ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
According to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an AI system is a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing real or virtual environments. John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial Intelligence” and the initial discussion about the same was concluded in Dartmouth College in Hanover during the 1956 Summer Research Project. The core problems of AI include programming computers for certain traits such as: Knowledge engineering, Perception, Learning, Planning and Ability to manipulate and move objects.
A) WEAK AI
- It focuses on one narrow task and exhibits some facets of human intelligence but lacks the overall scheme of comprehensive intelligence possessed by humans.
- All currently existing AI systems come under this category at the most.
- Eg. Image recognition machines, Robots used in manufacturing processes, etc. all possess extraordinary respective qualities but are not versed in any other activity other than the one they are programmed for.
B) STRONG AI
- It is the intelligence of a machine which aids it in performing any intellectual task that a human being can.
- It refers to machines capable of cognition and experiencing consciousness.
- Computer based systems that exhibit many of the human-like qualities but not yet at human levels. Some of the extrapolated examples include Self-replicating machines, etc.
APPLICATION OF AI AND AUTOMATION IN THE LEGAL SECTOR
Richard Susskind, one of the UK’s most respected thinkers at the intersection of legal and technology, says, “AI and other technologies are enabling machines to take on many of the tasks that many used to think required human lawyers and that’s not plateauing. It seems to be happening at quite a rate.” The developments, according to Susskind, will eventually warm up by 2020. AI has great scope to overcome the inherent problems of the legal sector in order to improve its efficiency, ease of reaching to the wildest classes of law-seekers, and improving the profit-based gains both for the firms as well as the clients. Currently the following areas have been reflected on the use of AI in the legal sector:
A) REVIEWING BUSINESS CONTRACTS
• A business contract is an agreement in which each party agrees to an exchange, typically involving money, goods, or services. Business contracts protect both buyers and sellers, by reducing agreements to writing. The contract can be as long or short as necessary in order to cover the important details of the contract.
• Currently the contract review process involves manual revision, editing and exchanging red-lined documents in endless transactions. This process of manual curation makes it lengthy, loss-making for the clients. Also, human-errors are inevitable as the contracts can run for thousands of pages.
• So, the automation of this tedious process can be really beneficial and steps from startups like LexCheck, ClearLaw, etc. have been primitive in this direction.
• These companies are developing AI systems that can automatically ingest proposed contracts, analyse them in full using natural language processing (NLP) technology, and determine which portions of the contract are acceptable and which are problematic.
B) ROLE IN DUE DILIGENCE
• It involves the unleashing of the background information related to the merits and demerits of the case involved, confirmation of the facts and figures and thoroughly assessing the underlying subject matter.
• The morale behind it is to advice clients on their possible options, the potential course of action that can be followed and maybe the hindrances involved in the same.
• Companies like Kira-Systems, Leverton, etc. have established firm bases on the same thus providing a comprehensive investigation undertook by the lawyers to conclude in a meaningful outcome.
C) AI-BASED SMART CONTRACTS
• Smart contracts are lines of code that are stored on a blockchain and automatically execute when predetermined terms and conditions are met. At the most basic level, they are programs that run as they’ve been set up to run by the people who developed them.
• They streamline the complex process that involves several intermediaries because of a lack of trust among participants in the transaction.
• Smart contracts are increasingly becoming pre-eminent in the way that they result in a number of benefits to the end-user – trust and security (with the blockchain encrypted transactions which are nearly impossible to evade), savings aroused with the omission of intermediaries and increased speed and efficiency (due to paperless transactions and entirety in the blockchain).
• Among the most celebrated ones, the IBM’s Blockchain platform coupled with The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Composer are pre-eminent in certain ways.
D) CONTRACT AND LEGAL ANALYTICS
• Enforcements and adhering to the terms of a number of contracts signed by a respective company or firm can be in fact difficult to achieve and this remains a big trouble for the companies.
• With the application of AI to this hurdle, NLP-powered solutions are being built that can extract and contextualize the highlighting facts across the overall contracts, hence enabling the firms to stay on top of their commitments.
• Kira-systems and Seal software are some startups riding this venture for building such a GUI platform.
• Legal analytics are the extension of the same underlying concept with the involvement of case documents and docket entries.
• These documents provide supplementary insights during litigation by lawyers.
• LexMachina, RavelLaw, etc. are some contributories in this domain.
