Skip to main content

How will AI affect the law office of the future?

Monday, April 1, 2019

One of the latest additions to AI Innovation of Sweden's team is Josefine Rembsgård, who recently recieved her law degree from University of Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law. In her graduation thesis "AI –The Lawyer's Tool or Replacement?" she analysed and attempted to predict how AI will affect the legal field.

Artificial Intelligence is leaving its mark in many areas and one of the areas expected to be affected the most is law. Analysis and automatic generation of standardised contracts and other legal document with the assistance of AI tools is already a new field that is beginning to gain footing and is expected to develop rapidly. Of course, this is something that will affect the role of the legal profession and the organisation of the law office in the future.

An example of this is part of a study conducted by the legal AI platform Lawgeex in collaboration with Stanford, Duke and UCLA in which an artificial intelligence and a group of lawyers evaluated five different contracts. In these cases, Lawgeex answered correctly in 95 per cent of cases, a significant difference from the human participants with an average below 85 per cent. The AI also completed the task in 26 minutes, whereas the human lawyers took an average of 92 minutes.

This result clearly shows that some services can be replaced, but how long can the technology be expected to succeed in this field where human contact, trust and negotiation are important elements?

Your thesis examines how the law offices and legal field must adapt to the new technology. Why is it important for law offices to keep in step with the new technical development?
"AI has a great potential to improve conditions for how we provide legal services in terms of improving efficiency of certain types of legal tasks, increasing certainty in certain results and reducing costs for clients. Law offices must participate in this development, partly because this work is extremely important, but also to be able to continue to meet the demands for generally accepted legal practice in the future. Getting on board early and developing and using AI tools can also be a major competitive advantage."

Which legal tasks can and should be automated? And what types of services can be changed first?
"It will mainly involve routine tasks that can be automated. We can already see how AI is affecting legal work by creating legal documents and making legal tools available online. AI can also study large amounts of data, which is advantageous for Due Diligence or before a legal action."

"However, some elements of legal work are more difficult to automate and it is important that the parts which are automated entail an improvement and do no merely improve efficiency. The lawyer´s tasks are complex, involving very human interaction and the capacity to quickly understand and adjust to sudden and unforeseeable changes. The attorney´s role is also to find alternatives to going to court, including mediation, negotiation and settlement between parties. The role is based on trust and confidence and the client´s wishes and requirements and the attorney must take a pedagogic approach to advising the client. This requires intuition and empathetic intelligence, which means that most of the attorney´s work today cannot be replaced by AI and a person is needed to ensure that consultation is provided in a legally certain manner."

How important is the law in the development of new services and what problem areas must be addressed?
"The law will play a central role in the continued development of artificial intelligence and the development of new services, not lastly in consideration of establishing good conditions for development and assure protection based on various aspects."

"I also think it is important to have accommodative legislation that is adapted to the new technological society so that the law does not become an obstacle to continued development and to avoid applying old solutions to new problems."

Read the thesis here