Will AI Replace Lawyers? 3 Expert Opinions

By Gabriela Jhean

For centuries, lawyers have been trusted advisors in navigating the legal system. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a question looms: Will AI replace lawyers?

The short answer is no, but writing off AI altogether would be a disservice to your firm and clients. 

AI is changing how legal professionals operate, and there’s good reason to leverage its potential. 

Join us as we explore how AI impacts the legal landscape today, its limitations, and what you can do to thrive in an AI-powered future.

What Is the Role of AI in Law Today?

AI has already begun to make its mark in the legal industry.

In fact, according to the MyCase 2024 Legal Industry Report, 81% of respondents who leverage generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tools use it to increase productivity and efficiency. Here’s how they’re using it:

  • Legal research
  • Document review
  • Due diligence
  • E-discovery

While some lawyers enthusiastically embrace AI for its potential to enhance efficiency and accuracy, others remain cautious. 

Concerns about job displacement, ethical considerations, and the need for human judgment persist in the legal community. 

However, it’s critical to recognize that AI isn’t a replacement for human expertise but rather a tool to enhance legal workflows and services.

Can AI Replace Lawyers?

No, AI will not render lawyers obsolete. However, it is reshaping traditional models of practicing law. Understanding where AI can augment legal services and where it falls short is essential for navigating this evolving landscape.

Areas AI Can Enhance

1. Legal Research

AI-powered tools can swiftly sift through vast amounts of legal data, aiding in comprehensive legal research. By facilitating access to a range of legal sources and automating repetitive tasks, AI accelerates the research process and enables lawyers to focus on analysis and strategy.

2. Document Review

AI streamlines the process of reviewing contracts and other legal documents, minimizing human error and saving time. Natural language processing algorithms can identify key clauses, flag risks, and ensure compliance with legal standards, thereby improving efficiency and accuracy.

3. Due Diligence

AI can aid due diligence processes in complex transactions such as mergers and acquisitions by analyzing large volumes of documents and data. AI-powered tools can identify relevant information, flag potential risks, and highlight key insights, enabling lawyers to make informed decisions efficiently.

4. E-Discovery

AI revolutionizes the e-discovery process through automated identification, collection, and analysis of electronic data. Machine learning algorithms can categorize documents, prioritize relevance, and identify patterns within large datasets, reducing the time and cost associated with e-discovery proceedings.

Areas Where Human Judgement Prevails

1. Complex Decision-Making

While AI excels at tasks with clear parameters, complex legal decisions require human judgment and nuanced interpretation. Legal issues involving ethical considerations, strategic planning, and client advocacy demand the expertise and experience of lawyers.

2. Client Interaction

Building trust and rapport with clients is a cornerstone of legal practice, an aspect where AI falls short. While virtual assistants and AI-powered chatbots can handle basic inquiries and administrative tasks, they can’t replace the empathy, intuition, and personal touch of human interaction.

3. Creativity and Innovation

While AI excels at analyzing data and identifying patterns, legal practice often demands innovative solutions and creative approaches. Lawyers play a crucial role in crafting novel arguments, developing new legal strategies, and adapting to unforeseen circumstances. These tasks require imagination, critical thinking, and the ability to think outside the boxqualities that remain uniquely human.

3 Expert Opinions on the Future of AI and Law 

We’ve gathered insights from industry experts to see what the future holds for AI in law. Their perspectives underscore how AI will continue to shape the legal profession, driving efficiency and innovation.

“Integrating AI technologies into trusted legal platforms promises vast improvements in efficiency and decision-making for legal professionals. By leveraging firm-specific data and AI insights, these tools will not only streamline legal service delivery and reduce operational friction but also offer substantial time savings. Increased AI usage in law firms will allow lawyers to concentrate on what truly matters: delivering strategic, cost-effective, and personalized representation to their clients.” Niki Black, Attorney, Author, and Legal Technology Expert

“I firmly believe that AI will catalyze a profound transformation within the legal profession, particularly in the realms of legal research, document production, discovery, and strategic decision-making. By leveraging the capabilities of AI technology, practitioners will be empowered to conduct comprehensive and nuanced legal research, enabling them to analyze issues, apply relevant laws to facts, draw insightful analogies from case law and secondary sources, and efficiently create top-quality pleadings, forms, briefs, motions, etc. Moreover, AI-driven tools will streamline the discovery process by swiftly analyzing vast amounts of information to filter out pertinent data, thereby enhancing efficiency and efficacy. Predictive analytics, facilitated by AI, will further augment decision-making processes, enabling lawyers to make sophisticated, data-driven choices regarding case strategy. As a result, the efficiencies generated by AI will not only bolster the productivity and independence of legal professionals but also foster increased access to justice, thereby advancing the fundamental principles of the legal profession.”– James Pittman, Co-founder, Docketwise (An Affinipay Solution)

