Сould your next lawyer be a robot?
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.