Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Fear AI

20 November 2019

Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Fear AI

The legal profession is not exactly at the forefront when it comes to welcoming time-saving technologies such as artificial intelligence. A collective resistance to technological change has caused a divide to emerge between traditionalists; who seek to maintain the status quo, and a new wave of fringe lawyers who welcome the change. So which side should you be on?

Generally, the more complex a task, the less likely it is that it will be replaced by AI. Narrow AI, such as Kira Systems, has already demonstrated that it can perform much of the mundane and repetitive tasks of law firms with much greater accuracy and speed. However, we are yet to see technology that perform the more complex tasks that a lawyer may perform.

How worried should lawyers or future lawyers be worried about potential obsolescence? The good news is that for those who start embracing AI early, there will be huge competitive benefits. The bad news is for those who don’t, it will be impossible to match the efficiency, accuracy and price of those who do. To us, it makes little sense to not jump on the AI train, or at least start booking your tickets.

So, which are the tasks that may be performed by AI? In their book ‘New Suits – Appetite for Destruction in the Legal World’, Remus and Levy predict, understandably, that when ‘Advanced Legal Systems’ arrive, some tasks have the potential to be heavily impacted by AI, some have moderate potential, and some have low potential. Here’s a breakdown of their predictions:

High potential:

  • Document review
  • Document drafting
  • Case administration
  • Legal research
  • Document management
  • Legal writing

Moderate potential

  • Due diligence
  • Legal analysis
  • Legal strategy

Low potential

  • Fact investigation
  • Advising clients
  • Court appearances
  • Preparations
  • Negotiations

These predictions foreshadow a future far from dystopian scenes of a robolawyer invasion and mass legal unemployment. The tasks most likely to be affected by AI are those that are necessary but largely unenjoyable parts of a lawyer’s role. The authors note that the shift to Advanced Legal Systems will take quite some time and resources, but will offer immediate and lasting rewards, especially for early adopters. Those who allow AI to perform the repetitive and time-consuming (and boring) tasks will reap the biggest rewards. Sounds like a win-win situation to us!

We know that our candidates are tech-savvy and are likely to be early adopters, but you want to make sure you work for a company that has the same forward-thinking attitude as you. We work with loads of them, so keep an eye out for our latest positions and future-proof yourself.


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