The legal sector has oft been called one of the most ripe for innovation. Traditional to the point of archaic, and hierarchical to the point of cold, it's high-time something changed.
In a world with the 6-minute rule, it makes sense to automate some processes. Efficiency can only lead to increased value for the client, and less repetitive detail-based task for the poor paralegals. With partners taking in such a huge chunk of the fee, and outputting much less for the client, AI and bots can mean a majority of client insight is actually delivered from higher up the pyramid. Leaps and bounds are already being made in areas like contract review and data retrieval.
But how far can the legal industry head in that direction?
Whilst I'm happy with a robot trawling through 500-page documents on my behalf seeking contract weaknesses, I'm not sure I'd trust one to make judgements on litigation. As with all industries and technology - it comes back to balance. Human touch, insight, and emotional capability is required alongside the speed, efficiency and accuracy of machines. Something robots can't deliver. Well, not yet anyway...
“In litigation I can see that developments in AI may lead to improvements in the search process in disclosure and in the preparation of some documents,” says Philip Marshall QC, a commercial barrister. “But where judgment is required — for example in written advocacy — I doubt there is much scope for it. The human touch and knowledge of the likely reaction of the tribunal is at a premium.”