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Prashant Chauhan

The author is Advocate (India) and Solicitor (England & Wales)

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Artificial Intelligence Versus Lawyers’ Intelligence

The efforts made so far may be appreciated but taking over lawyering is like having an AI system in place without human interference. It means development of an AI system that can think and make strategies as lawyers do. Lawyering is not limited to interpretation of law but to deal with so many other factors to protect clients’ interests.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not new to Banking, Finance, Taxation, Healthcare, Logistics, E-Commerce, Automobile, Petroleum, Space Exploration, varied engineering fields and many more. In fact, it has given new dimensions to those fields by providing easy solutions to the complex problems which are humanly difficult to resolve in due course. In an international legal event held in August 2019 in the Hague, Netherlands, the participating lawyers from all over the world were keen to discuss the use of AI in legal sector, its merits, demerits etc. That small networking session of the event forced me to think on this issue seriously. I discussed the issue with some lawyers back home and realized the severe need of AI awareness amongst lawyers. I also felt that the general public/litigants being end users are required to be educated about the role of AI in the legal sector so that they are in a best position to evaluate the performance and result orientation of any AI tool before buying. So, I examined whether AI shall be able to compete with practicing lawyers’ Intelligence? 

Artificial Intelligence can be defined as ‘Automation of intelligent activity performed by Human’. Normal computer program works on the basis of a set of instructions provided to it through a programming language or simply called an Interface. The rules and instructions in this type of program are logical type (‘if’ and ‘then’ command) or result oriented (‘yes’ or ‘no’). Whereas, the program prepared in Artificial Intelligence is a special program which is designed in such a way that computer is able to learn itself, take decisions on the basis of self-learning and provide desired outcomes. For learning, the computer reads the pattern of input given by human and then use the similar inputs for deciding future commands by itself. The program may be called Self Learning Program for computer and the process of decision making which involve use of some sort of intelligence by the computer is referred to as Artificial Intelligence. 

AI Development in Legal Sector - For decades, efforts are being made to formulate an effective AI application which may cater the need of its users in the legal sector. In 1987International Conference of Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL) was held in Boston University, US for the first time. International Association of Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL) was setup in the year 1991to evaluate the progress of AI in legal sector across the World. Some of the achievements of AI application in the legal sector across the World are ‘the Ross’ which is working as first Bankruptcy AI lawyer since June 2016 in the USA, ‘DoNotPay’, is working as the first AI lawyer in the UK, ‘Lawgeex’ is working as the first AI system to review business contracts since February 2018 in Israel and "Xiao Li" is working as the first AI lawyer in China. 

Users of AI in Legal Sector –Legal sector has three broad categories: (1) Legal Enforcement or Litigation – This involves Judges, Court Staff, Police, Lawyers and Litigants, (2) Legal Compliance – This involves Government Officials, Police, Lawyers, Individual and Corporates who are subject to such compliance and (3) Legal Support – This involves lawyers who provide support services like drafting Contracts, Agreements, JV etc. and end users which involve Individuals, Corporates etc.

Therefore, users of AI are (1) Judges, Government Executives and Police, (2) Lawyers, and (3) End users – Litigants, People, Corporates, and other Legal entities. AI may have different impact on different categories of users. AI has, so far, been successful in providing impressive solutions to users other than lawyers in legal sector. For example, Police normally analyses criminal’s past crime record to ascertain the possibility of commission of next crime, location of crime, victim’s profile etc. This work can be done by AI with more accuracy and in no time. Similarly, Judges also take the past record of a criminal into consideration while taking decision on bail application. Here also AI could be beneficial to Judge in finding out the pattern and probability of commission of a crime if bail is granted. End users may also use number of AI application available in the market particularly related to compliance regulations and taxation. For example, in New York City parking violators can use online dispute resolution system. But whether AI is fruitful to lawyering is still a big question. 

AI and Lawyering - Jomati, a London based firm, published a report in 2014 titled as ‘Civilization 2030: the law firm in the near future’ in which it claimed that AI may dominate legal practice in near future which shall result in structural collapse of many law firms. Undoubtedly AI has come a long way and acquired a good reputation in legal sector, but the question remains ‘Whether AI shall be able to compete with the Lawyers’ Intelligence’. There are some AI applications in which human assistance has been incorporated with a view to resolve complex situation that a computer program may encountered for which it has not been programmed and lack of self-training may lead to wrong decisions. 

Till today, only a part of lawyering has been successfully automated which are largely repetitive in nature, for example document management and review, which may replace para legal staff only. ‘Kira Systems’ for due diligence, ‘Leverton’, ‘eBrevia’, & ‘COIN by JP Morgan’ for extracting specific information out of thousands of documents and ‘Thought River’ for flagging contracts are a few applications which already being used at paralegal level by a number of legal firms. Some of the support applications that lawyers have started using are ‘CARA’ which can predict the possible valid arguments to be addressed by opposite counsel and another one is ‘Judicata software’ which can evaluate the pros & cons of each case on the basis of drafting & arguments prepared by a lawyer. 

The Conclusion – The efforts made so far may be appreciated but taking over lawyering is like having an AI system in place without human interference. It means development of an AI system that can think and make strategies as lawyers do. Lawyering is not limited to interpretation of law but to deal with so many other factors to protect clients’ interests.

Being an officer of the court, it is a duty of a lawyer to assist Judge understand his case and that too in the circumstances when the opposite counsel is trying to prove his case. Every Judge has a different approach to examine and to understand the issue with the help of lawyers of both sides, so lawyers have to meet the intellect of Judge. Likewise, every lawyer has a different arguing skills and strategies which he keeps changing as per need of time. Whenever there is a conflict of approach with Judge, a good lawyer tries to tackle the situation with his intelligence. Even taking adjournments is also considered a good strategy some times. Moreover, an intelligent lawyer reads the mind of Judge and changes his arguing strategies there and then. There are number of other factors also which matters a lot in lawyering these may include common sense, goodwill of lawyer in the court, application & use of logics, abstract thinking, client counseling and use of emotion, etc which, till today, AI has not been able to learn. Though incorporation of these factors in legal AI shall be a breakthrough, till then replacement of lawyers by AI and having a robot representing clients and arguing cases before the court of law seems to be a uphill task for AI to achieve. 


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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