PublicationsCan Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective

September 21, 20200
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What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

This is when generally ‘human’ tasks can be completed by machines or computers. Tasks include speech recognition, visual perception, and translation[1]. The idea of AI grew after the Enigma machine broke the Nazi encryption in the second world war, where mathematician Alan Turing began wondering if ‘machines can think?’ In 1950, he wrote a ground-breaking paper with AI at heart[2].

So, how is the law involved?

AI is becoming more and more prominent in the legal profession. It is being used in the public sector in the criminal justice system, in policing, to case databases. AI has arguably changed the legal game and has potentially put the profession and lawyers at risk. This is because some statistics believe that AI systems are becoming more informative, scientific, and clearer than the human brain. This is seen with the use of AI in the pharmaceutical industry, with better precision of diagnosing some forms of cancer[3]. So, will AI take-over the legal profession, will it aid the profession, and what are the threats of this intelligence?

How AI is used in the legal profession:

There are many different ways AI can be integrated into law, some examples of this are discussed below.

GDPR- Private Data:

The increasing online- presence of our generation has caused some problems regarding data collection and privacy. For instance, data from your Google search engine can be tracked and stored, resulting in private information becoming known to big companies. This is therefore a big concern for many, and caused issues relating to privacy rights[4]. In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed in the European Union. This regulation aims at protecting personal data. “The GDPR privacy by design and by default principle requires that privacy standards be built into the technology and offered to the user by default. The GDPR shifts the burden of implementing privacy protecting measures from the user on to the company or organisation.[5]

Effectively, this means that companies must always put users’ privacy and protection first. If the regulations are not followed by, you can be fined by the Data Protection Authority, therefore showing how important this issue is. Fines are determined considering individual characteristics. The maximum fine which can be given is up to 4% of a business’ annual revenue, but there is a limit of up to 20 million EUR. Whatever figures are higher is what will be applied.

What are our (the individual) rights under the GDPR?
  • Right to information (i.e. you are allowed to know what data is stored in a profile of you by a company)
  • Right to secure handling
  • Right to access the information a company holds on you, whenever. You can ask for data to be deleted if no longer necessary and can change inaccurate data.
  • Right to use a service without giving away any additional data. This means consenting to data being processed by an organisation.
  • Right to explanation and human intervention when an automatic decision about you has been made. You have the right to know how the decision was made, disagree with the decision made or even demand a person to interfere and verify how and if the decision was made fairly.

Source: gdprexplained.eu

This regulation has therefore seen an increase in cases regarding the protection of personal data and privacy. A recent case example is that in January 2019, where Google LLC was fined €50 million for many shortcomings under the regulations. Examples of their failings include Google users were not made aware of why and how long their data was being kept and the lack of consent to personalised adverts shown on users’ devices[6].

This, therefore, shows that the advancement in AI has caused the companies to follow stricter privacy and data protection legislation, with greater ‘punishments’ for any breaches of it. On the other hand, a positive of this regulation results in individuals having greater rights, as well as arguably increasing lawyers workload with an increase in cases of a data breach, as personal information is now seen as more ‘sensitive’ than it was used to.

Cases predictions:

Another possible use of AI in the legal profession is that of ‘prediction technology.’ Some software’s can predict likely outcomes of litigation cases. This has been described by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales as ‘one of the most exciting developments of the age.’ AI has advanced so much that it may, in the future, will arguably be able to balance evidence with ‘moral questions of right and wrong.[7]

Data collected by the University College London in 2012 used machines to predict outcomes of cases. The machines had a staggering 79% accuracy! So, does this mean that potentially in the future there may no longer be a requirement for judges to sit in court if AI can use algorithms of previous decisions, facts, and cases to generate an answer? Does this mean that the function of and use of litigation lawyers is also destroyed?


Document automation:

Another use of AI that has been increasingly used in law, is software templates of legal documents. This enables filling and completing the forms to be much easier and quicker as the lawyer or paralegal does not need to create the relevant form or document each time for each new case. Instead, a template can be devised, and all that is needed to do is mere ‘fil in the blanks.’ Examples of documents where this is used are contracts and witness statements. Magic circle law firm Clifford Chance began using automated templates in 2001, and they believe it helps them be more efficient[8].

Electronic billing:

This method of AI allows precise minute-by-minute time logging for lawyers whilst completing their daily activities. The UK began showing interest in ‘e-billing’ since around 2003. In the USA, it is estimated that this type of AI is used for up to 90% of legal billing for litigation work, showing just how useful this could be[9]! Electronic billing has many advantages to the legal profession, from easy cost and expense tracking, time-saving, data analytics and reduced paper usage, it is deemed quite a useful system of AI in the legal profession. However, there are some drawbacks to it also. One of the main drawbacks include complications with Data Protection regulations (including compliance with GDPR!)

