AI for Lawyers Explained: What It Is and How to Use It at Your Firm
By Mary Elizabeth Hammond
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. From the facial recognition that unlocks your phone to tracking your DoorDash delivery, AI has become a staple in our personal lives. But what about professionally? Can you bring the conveniences of AI to your law firm while staying in compliance?
Artificial Intelligence and law firms can work together—when you have the right tools and approach.
In this article, we’ll delve into the basics and nuances of AI for lawyers, including:
- AI Fundamentals
- How Lawyers Can Use Legal AI Software
- Benefits of Using AI in Law Firms
- Best Legal AI Tools
What is AI?
Oracle, an international computer technology corporation, defines AI as “systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and can iteratively improve themselves based on the information they collect.” Generally speaking, AI systems work by taking in data, analyzing it, and using it to identify correlations and create predictions.
AI application is often broken down into four categories:
- Expert Systems: A computer system that mimics the ability of human decision–makes and uses a vast amount of data to solve complex problems.
- Speech Recognition: Intakes human speech via analog and converts it into a digital form, which can be used for speech analysis and transcription.
- Machine Vision: Uses image processing to take in and analyze large amounts of data and information.
- Natural language processing (NLP): A computer system with the ability to interpret written and spoken language, can be used to analyze contracts and flag problematic sections.
What Is Legal AI?
Legal AI represents the integration of AI technologies into the field of law. This application aims to enhance and streamline various legal processes, providing lawyers with tools to navigate the legal profession more efficiently. Ultimately, legal AI uses algorithms and machine learning to automate tasks that were traditionally time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Can Lawyers Use AI?
The short answer: yes
When using AI for lawyers, you’ll experience a more streamlined workflow for daily tasks, job processes, and case management. A few practical uses of legal AI include, but are not limited to:
- Transcribing Documents: Save your team the tedious manual process of typing out statements and documents. AI-based transcription can have it done in seconds, and you can watch as your firm’s billable hours grow.
- Conducting Legal Research: With AI legal research, SaaS lawyers can conduct automated searches through catalogs of case law and statutes in seconds. This work would typically take days to complete. AI can also be used for legal analysis to compare cases and look for patterns, although this scenario does not replace a legal professional’s expertise.
- Issuing Risk Assessment: AI-powered processes can review information in real-time, enabling attorneys to assess risks, and advise clients with data-backed information.
While legal AI tools can alleviate certain takes, they’re no replacement for legal professionals. Your team’s knowledge, human judgment, and rationale are irreplaceable for AI systems and bring more value than any technology can provide.
Is It Ethical for Lawyers to Use AI?
Attorneys need to follow ethical standards when using legal AI. AI can raise concerns about data privacy, information security, liability, and third-party sharing.
AI data can also easily be embedded with biased decision-making. This is due to human bias and error since people create legal AI software and the data that runs it. The American Bar Association Journal (ABA Journal) states,“There can be no unbiased AI System. If an organization is designing or using AI systems to make decisions that could potentially be discriminatory under law, attorneys should be involved in the development process alongside data scientists.”
Before using AI in law firms, address all ethical issues and compliance standards. Look for bias, address security concerns, review data privacy rulings, and always ensure that you comply with your local jurisdiction’s standards regarding AI systems at law firms. The ABA Journal also recommends that lawyers “have some basic technical knowledge” about AI before advising clients about legal compliance.
Three Benefits of AI for Law Firms
AI and law firms can be a powerful duo to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and even earn more clients. Here are three benefits of using legal AI tools at your firm:
1. Saving Time
AI can analyze information faster and more thoroughly than humans. Lawyers can utilize legal AI software to search data, conduct research, and analyze contracts or other documents—saving them and staff hours of tedious work. This allows lawyers to focus on billable tasks that make the firm money.
2. Higher-Quality Work, Less Human Error
Using AI for legal documents can reduce errors that tarnish your firm’s professionalism. People are imperfect, and even the most detail-oriented attorney can accidentally make a typo or enter the wrong date. An AI legal document generator can limit, if not eliminate, these mistakes and produce a more polished result.
3. Improved Client Relationships
AI-driven processes free up legal professionals’ time and allow them to focus on what matters most—their clients. With less of the day taken up by minutiae administrative tasks and laborious research, attorneys can use that time to interact with clients and deliver more engaging client service.
For example, firms can use virtual legal assistants or chatbot lawyers to answer basic inquiries on their websites. This ensures clients get quick and accurate responses regardless of the hour. It also means your lawyers don’t have to sacrifice time out of their day to respond to these types of queries.
Best Legal AI Tools
Legal AI tools are transforming the way law firms operate, and modern firms are embracing the change. Here are the best types of legal AI tools to consider at your firm:
1. Legal Research and Analytics Tools
- Automated Legal Research Platforms: These tools leverage AI to sift through vast databases of legal information, providing attorneys with quick access to relevant cases, statutes, and legal precedents.
- Predictive Analytics Software: Offering insights into potential case outcomes based on historical data, these analytics tools empower lawyers to make informed decisions and strategize effectively.
2. Document Automation and Management Systems
- AI Legal Document Generator: Tools in this category automate the creation and review of legal documents, reducing manual effort and minimizing errors. Take MyCase’s Advanced Document Automation, for example. This time-saving tool allows you to use smart templates that populate legal documents with client and case data.
- Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Systems: These systems streamline the entire contract lifecycle, ensuring compliance and efficiency through every stage. MyCase makes document management easy, with cloud-based sharing and unlimited storage.
3. E-Discovery Solutions
- Advanced E-Discovery Platforms: AI-driven e-discovery tools expedite the process of sorting through electronic data for legal cases. They can quickly identify relevant information, reducing the time and resources required for litigation preparation.
4. Virtual Legal Assistants and Chatbots:
- AI-Powered Client Communication: These tools enhance client interactions by providing quick and accurate responses to common queries. They can be integrated into law firm websites to offer 24/7 support and information.
5. Case Management Systems:
- Intelligent Case Management Software: AI-enhanced case management tools help law firms organize and streamline their caseloads. They may include features such as automated workflows, deadline tracking, and task management. MyCase is the leading case management software, putting all your legal needs in one convenient place.
6. Risk Assessment and Compliance Tools
- AI-Driven Risk Assessment: These tools analyze information in real-time, enabling attorneys to assess risks and advise clients with data-backed information.
- Compliance Monitoring Systems: AI tools assist in monitoring and ensuring compliance with ever-changing legal regulations, minimizing the risk of legal issues.
MyCase: The Smart Case Management System
Legal technology is always evolving, and MyCase is here to keep your firm ahead. With MyCase, you can boost client intake, automate workflows and calendar events, improve legal invoicing, and more. You’ll have the best legal AI tools paired with innovative case management features—all under one roof. That means no jumping between multiple software programs just to get through the day.
Try MyCase today risk-free with a 10-day free trial. We offer affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions. Plus, no commitment or credit card is required, and you can cancel anytime.