Сould your next lawyer be a ro­bot?

Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly - - CONTENTS - Vic­tor Moroz Man­ag­ing Part­ner, SUPREMA LEX

To man­age a com­plex case, a law firm needs a group of lawyers who spend part of their time on the prepa­ra­tion of doc­u­ments and the trial. But this could be done much more eas­ily us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. Ma­chine learn­ing is al­ready tak­ing over the dull, repet­i­tive tasks of the le­gal in­dus­try — a trend that tech ex­perts and en­trepreneurs ex­pect only to in­crease. Fast for­ward a few more gen­er­a­tions of A.I., and flesh-and- blood lawyers may face the same threat al­ready cost­ing le­gions of blue- col­lars work­ers their jobs: be­ing re­placed by a ro­bot.

Hu­man lawyers are al­ready wor­ried about these ad­vances. But there is no de­bat­ing the fact that ad­vances in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence have al­ready al­tered the straight- laced world of law.

For in­stance, one now widely used prac­tice is “elec­tronic dis­cov­ery” – con­duct­ing le­gal re­search in moun­tains of le­gal files that have been dig­i­tized into data­bases, and are now search­able from a smart phone.

An­other way of le­gal tech is be­ing em­ployed is to find lawyers for clients. For in­stance, two Bri­tish ex- pats launched a firm called Pre­mo­ni­tion An­a­lyt­ics out of an in­nocu­ous of­fice build­ing on Bis­cayne Boule­vard that has de­vel­oped an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence pro­gram that si s data bases to find lawyers for clients. The A.I. al­go­rithm eval­u­ates lawyers based on their suc­cess rates for par­tic­u­lar kinds of cases in front of spe­cific judges.

And a lot of the new le­gal tech­nol­ogy works like Pre­mo­ni­tion – stream­lin­ing sim­ple and pre­dictable ac­tiv­i­ties – like try­ing to find an at­tor­ney or the right piece of ev­i­dence. A start- up called Le­gal­ist, for ex­am­ple, crunches data to pre­dict whether a case will win, and fi­nances the le­gal ex­penses of an­tic­i­pated win­ners. An­other firm, Lex Machina, of­fers le­gal an­a­lyt­ics aimed at help­ing at­tor­neys for­mu­late their ar­gu­ments.

All those tech­nolo­gies op­er­ate as com­ple­ments to hu­man lawyers, but some tech de­vel­op­ers are now aim­ing to sup­plant them. Two com­pa­nies – LISA and Donot­pay – have rolled out com­pet­ing mod­els of what they each called the “world’s first ro­bot lawyer.”

Donot­pay, which launched last year in the United States and in the U. K. the year prior, is a chat­bot that poses users a se­ries of ques­tions and then au­to­mat­i­cally ap­peals their park­ing tick­ets. The bot has also as­sisted in bank­ing charge con­tentions, air­plane ticket re­funds, land­lord dis­putes, and asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions for refugees. In Septem­ber, the chat­bot added a fea­ture that al­lowed users to sue Equifax, the credit mon­i­tor­ing firm which ex­posed 143 mil­lion Amer­i­cans’ fi­nan­cial data last sum­mer, for up to $ 25,000.

LISA, which ac­quired an­other le­gal A.I. called Billy­bot last year, runs a sim­i­lar pro­gram. A er a few au­to­mated ex­changes with clients, LISA dra s quick, free, and legally bind­ing non- dis­clo­sure agree­ments, or NDAS.

Bots like these could pro­vide sub­stan­tial ben­e­fits to con­sumers, pro­vid­ing ser­vices that would nor­mally re­quire the ex­per­tise of a lawyer but at lit­tle to no cost – like Tur­b­o­tax for law­suits. But will pro­grams make the work of hu­man lawyers more ef­fi­cient? The le­gal busi­ness is just not built around ef­fi­ciency, and it could be a while be­fore ro­bots or le­gal tech pro­grams take on the pri­mary work of lawyers, which is less stan­dard­ized and pre­dictable.

Ro­bot lit­i­ga­tors not only pose a sub­stan­tial tech­no­log­i­cal dif­fi­culty, but the po­ten­tial dis­place­ment of hu­mans from le­gal roles by ma­chines would al­most cer­tainly veer into law­suits and con­sti­tu­tional ques­tions.

Nev­er­the­less, a 2016 re­port from the con­sul­tant group Mck­in­sey found that 22 per­cent of a lawyer’s tasks and 35 per­cent of a law clerk’s tasks could be au­to­mated. In 2017, JP Mor­gan be­gan us­ing a pro­gram called Con­tract In­tel­li­gence. Con­tract In­tel­li­gence, or COIN, can com­plete in a mat­ter of se­conds work that once took le­gal clerks 360,000 hours.

But what’s the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine? Is le­gal tech de­vel­op­ing in our court sys­tem? Are lawyers al­ready us­ing le­gal tech pro­grams in their prac­tices?

From Jan. 1, 2019, a joint court in­for­ma­tion and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem will start func­tion­ing in Ukraine, which will in­tro­duce in Ukraine elec­tronic courts where the pub­lic will be able to file law­suits, pay court fees, par­tic­i­pate in a court ses­sions, and ex­change pro­ce­dural doc­u­ments on a case with other par­ties in a trial.

The sys­tem is op­er­at­ing in test mode at the mo­ment. It al­lows lawyers to con­duct dis­pute res­o­lu­tion from their own of­fice and is very con­ve­nient, as it re­duces lawyers’ travel time and ex­penses, giv­ing them more time to work on other client is­sues. It pro­vides lawyers the won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in law­suits in an­other city with­out leav­ing their of­fice, and to pro­vide the best ser­vices to their clients us­ing the full re­sources of their law firm.

More­over, law firm Suprema Lex has cre­ated a ro­bot called Claimantey (from claimant), which, a er ask­ing a client a num­ber of ques­tions, can pre­pare a law­suit, as­sist with pay­ing court fees and search for the ap­pro­pri­ate court in which to file a case. And a er the elec­tronic court sys­tem en­ters full op­er­a­tion, Claimantey would will be in­te­grated with it and clients will be able to file a case in a court at the push of a but­ton.

For ex­am­ple, a client of Suprema Lex would be able to file a case at court from their own apart­ment or of­fice in 10 min­utes, with­out be­ing dis­tracted from other is­sues. Work is now be­ing done to en­sure that in the very near fu­ture Claimantey will de­velop fur­ther, learn­ing to draw up new types of law­suits and pro­ce­dural doc­u­ments, and par­tic­i­pate in court ses­sions. It could even be­come a fully-fledged lawyer.

Lots of lawyers fear that such ro­bots or le­gal tech pro­grams like Claimantey will lose them clients, or at least that hun­dreds, thou­sands, or mil­lions of bill­able hours will dis­ap­pear. But on the other hand, there will al­ways be more cases, and in­no­va­tions like Claimantey sim­ply make lawyers more ef­fi­cient – which in turn will help them earn more money. Le­gal tech does not take away work from lawyers, but makes their prac­tices more ef­fi­cient, and their prac­tices more at­trac­tive to clients. The lawyers who un­der­stand this first will be the ones who ben­e­fit the most.

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