E) ELECTRONIC BILLING
• Electronic Billing platforms provide an alternative to paper-based invoicing with the goal of reducing disputes on line items, more accurate client adjustments, (potentially) more accurate reporting and tracking, and reduced paper costs.
• This system provides for potential benefits for both the client as well as the practicing lawyer.
• BrightFlag, SmokeBall, etc. are some of the softwares assisting for the same.
F) INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND LEGAL RESEARCH
• As of now the IP created by an AI system is not conferred the privileges and rights upon the system in any circumstances. However, the application of AI in assisting the administration of the IPRs regime and processes has been evident with the advanced developments arising as of recently.
• Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and other IPs requires an arduous search for relevant prior-art and potential infringement cases.
• The IP applications are rather time-sensitive and thus manual search and implications are tedious processes.
• The translations of IP applications during the International PCT-phase into respective jurisdictions is also an important part of the entire process. Considering this the WIPO has developed a tool called WIPO Translate.
• Another tool called IPCCAT-neural has been developed by WIPO in collaboration with University of Geneva for aiding the prior-art search for the examiners in the IPC system.
• TradeMark Now, ANAQUA Studio, etc. are some of the platforms in the private domain.
G) LITIGATION PREDICTION
• It involves the use of ML models based on appropriate algorithms to predict the outcomes of pending cases, using the relevant preceding case scenarios and references along with the current facts and patterns of the respective case of interest.
• This process requires tremendous data as the accuracy and performance of prediction analytics are directly proportional to the amount of data available with respect to previous exposures.
• As these techniques build up on each passing day, it will be easier for the companies to expedite the settlement protocols.
• Blue-J legal is one such startup trying to establish firm roots in this domain.
H) AUTOMATION OF DOCUMENTATION PROCESS
• It involves the use of software templates to create filled out documents based on data input.
• With the aid of AI this can be done within a few minutes as per the client’s convenience.
• PerfectNDA is one such software developed for the same.
CHALLENGES AND FUTURE PROSPECTS TO THE APPLICATION OF AI IN LEGAL SECTOR
There is a global fear, as with the other sectors as well, that AI will take away the jobs of lawyers and the associated manpower, as it is predicted that nearly 20 to 25 % of the current jobs would diminish by 2030 due to AI taking over the respective work with added ease and efficiency. So is the fear for the legal sector as well but law presents unique challenges compared to other industries when programming computers to simulate human thought. There is rarely a straightforward universal scope for a particular subject matter in law. Trusting the AI-based systems by the legal professionals would be a substantial challenge as well. However, involvement of the legal professionals in feeding the various case data would certainly enhance the adaptability of the AI-system overall. The field of law is tradition-bound and notoriously slow to adopt new technologies and tools. But adapting to the AI-based systems would eventually derive from the client-environment pressures and the driving force of inter-firm competition.
OUR STRATEGY AND PERSPECTIVE
- The law is in many ways conducive to the application of AI and machine learning overall. As AI and its applied fields continue to develop, it will boost the way cases are being handled, especially in countries with large number of cases like India and other African and rest of the developing nations. The larger companies and firms would most probably drive the adoption of AI in the legal sector while the smaller firms and startups would depend on the larger ones to lead the path and eventually would follow them subsequently.
- Altogether the firms along with the legal professional involved would experience an overall potential increase in their turnover and the profit-part as well with this adoption. This can be implied from the scenario that AI will lead to increased disposal of cases and eventually increased number of incoming plaints as well.
- Such systems can be applied even in the Judicial processes as well along with the Governmental Agencies. Increased efficiency, trust, cost-effectiveness and speed of disposal of cases will help in providing justice to the common-man, thereby re-firming the roots of Democracy and governance.
- Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the legal industry :- https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/articles/ai-and-its-impact-on-legal-technology
- “emerj”- AI in law and legal practice :- https://emerj.com/ai-sector-overviews/ai-in-law-legal-practice-current-applications/
- Law.com – The third wave of legal technology transformation :- https://www.law.com/legaltechnews/2021/01/11/the-third-wave-of-legal-technology-transformation-changing-what-lawyers-do-with-structured-data/
- Forbes- AI will transform the field of law :- https://www.forbes.com/sites/robtoews/2019/12/19/ai-will-transform-the-field-of-law/?sh=a10afcd7f01e
- Law.com- AI is transforming the Legal Industry :- https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2020/01/31/artificial-intelligence-is-transforming-the-legal-industry/