In addition, I believe that any mistakes made by the software would be very difficult to pick up upon. This is because many humans rely on AI being precise and correct, and so are very trust-worthy with the figures which it devises. However, AI can sometimes make mistakes, but I believe that the computerised nature of the documents and the fact it is made by AI will render the documents to not having a need to be checked and verified, and so mistakes can process through the firm, without any notice.

Conclusion:

The above examples show that sometimes, AI can be really useful and helpful in the legal sector and can be very beneficial and help the efficiency of firms. However, there are some negatives of AI from dehumanising the workforce, to having the potential to replace lawyers and judges’ roles. So, many questions are raised when considering the future of the legal profession. However, in my opinion, there are some roles and jobs which will always need a human touch, and I think the law is one of them. Judges need social and background information to help them reach their decision and impose the correct penalty/ remedy, and that is something I believe AI could never understand.

 

REFERENCES-

‘Artificial Intelligence – Reasoning’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2020) <https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence/Reasoning> accessed 23 August 2020

‘What Is Artificial Intelligence? How Does AI Work? | Built-In’ (Builtin.com, 2020) <https://builtin.com/artificial-intelligence> accessed 23 August 2020

‘AI And The Law’ (Birmingham.ac.uk, 2020) <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/quest/emerging-frontiers/AI-and-the-law.aspx> accessed 23 August 2020.

Mike Kaput, ‘How Is Artificial Intelligence Used In Analytics?’ (Marketingaiinstitute.com, 2020) <https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com/blog/how-to-use-artificial-intelligence-for-analytics> accessed 23 August 2020.

(2020) <https://www.gdprexplained.eu/> accessed 23 August 2020.

‘GDPR Cases’ (2020) <https://www.thorntons-law.co.uk/knowledge/gdpr-key-cases-so-far> accessed 23 August 2020.

‘AI: The Future Of Litigation Strategy | Hausfeld’ (Hausfeld.com, 2020) <https://www.hausfeld.com/perspectives/ai-the-future-of-litigation-strategy> accessed 23 August 2020.

(Legalsupportnetwork.co.uk, 2020) <https://www.legalsupportnetwork.co.uk/sites/default/files/definitive-guide-document-automation-law-firms.pdf> accessed 23 August 2020

‘Arguments For Legal E-Billing – Busylamp’ (BusyLamp, 2020) <https://www.busylamp.com/arguments-for-legal-ebilling/> accessed 24 August 2020.

[1] ‘Artificial Intelligence – Reasoning’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2020) <https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence/Reasoning> accessed 23 August 2020

[2] ‘What Is Artificial Intelligence? How Does AI Work? | Built In’ (Builtin.com, 2020) <https://builtin.com/artificial-intelligence> accessed 23 August 2020

[3] ‘AI And The Law’ (Birmingham.ac.uk, 2020) <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/quest/emerging-frontiers/AI-and-the-law.aspx> accessed 23 August 2020.

[4] Mike Kaput, ‘How Is Artificial Intelligence Used In Analytics?’ (Marketingaiinstitute.com, 2020) <https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com/blog/how-to-use-artificial-intelligence-for-analytics> accessed 23 August 2020.

[5] (2020) <https://www.gdprexplained.eu/> accessed 23 August 2020.

[6] ‘GDPR Cases’ (2020) <https://www.thorntons-law.co.uk/knowledge/gdpr-key-cases-so-far> accessed 23 August 2020.

[7] ‘AI: The Future Of Litigation Strategy | Hausfeld’ (Hausfeld.com, 2020) <https://www.hausfeld.com/perspectives/ai-the-future-of-litigation-strategy> accessed 23 August 2020.

[8] (Legalsupportnetwork.co.uk, 2020) <https://www.legalsupportnetwork.co.uk/sites/default/files/definitive-guide-document-automation-law-firms.pdf> accessed 23 August 2020

[9] ‘Arguments For Legal E-Billing – Busylamp’ (BusyLamp, 2020) <https://www.busylamp.com/arguments-for-legal-ebilling/> accessed 24 August 2020.

CITE THIS WORK

Legal Maxim (October 26, 2020) Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective. Retrieved from https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/.
Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective.” Legal Maxim – October 26, 2020, https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/
Legal Maxim September 21, 2020 Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective., viewed October 26, 2020,<https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/>
Legal Maxim – Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective. [Internet]. [Accessed October 26, 2020]. Available from: https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/
Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective.” Legal Maxim – Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/
Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers ? – A Global Perspective.” Legal Maxim [Online]. Available: https://www.legalmaxim.in/can-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers/. [Accessed: October 26, 2020]

AUTHOR DETAILS

https://i0.wp.com/www.legalmaxim.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/20200916_075608-scaled.jpg?resize=160%2C160&ssl=1

Name: Chloe Cadman

Affiliation: University of Nottingham | Intern, Legal Maxim

Year: 2nd (LLB Candidate)

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