Artificial Intelligence Reshaping Law Practices

Posted by Christian Finnigan.

In the article Law Bots: How AI is Reshaping the Legal Profession by Matthew Stepka. He goes into how Artificial Intelligence or “AI” is potentially taking away blue-collar jobs because they are more efficient and are more capable of completing inhumanly possible tasks. One of the ways that AI could replace occupations is in the legal area. Such as replacing attorneys. The article states, “In this way, AI is having a profound effect on the practice of law. Though AI is more likely to aid than replace attorneys in the near term” (Stepka). He further goes on to say that they have already started implementing these bots to accomplish certain legal tasks, “it is already being used to review contracts, find relevant documents in the discovery process, and conduct legal research. More recently, AI has begun to be used to help draft contracts, predict legal outcomes, and even recommend judicial decisions about sentencing or bail” (Stepka). Even though these are just a few ways that AI is making its way into the judicial system there still is some skepticism because of AI’s ability to understand rationale and decisions that only humans’ consciousness can understand.

Although AI is not replacing attorneys, they are being used by them. In the article it describes that “Attorneys are already using AI, and especially Machine Learning (ML), to review contracts more quickly and consistently, spotting issues and errors that may have been missed by human lawyers” (Stepka). These programs can review contracts and cases faster than humans. The challenge with this type of AI is how it describes and analyzes the documents resulting in some faultiness. Other kinds of AI such as Westlaw Edge is a program that many attorneys already use for research. It uses algorisms to understand words instead of trying to match them with other words. Another feature from Westlaw Edge is Quick Check where its AI is used to draft arguments and to help out attorneys if they have missed anything while drafting. Along with analyzing the content of documents AI can also create them as well. It goes on to talk about how AI can generate drafts, reports, and journals but sometimes will type things that are irrelevant. The article conveys that in order for AI to be useful in the legal world it would need to be trained, “In order for AI to draft legal contracts, for example, it will need to be trained to be a competent lawyer. This requires that the creator of the AI collect the legal performance data on various versions of contract language, a process called “labeling” (Stepka). 

There are many questions as to how AI will be incorporated into the legal system but for now there are not too many huge leaps when it comes to becoming fully AI-based in the legal system. This is because AI is created by humans, indicating that the programs can have malfunctions and errors that humans would be able to overcome with consciousness. Another reason the article states why AI is not ready to be used in the judicial systems is because people might succumb to just blatantly believing whatever the AI believes is correct. Without the oversight of a real human being, there is a long way to go until we can fully put our faith in AI as a whole.

Christian is an economics major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.