AI Will Transform the Field of Law
The law is involved in every aspect of running a business. Everything that companies engage in – sales, partnerships, rebranding, purchases – is carried out through legally enforceable contracts.
Without well-developed structures, there would be no capacity for innovation. Even without realising it, everything we do daily is suspended on a backdrop of legal procedures and the inherent possibility of litigation.
The legal service market remains one of the largest globally, nearing the $1 trillion mark. Yet it remains utterly under-digitised and slow in adopting new technologies. New changes are underway, though, as Artificial Intelligence is set to transform the legal fraternity in numerous ways.
In so many ways, the law appears ready for AI and Machine Learning applications. Machine learning and law are co-related in the sense that they both consider historical examples for them to infer rules that can be applied to new situations.
In the legal field, a number of areas already stand out as promising for AI, and great progress is being made in each.
Contracts are essential components of modern business, and transactions cannot be completed without them. Still, the entire process of negotiating and finalizing these contracts remain tedious.
Lawyers from both sides must take time to review and edit documents in endless iterations manually. These processes can take a lot of time to complete, delaying deals, delaying business objectives in the end. Human errors leading to costly mistakes are common, which is expected as lawyers are expected to peruse hundreds of pages.
It is a massive opportunity to get this process automated. Several startups have been working on achieving the vision, developing AI systems that will be able to automatically ingest contract proposals, analyze them using natural language processing (NLP) technology, before determining the acceptable and non-acceptable parts of each contract.
It all begins with negotiating and signing a contract. The biggest challenge, however, is staying on top of the terms and obligations agreed upon. It is a challenge that cuts across organisations of all scales, where large companies will have heaps of outstanding contracts with hundreds of partners across multiple internal divisions.
As it stands, companies, in most cases, operate in the dark as to what their contractual details entail. Artificial Intelligence offers a handy opportunity to get this problem solved once and for all. Solutions powered by NLP will extract and contextualise critical details of each contract involving a company, which in turn will make it straightforward for stakeholders in organisations to understand their business commitments.
These solutions are set to unlock numerous business opportunities. Various organisation departments will gain total control of their portfolios. For example, sales teams will be able to track times for contract renewals; thus, they can capitalise on upsell opportunities. Similarly, procurement teams will stay ahead on all the details of existing contracts, allowing them to renegotiate when necessary.
There are more areas where AI will impact on legal processes. A good example is the prediction of litigation. Already, AI teams are developing machine learning models that allow them to predict outcomes of pending court cases using particular fact patterns.
AI is also making progress in legal research. A historically manual process is going fully digital, and lawyers can do their research using dedicated computer programs like Westlaw and LexisNexis.