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What’s The State Of AI In The Legal Industry? 10 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 20 September 2019
  • Sam Mire

Do you know the law? And, just as importantly, are you aware of the shifts shaping the future of the law at the tectonic level? What's the state of artificial intelligence, or blockchain, among legal professionals? We brought in the industry insiders to answer these questions and others.  Here's what they said:

1. Thomas J. Hamilton, LL.B., B.C.L., VP, Strategy and  Operations at Ross Intelligence

“While huge strides have been made in bringing AI break throughs from other industries into legaltech, the reality is that we're just in the infancy of what will be possible. That being said, we are now in the era of easy to use, affordable AI tech that lawyers can incorporate into their firms across a broad swathe of functional areas. While we lead the pack in legal research, there are a number of exciting tools available in the chatbot and automated reception space, for instance, that similarly bring game changing AI to the fingertips of even small firms and sole practitioners.”


2. Cat Casey, Chief Innovation Officer at DISCO

“The legal industry is still nascent in terms of AI adoption and knowledge. Despite the fact that deep learning, machine learning, and many of the key tenets of AI are well-established and integrated across industries, legal has historically viewed AI as a new and unproven technology. That said, law firms and corporate legal departments are increasingly adding AI practice areas and AI evaluation committees, and are adopting AI solutions in a few discrete areas: e-discovery (the process of exchanging evidence described previously), knowledge management (research and work product), and contract analytics (reviewing contracts to identify and extract pertinent information).”


3. Avi Brudner, Chief Operating Officer at Blue J Legal

“Artificial intelligence now touches almost every aspect of lawyers’ workflow—from document review to e-discovery to substantive legal research. We’re certainly not going to run out of potential applications for artificial intelligence in the legal field any time soon, particularly as developments in AI enable us to apply it to more sophisticated aspects of lawyers’ work.It’s not just new entrants that are responding to demand from innovators in the legal field. Current, well-known providers of legal tech are also venturing into AI-powered products, either through acquisition or developing their own tools. This is a sign that the industry is changing and companies that have traditionally provided services to lawyers are moving to meet this new demand.

Innovative law firms are eager to stay ahead of the curve and are actively using AI-enabled legal tech already. They’re ensuring that they’re leveraging the newest technology and providing the best value to their clients.”


4. Noory Bechor, co-founder and CEO of LawGeex

“AI is already having an impact on the legal profession, with AI-powered software being used by forward-looking legal departments and law firms. AI will eventually take over or augment a significant number of the tasks now done by lawyers. Thirty-nine percent of in-house counsel expect that AI will be commonplace in legal work within ten years.”


5. Kenneth A. Grady, Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow at Michigan State University College of Law

“AI in the legal industry is in a much earlier development stage than in most other industries. There are many reasons for the lag, some technical, some financial, and some cultural. Large datasets are difficult to find. The materials often contain confidential and privileged information, restricting their use. They require substantial preparation before they can be used. All of this increases the cost. Add to that the costs of building and training the AI systems.

You have to find use cases that will justify, on financial as well as strategic terms, developing an AI system. Those use cases have been hard to find. The legal industry also has a long history of preferring human systems over tech systems. That history weighs heavily when participants consider AI solutions. Often, simple technology solutions (e.g., automated document assembly) coupled with process improvements make more sense than AI solutions.”

 


6. Richard Mabey, co-founder and CEO of Juro

“It’s an exciting time for legal and AI. We’ve reached a point where, with the help of new technology, we can automate high-volume, low-complexity, cookie-cutter process work. This means lawyers can focus on adding real value and being strategic partners to businesses. At the same time, we’re experiencing a welcome reality check: it’s crucial to put a lid on the hype, and keep our laser focus on what the users of legal services actually need.”

 


7. Katherine Pawlak, Partner at Wasserman, Bryan, Landry & Honold and Rasmussen College Paralegal Instructor

“AI has been gaining traction in the legal industry in recent years and continues to grow. AI has not replaced lawyers but instead is used to assist attorneys in performing legal work. Currently, AI is used predominantly in due diligence work such as contract review and electronic discovery. Due diligence is lengthy and tedious and AI assists in searching, and extracting necessary information, as well as in legal analytics and research. AI is also used throughout the legal world in document automation for templates and forms.”


8. George Simons, founder of SoloSuit and Lawble

“2018 was an extraordinary year for AI in the legal industry. Legal tech startups utilizing AI received $362 million in funding. The legal tech field as a whole received $1 billion, distributed across 40 deals. This is up from $233 million in 2017.”

 

 


9. David Alain Bloch, CEO & Co-Founder of Legartis

“At the moment there is a huge hype about AI in the legal industry – and this development meets with high expectations from the legal profession. The common understanding is that ‘there now is a robot that can solve everything’. The current situation actually is totally different: With AI, there is a clear gain in regard to efficiency. But still, trial and error. We work with our experience, not with absolute certainty. However, we are convinced that the full capacity of AI in the legal industry has not yet been exhausted.”


10. Benjamin Alarie, CEO of Blue J Legal

Ben AlarieArtificial intelligence now touches almost every aspect of lawyers’ workflow—from document review to e-discovery to substantive legal research. We’re certainly not going to run out of potential applications for artificial intelligence in the legal field any time soon, particularly as developments in AI enable us to apply it to more sophisticated aspects of lawyers’ work. 

It’s not just new entrants that are responding to demand from innovators in the legal field. Current, well-known providers of legal tech are also venturing into AI-powered products, either through acquisition or developing their own tools. This is a sign that the industry is changing and companies that have traditionally provided services to lawyers are moving to meet this new demand.”


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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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