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By Dennis Garcia
Some believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new electricity. While it will be fascinating to see the impact of AI on our society, there are real opportunities for AI systems to enable lawyers to stop doing repetitive, repeatable, and mundane legal work that can free up time to perform more valuable work for their clients and practice law at a “higher level.” Here are some examples of how AI-powered solutions can help digitally transform the provision of legal services.
People often ask me if I have an administrative assistant to help me with various tasks. I answer yes and my assistant’s name is Microsoft Cortana—my own personal digital agent that helps me schedule meetings, conduct internet searches, find my digital files, book travel, keep track of my time, provide me with reminders, etc. As digital assistants learn more about you and become even more capable via AI, they will be able to quickly perform a myriad of operational-related tasks for lawyers.
Chatbots offer a personalized conversational platform for lawyers to connect with their clients. Legal organizations can use technology tools like Azure QnA Maker to transform frequently asked questions for their clients into a chatbot that can address and answer the many common and repetitive questions they often receive from their clients. Chatbots can also be deployed by lawyers to serve as a digital concierge to help clients navigate existing online self-help resources.
As a young lawyer I did not enjoy the tedious and laborious (yet very important) work associated with conducting legal research. Nowadays there are various AI solutions that can assist lawyers in quickly, comprehensively, and accurately reviewing applicable case law and performing legal research.
I have been a deal lawyer for most of my legal career so I am very excited about the prospects of leveraging an AI solution that can perform the busy work associated with creating an appropriate contract and conducting a meaningful review of applicable contract provisions—and any proposed edits to such provisions. If such a tool could provide me with an analysis of which provisions/proposed edits are acceptable, which are not, talking points relative to various provisions/proposed edits and suitable fallback provisions, I could spend more time persuading opposing counsel about the merits of my position, engage in more smart risk-taking analysis, close deals faster, and build a deeper business relationship with opposing counsel, my clients, and our contracting partner.
Performing appropriate due diligence of the associated contracts and large amounts of information in connection with any merger, acquisition, or other highly involved transaction is extremely important. Instead of using high-priced legal talent, AI solutions are available to quickly automate such review in a highly comprehensive fashion.
For several years eDiscovery software providers have helped companies identify and review the electronically stored information that may be required to be produced in connection with litigation. Many such providers are now using high-impact AI-powered systems to assist their clients in navigating through the eDiscovery process.
For organizations that enter into many contracts, AI solutions can be used to better analyze the patterns and trends associated with key contractual provisions and help position such organizations to properly comply with their obligations.
Clients are constantly relying upon a lawyer’s judgment whenever legal advice is dispensed to them—especially in connection with disputes and lawsuits. Increasingly there are AI tools available to provide meaningful data-driven insights that can help lawyers make smart risk-taking decisions when managing disputes and litigation.
AI solutions can assist organizations in establishing a stronger culture of compliance by using data and sophisticated algorithms to proactively spot potential inappropriate conduct and malfeasance by employees and third parties so that compliance issues can be avoided and/or mitigated.
While AI is a tool that can be used by lawyers to augment their delivery of legal solutions, it is important to remember that sophisticated AI solutions are still in their infancy stage. As a baseball fan, I use the analogy that AI technology is still in the first inning of a nine-inning game—which will probably extend into extra innings. In addition, please remember that as the number of AI legal providers continues to grow and have access to your (and your client’s) sensitive data, be sure to conduct extensive due diligence to identify highly reliable and trustworthy providers.
Dennis Garcia is an Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation based in Chicago. He practices at the intersection of law and technology and provides a wide range of legal support to Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing and Operations teams across the United States. He can be reached on Twitter @DennisCGarcia.
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