Pattaro ed., Springer 2005). [8] Id. [9] Trevor Bench-Capon et al., A History of AI and Law in 50 Papers: 25 Years of the International Conference on AI and Law, 20 Artificial Intelligence and Law, 215, 277 (2012). [10] CodeX: Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL (May 10, 2020, 2:35 PM), https://law.stanford.edu/codex-the-stanford-center-for-legal-informatics/. [11] How careers in Law will be affected by the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, India Today (May 10, 2020, 4:54 PM), https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/jobs-and-careers/story/how-careers-in-law-will-be-affected-by-artificial-intelligence-1643099-2020-02-04. [12] Bernard Marr, How AI and Machine Learning Are Transforming Law Firms and the Legal Sector, Forbes (May 11, 2020, 5:29 PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/05/23/how-ai-and-machine-learning-are-transforminglaw-firms-and-the-legal-sector/#6308a31c32c3 [https://perma.cc/9HQ6-ZGTQ].

 

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