Will do robots replace lawyers?

Suddenly the machine spoke

The alarmists from the law believe that the legal profession has become a new victim of Silicon valley, the foundations of the industry destroyed, and the law firm of the future filled with robots. Economists and even the developers console them by saying that the achievement of artificial intelligence will be introduced to the work of law firms so slow that’s still three hundred times changed.

And let staff cuts are inevitable, as always, when talking about artificial intelligence, but tasks such as advising clients, drafting legal memoranda, negotiating and presentation in the court, so far to automate. The key word is yet, and it is impossible to relax.

For many years economists have studied the productivity and said that the only work in the factory can be reduced to a set of rules and automate, and such professionals as lawyers, can feel safe — their work is related to language. But then there was big data, and beyond that, natural language processing, a breakthrough in the General direction of artificial intelligence and mathematical linguistics. It is clear what this can mean for lawyers?

The first robot, a lawyer hired

A sensational example is ROSS Intelligence, one of the most successful startups in the U.S. legal tech. The program uses the principles of operation of a supercomputer IBM Watson, equipped with a question-answering system of artificial intelligence (the same IBM Watson, which can diagnose a rare form of the disease for a few minutes). ROSS understands the questions formulated in plain English, and answers in the database. More than 10 major law firms have already “hired” ROSS to facilitate the routine part of the work of law clerks — the search of suitable precedents and jurisprudence.

Another example: a chat bot called DoNotPay, which two years ago released a 19-year-old student at Stanford University. The app helps the citizens to appeal the fine for illegal Parking without the assistance of lawyers whose services can cost more than the fine. Considering that currently about 80% of Americans who are in need of a lawyer, can’t afford such technologies really help to realize the right of everyone to legal assistance.

Like ROSS, DoNotPay relies on an algorithm which tries to decode everyday language. Services over time, become more complex, larger data sets become material for machine learning: the computer reads the many texts, complements the already existing rules own observations and begins to learn the language. The more words he sees the software, the less mistakes and becoming more useful. So, ROSS plans to not only search for and analyze information, but also once to write elegant legal opinion.

Robots will replace lawyers only 5 out of 100?

However, not to panic. It is only in the development plans and today, according to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, the introduction of all new legal technology can automate up to 23% of a lawyer’s work, and only 5% of jobs can be automated completely. What is the result? Highly paid lawyers will only work with challenge on the top steps of the career ladder, and other legal services will perform non-lawyers — either technology or legal equivalent nurses. In this scenario, there is nothing sensational corporate clients have not want to pay the high hourly rate law firms for Junior lawyers who perform routine work, such tasks are already automated or outsourced.

Artificial intelligence will enhance the smart lawyers

Should we appease it? If the meteorite will arrive tomorrow, you can relax and jump into the boat. And the risks that lie in the long term, require serious attention, and top lawyers of the world understand this. Thus, the international law firm Dentons in 2015, has created an innovative platform for attracting investment in legal technology NextLaw Labs. The division is already invested in ten legal tech startups… the portfolio NextLaw Labs such successful startups as ROSS Intelligence and Beagle.

Since 2012, more than 280 startups in the field of legal technology collected 757 million dollars. It is likely that the lawyers of the future is the centaurs, and not in the sense that it becomes mythical. A kind of chess “advanced chess”, also known as “centaur chess”, is permitted to use during the game, books, programs, including AI. Such a Union lawyer and artificial intelligence is the most probable scenario of development in which legal services will become more accessible, better and faster. The client wins, and this is important.

Instead of an epilogue: got divorced while drinking coffee

On this positive note, it is possible to finish, but there is one trend that is really alarming. In addition to the friendly marketplace that help in finding a lawyer the easy standardization of documents, fast research’a, adequate intelligence, and other areas in legal tech, there was the idea to automate the execution of contracts services who will solve civil disputes outside the courtroom.

Imagine a fully automated legal system, based on the contract with IoT systems. A company called Clause creates for industrial companies “smart contracts” that use sensors to monitor certain conditions. What prevents to adapt the technology to the mass market? The contract amount will automatically deduct utility payments from your Bank account, draw up the divorce papers when the iPhone will find evidence of your infidelity, and will fulfill the last wish as soon as your fitness bracelet detects cardiac arrest. Quite likely scenario.