Could AI help law firms make business decisions?

Law firms could begin to rely more heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) for decisions on the best strategic course to take in the future, according to a Law Society study.

According to the report AI and the legal profession,  the role of head of IT could become more important within firms. Alternatively, it could go the other way with the role diminishing in significance as technology-based decisions begin to sit within the remit of senior staff and partners.

Whilst technology is becoming increasingly helpful in our daily lives and offering more opportunities, there are ethical questions to consider when discussing the option of AI in law firms.  Firm partners will have to determine whether their staff are prepared to let machines override the decisions of humans.

As expected, it is predicted that law firms would need to adapt to accommodate the impact of AI. This would impact everything from the layout of the workforce to costs and fees.

In the future, AI could be used to assist with decision-making. The report mentions that firms could “use machine intelligence to enhance systemic thinking and to help build a complex picture of the ways in which seemingly distinct entities (eg economic, ecological, political systems) can interact to produce positive or negative implications for the business over the longer term”.

There are changes already underway in some areas of the industry. The most notable of these being contract intelligence, clinical negligence analysis, and the prediction of the outcome of a case.

With AI becoming a larger part of the legal system, firms and in-house legal departments will face new challenges but also have new opportunities to explore. Whilst initial introduction could be challenging, particularly with ethical questions, in the long term artificial intelligence could make the legal sector more efficient.

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