Monday, July 22, 2019
Melanie Reid (Lincoln Memorial), A Call to Arms: Why and How Lawyers and Law Schools Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence, 50 U. Tol. L. Rev. 477 (2019):
This essay intends to provide a brief overview as to the advanced technology currently available to practitioners. Part I will evaluate the impact emerging Al technology has on the practice of law, in particular in the areas of legal research, "search and find" services, form automation and creation, and predictive analytics. Part II will discuss the impact emerging Al technology has had on legal education and what some law schools are doing to prepare students to be competitive and succeed in this rapidly evolving legal environment. Lastly, in Part III, I argue that legal education must attempt to bridge the law-tech divide and become ground zero for innovation and change. While I attempt to offer some advice to legal educators on how to incorporate technology in the classroom, it is clear further discussions are needed, and legal educators need to come together, evaluate current law school curriculum, and brainstorm as to how to improve upon current pedagogical practices.
Conclusion. There are several statistics floating around as to how much of a lawyer's current tasks will be automated in the near future. "Deloitte claims 39% of legal jobs can be automated; McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 23% of a lawyer's job could be automated. Some estimates suggest that adopting all legal technology (including AI) already available now would reduce lawyers' hours by 13%."
As discussed in this essay, there are a great number of Al programs currently in existence that can truly aid a lawyer in the practice of law. Some of these programs are free while others come at significant cost.69 Some of these programs are making it easier to provide legal services to those who might have been unable to afford an attorney.70 What is clear is that a lawyer's daily tasks are rapidly changing as new Al programs are developed. Just like LexisNexis and Westlaw were revolutionary in that they dramatically changed the way lawyers conducted legal research in the 1980s, these new AI technologies are reducing the amount of repetitive work currently being done and providing lawyers with an easy way to sort through data and create forms, contracts, patents, and pleadings. As laid out in the latest 2018 report on the state of the legal market, law firms must proactively make "better use of innovative technologies" as clients are demanding "greater efficiency, predictability, and cost effectiveness in the delivery of legal services."n Lawyers and law schools must embrace change and welcome IT and Al tools that have the potential to aid them in becoming more consistent, objective, and precise in their practice.