Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being deployed to make life easier for legal departments and law firms around the country. In this article, National Legal Staffing Support (NLSS) discusses how law firms can use new technologies to expand.
Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry
Artificial intelligence, more specifically, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP), are freeing up lawyers to do what they’ve been trained to do—practice law. Like any software and all new technologies, AI enables the user to work faster and more accurately. For lawyers, AI can make research and case preparation less tedious and time-consuming. This streamlining can make a critical difference when trying to grow a law firm.
What AI and related legal technologies do not do is replace lawyers or experienced staff. They make them more productive. The legal profession will not realize disruption from AI in the wholesale replacement of corporate legal departments or outside counsel law firms by computers. While AI and other legal technologies will not replace humans, they will make them more efficient.
As was well articulated by Steve Lohr in the New York Times, “… the adoption of AI in law firms will be a slow, task-by-task process. In other words, like it or not, a robot is not about to replace your lawyer. At least, not anytime soon.”
Probably the best example of how AI can streamline some of the time-consuming tasks of lawyering is found in NLP’s ability to quickly scan documents and predict which will be relevant to a given case. While this AI functionality makes the process fast and efficient, knowledgeable staff are still required to evaluate the potential relevance and decide how to best integrate them into the filings.
Still, other tasks are seemingly beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced software. Advising clients, writing legal briefs, negotiating with opposing counsel, and appearing before a judge are all under no threat from AI disruption.
AI Doesn’t Always Reduce the Necessity of Legal Labor
Even though AI holds no legitimate promise of allowing a law firm to replace its staff with an IBM Watson-like computerized brain, there are still significant benefits to be had from automating certain tasks. As any lawyer will attest, the field is getting crowded and competition fierce.
Several years ago, Law Technology Today noted that the “… Law Firms in Transition Survey depicts a legal market experiencing increased price competition, a lack of efficiency in service delivery, an influx of new competitors, and the inescapable force of technology innovation.” Those friction points have intensified since that report was published.
AI can reduce the time spent by legal staff reading through endless documents trying to sort out and establish relevance and precedence. The promise AI holds is that lawyers and their support staff can be freed from many time-consuming, tedious tasks and direct their attention to working cases and expanding the practice.
Legal Staffing and AI
As with any new technology, the victory goes to those that find the most innovative application for the advanced capabilities. If a legal support team can spend fewer hours poring over documents—most of which are irrelevant, they can apply more effort to those tasks only humans can do.
AI, ML, and NLP are extraordinary tools and, coupled with quality legal staff support, can provide the competitive edge needed to grow a small-to-medium-sized legal practice.
Innovative legal firms will flourish by adopting new legal technology tools, including AI while cultivating a solid support team. For many, this might include finding staffing support when necessary.
About National Legal Staffing Support
National Legal Staffing Support is a pioneer and leading provider of legal process outsourcing. Located in Boca Raton, Florida, the company offers front- and back-office support to experienced consumer protection attorneys specializing in debt resolution. National Legal Staffing Support offers paralegal services, document management solutions, pre-litigation support, pre-filing analysis, research, and client communication management.