“Today, we have a legal supply shortage: there just aren’t enough attorneys to satisfy market demand. AI can help bridge that gap. With AI, attorneys can do more with less: more clients in less time, more research with less staff, more money with less stress. AI will streamline processes and become an essential “employee” of the firm, filling holes and solving problems before they arise.” – Josh Carter, Legal Technology Product Manager

How Lawyers Can Start Adapting to an AI-Driven Future

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into legal practice, it’s crucial for lawyers to adapt to remain competitive. Here’s how legal professionals can prepare for an AI-driven future:

1. Identify the Areas AI Will Have the Most Impact on Your Firm

The first step is to understand how AI can benefit your specific practice. Analyze your current workflow and identify tasks ripe for automation. This could include:

Streamlining Routine Tasks: AI-powered tools excel at automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks. This includes activities like contract analysis, document review, and legal research. By leveraging AI for lawyers, you can streamline daily workflows to maximize every minute.

Enhancing Decision-Making: AI algorithms can analyze huge datasets and extract actionable insights to inform decision-making. Whether it’s predicting case outcomes, identifying trends in judicial rulings, or assessing the likelihood of success in litigation, AI empowers lawyers to make data-driven decisions with greater confidence and accuracy.

Optimizing Legal Research: AI tools enable lawyers to access a vast repository of case law, statutes, and regulatory documents with unprecedented speed. They can also analyze and summarize complex legal texts, helping lawyers identify key points and precedents quickly. This frees up valuable time for your team to focus on analysis and case preparation.

Increasing Predictive Analytics: By analyzing historical data and patterns, AI can generate predictive analytics to forecast legal outcomes and assess risk. Whether it’s predicting settlement amounts, evaluating the likelihood of success in litigation, or forecasting market trends, AI-powered predictive analytics empower lawyers to anticipate future developments and proactively plan strategies.

2. Focus on Enhancing, Rather Than Replacing Your Tech Stack

When integrating AI into your tech stack, prioritize enhancement over replacement. Take MyCase, for example, a leading case management software. 

Our latest feature, MyCase IQ, offers AI-powered features designed for legal professionals. With document summaries, text formatting, tone adjustments, writing improvements, and language translations seamlessly integrated into your case management software, MyCase IQ enhances your existing workflows without needing a complete overhaul. 

By leveraging MyCase IQ, you can benefit from the best legal AI software while maintaining your current tech infrastructure.

3. Prioritize Your Clients’ Security and Confidentiality

Protecting your clients’ security and confidentiality is paramount in the legal profession. With MyCase IQ, you can confidently prioritize these concerns while safely harnessing the power of AI. 

MyCase IQ uses responsible GAI to streamline your legal practice with AI in a secure and ethical manner. From document summaries to text messaging, MyCase IQ safeguards sensitive information while upholding client trust. 

By partnering with a trusted provider like MyCase, you can leverage AI responsibly and uphold the highest standards of confidentiality and security for your clients.

4. Embrace Continuous Education

Staying informed is key to remaining competitive and ethical in the evolving landscape of AI in the legal profession. From understanding the latest AI technologies, like Legal ChatGPT, to grappling with the implications of AI on legal ethics and regulations, continuous education is essential for lawyers. We recommend keeping a pulse on the latest legal tech trends by pursuing continuing legal education (CLE) courses. 

Here’s one to get you started: AI, ChatGPT, and the Future of Law

Become an AI-Powered Law Firm

As we ponder questions like “Can AI replace lawyers?” and “Will lawyers be in demand in the future?”, one thing is clear: Integrating AI into the legal profession is inevitable. 

However, rather than viewing AI as a threat, legal professionals can embrace it as an opportunity to evolve and innovate.

AI drives efficiency and new avenues for growth, all while empowering lawyers to spend more time focusing on what matters most—delivering the best outcome possible for your clients. Tools like MyCase IQ transform firms into AI-powered entities, allowing them to anticipate client needs and expedite processes. Yet, the human touch remains irreplaceable. Even as AI reshapes the legal landscape, judgment, empathy, and ethical reasoning will continue to be essential.

As we look ahead, the future belongs to those who can adapt and harness the power of AI responsibly and strategically. By embracing AI technologies, legal professionals can meet the challenges of tomorrow and pioneer new avenues for growth and success in the legal industry.

Ready to explore how AI can revolutionize your legal practice? Schedule a demo of MyCase today.