April 13, 2023 | Danny McMullen and Luke Giffen
Artificial Intelligence to Replace Lawyers?
With the exponential growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), are lawyers doomed to become extinct?
Change is coming, whether we like it or not. While the legal profession (and many others like it) has traditionally been slow to adapt to new technologies, AI seems to be making a strong push to shake things up. Through the explosion of ChatGPT and other AI chatbots like it, many have rightfully begun to question what the potential use-cases for AI in our industry might be. AI has the potential to revolutionize the way lawyers work, allowing them to automate routine tasks and streamline their workflow. Efficiency is something lawyers strive for, as it generally equates to providing better value for your clients while making your job easier. But will the advancement of AI start to do the lawyer’s job altogether? In this blog post, we will explore the future of AI in the legal field and where we predict it might end up down the road.
The Real Estate Lawyer
The real estate industry involves a significant amount of paperwork, from contracts to title searches and everything in between. These types of tasks can be cumbersome just by their sheer nature. In this right, AI can assist lawyers by automating these tasks and thus reducing the amount of time and resources required for each transaction. For example, AI can review and analyze lease agreements, identify key terms and clauses, and extract relevant data for further analysis. This can save the lawyer a significant amount of time while also saving their client a great deal of money. By utilizing the automation capabilities that are possible with AI to increase their efficiency, this could allow lawyers to focus on more complex legal issues in the transaction. It’s not farfetched to see the real uses of AI in the real estate space, but it’s unlikely AI could replace the personal aspect of negotiations and connections.
The Business and Corporate Lawyer
The business law sector is another area where AI has significant potential. AI can assist lawyers in analyzing large amounts of data, such as financial statements and contracts, and identifying key trends and patterns. This can help lawyers to identify potential risks and opportunities for their clients, as well as providing valuable insights for strategic decision-making. Additionally, AI can assist lawyers in drafting legal documents, such as contracts and agreements, by identifying relevant clauses and suggesting revisions based on legal precedents. This sector is similar to real estate where the areas that are heavily document-focused could be revolutionized by AI while the personal aspects are unlikely to see any meaningful change.
The Estates Lawyer
The field of wills & estates involves complex legal issues related to inheritance, taxes, and estate planning. Again, we should expect AI to be used to automate tasks surrounding document review. For example, AI can review wills and identify potential areas of ambiguity or conflict, helping lawyers to avoid disputes and ensure that their clients’ wishes are carried out. Additionally, AI can assist lawyers in identifying potential tax liabilities and developing strategies to minimize these liabilities. As wills and estates law is an area entrenched in the interpersonal dynamic of the lawyer and the soon-to-be testator, it’s unlikely this field will be completely taken over by AI.
Challenges, Considerations, and Next Steps
While AI has significant potential in the legal field, there are also challenges and considerations that must be addressed. Safeguards will need to be taken in order to guarantee that the use of AI in your legal practice meets all ethical and regulatory guidelines. On that note, I’d expect to see a statement with guidance from the Law Society of Ontario (and all other legal regulatory bodies) on the topic of AI. As the integrity of the profession is of the utmost importance to lawyers, ensuring that AI systems are transparent, accountable, and comply with relevant laws and regulations is a necessary next step. Overall, the future of AI in the legal field is promising, and it has the potential to transform the way lawyers work. By automating routine tasks and providing valuable insights, AI can help lawyers to work more efficiently and effectively, while also providing better outcomes for their clients. However, it is important to address the challenges and considerations associated with AI to ensure that it is used ethically and responsibly in the legal profession. Will AI disrupt and change the legal field as we know it? Definitely. Will it replace lawyers entirely? Probably not.