AI is transforming how we live and work. It is performing more and more tasks that were traditionally done by humans and is doing so in a faster and more cost-effective manner. Recently, it has started to cut jobs not only for unskilled workers, but also for those requiring more analytical reasoning, discussion, and interpretation.
The question is: can artificial intelligence help the overburdened public defenders, courts and justice workers perform better? Seemingly yes.
Currently, the legal system heavily relies on paralegals and researchers to obtain, analyze and label information for law firms, which is often expensive and leads to increased rates for clients. However, artificial intelligence is increasingly used by law firms to perform due diligence, research and document processing. In fact, it is predicted to eliminate the positions of paralegal and legal researchers within the next decade.
The AI can be used to conduct this research much faster, avoiding unwanted expenses and accelerating the judicial process. It can also be a preferred way of interviewing clients as people tend to be more honest with machines incapable of being judgmental. By adopting the AI that performs tasks faster, the lawyers might not be able to bill as many hours, but it will certainly increase the firm efficiency which will eventually improve its reputation and drive more clients toward it.
The AI could also be useful in court rooms for tasks such as jury selection, as it will effectively gather data about potential jurors, their accident history, whether they have served before, the verdicts of previous trial and jurors political affiliations. Some predict it will also have the ability to analyze jurors’ facial reactions and body language to determine positive or negative bias.
Artificial Intelligence can transform and benefit the legal profession if we approach its implementation carefully. It is important to understand that they have unconscious biases. The AI is only as good as the people who teach it and the data used in the teaching process.
It is unlikely that AI will replace the need for critical thinking in the near future. We will still need educated, skilled lawyers to perform the complex thought process of the legal profession. However, if the AI eliminates starting positions of paralegals and research assistants, it is interesting to see how the beginners will manage to still obtain the practical training that is so vital for climbing the legal career staircase.