A highly controversial vision is that lawyers can be replaced by artificial intelligence in the future. Starting point is often a project of some students of the University of Toronto. They developed a computer program called ROSS, an “artificial intelligence lawyer” based on IBM’s infamous Watson software and already better than any human player in the Jeopardy quiz game.
ROSS is able to understand issues in standard languages and provide answers to Canadian labor laws. The project continues as ROSS Intelligence Inc. and “learns” the ability to answer questions about US bankruptcy law.
In addition, there are other startups, such as Neota Logic, who want to provide legal answers about the approach and mindset of a human lawyer as a system-integrated process.
A similar approach is taken by the German company lexalgo.com, which provides for legal measures to partially automate personnel-intensive processes. Lexalgo promises savings of 50% of personnel costs in legal activities.
ROSS was definitely in the public eye and was able to draw attention to the return in the legal field. In the largest annual survey of US law firms, Altman Weil Survey 2015, nearly 50% were convinced that a Watson legislator would replace the “paralegals” (legally trained legal assistants) in 5-10 years. In fact, 35% also assumed that “first year members” would be replaced – as in Germany.
In detail, ROSS works like a search engine: The results are appropriate quotes as well as related, further literature, case law and secondary sources. The search technology was and is also developed by LexisNexis. Against this background, ROSS is less a “substitute lawyer” for enriching information in support of advocacy and is therefore in the same act as the current era of legal data. In fact, there is a revolution in legal advice.
As unlikely as a human-robot lawyer, systems that solve standardized legal issues can be so realistic.
Intelligent Legal Research
The most important tool for lawyers that have been digitized early is the legal sources themselves. Legal database research is well established and has been the most important workload so far. While the mass of content, journals and commentaries in the past has been a paradigm shift. In order to keep up with the growing mass of legal content, it is less about the number of search hits and more about the quality of the “matching” search hits. The old goal of finding only keywords with search terms is increasingly moving. The latest generation of research databases is fundamentally different from previous solutions and promises a new dimension of targeted legal work. The constant search for new search algorithms significantly improves search hits and the latest search technologies. Recognizing the problem and deriving the most appropriate document. In legal research, time savings of up to 80% are conceivable in the future.
Another future field is the automation of document analysis.
At JPMorganChase, the major US bank, COIN (Contract Intelligence) software analyzes commercial debt contracts. This task costs 360,000 hours of lawyer and staff work per year. The software checks documents within seconds and is less error prone than human labor.
Another example is the ACE software from RAVN Systems, which automatically reads a document and summarizes the information content. One of the first customers was Berwin Leighton Paisner, in which the program is used in the real estate sector.
Axoim Law assists companies in insourcing legal services. The figure is the “IRIS technology”, an online platform on which the parties can participate in the drafting and negotiation of contracts. Clauses can be converted into structured data and analyzed in the German sector, while companies such as Juro and Synergist offer a similar service.
There are offers that explicitly focus on document analysis to reduce the workload of a large amount of data and documents. Leverton.de offers automatic analysis of large documents in 20 languages. For example, for the new IFRS 16 / US GAAP standard, ASC 842 numbers may be withdrawn from a document that is structured as a business collection and imported into the accounting system. The software for the organization and structuring of documents and companies is now also offered specifically for lawyers.
Automated Legal Counsel
Automated legal assistance and similar services for consumers usually include IT-based enforcement of consumer rights. Above all, the German market has already produced many successful examples. Passengers whose flights are delayed can in future receive their compensation at Flightright Now (flightright.at) within minutes. The system estimates the likelihood of a successful lawsuit against the airline. It evaluates data from over 35,000 legal cases. ChatBots are among the latest developments: A ChatBot is a software that automatically answers questions to a user via a text-based dialog or gives instructions on a topic. Under the guidance of the Donotpay ChatBots for the United Kingdom and New York City, more than 160,000 traffic tickets have so far been successfully beaten. LawBot advises crime victims on their rights and opportunities, and Visabot is said to have helped more than 50,000 users obtain US residence permits. There are also offers for companies: The LISA Bot generates a confidentiality agreement and guides both parties through the various clauses, or points out where there are differences of opinion. LawDroid assists in starting businesses in California.