Artificial intelligence has emerged as a buzzword across industries this year, with a particular focus on its potential to transform many white-collar professions. For example, one study estimates that AI could impact at least 10 percent of the work for about 80 percent of the U.S. workforce.
For many GCs, the challenge lies in balancing the potential benefits of AI and legal analytics with present-day concerns of the technology. In this article, we explore this crossroads and provide a roadmap for corporate legal departments to begin preparing to implement AI with their systems.
- Artificial intelligence offers the next stage of evolution for legal analytics, integrating human-like reasoning and observation skills into data collection and organization methods.
- AI offers a variety of benefits in legal analytics with use cases that improve the efficiency and productivity of operations.
- The concerning risks of AI in the legal industry are the infancy of the tech and a lack of respect for its current limitations.
- GCs can still begin using AI in their legal analytics work through a measured approach that includes safeguards to protect against and mitigate possible risks.
The Potential for AI to Improve Legal Analytics
Corporate legal departments are starting to prioritize and harness the power of data in their legal analytics work thanks to improvements in software and contract lifecycle management (CLM) tools. Like other business units in your organization, data collection and modeling allows you to make more informed decisions for various processes. For example, settling litigation or selecting outside counsel on a matter.
Artificial intelligence promises to be the next step in this evolution, infusing your data with insights from machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) systems.
Traditionally, your legal department relies on trained professionals to process various data points and make strategic choices about cases and other legal matters. AI introduces another layer to your workflows with its ability to imitate human skills like observation and reasoning. The long-term benefits of incorporating AI into your operations could include:
- Identifying blind spots in legal analysis.
- Researching, drafting, and reviewing documents faster and with greater accuracy.
- Delegating administrative functions.
- Consistently repeating legal workflows, removing potential human errors from the process.
- Freeing up more time for business strategy discussions with your c-suite and business unit leaders.
Use Cases for AI in the Legal Profession Today
Here are some examples of use cases for AI in legal analytics in most corporate legal departments:
- Reviewing contracts and legal documents for terms that vary from approved language.
- Improving customer service by preparing summaries and explanations of difficult legal concepts for informal communications with colleagues in other business units.
- Generating checklists and questionnaires for legal intake forms on new matters.
- Finding authorities and citations on legal issues.
- Improving the functionality of document review searches in eDiscovery through results that provide a greater understanding of the scope of your case.
- Identifying abnormalities or issues in billings from outside counsel and other vendors for improved legal spend analysis.
Risks for General Counsels Using Artificial Intelligence Today
The greatest risks for GCs and chief legal officers in integrating AI into their legal analytics are twofold: (1) unfamiliarity with how these new systems operate, and (2) setting realistic expectations for their capabilities. In other words, you need to apply a healthy dose of skepticism when interacting with AI and use a concept widely regarded in legal practice—trust but verify.
Remember, the surge in generative AI products for mass adoption, like ChatGPT, is recent and the talent pool of people who understand how they work remains small. Additionally, improvements are still necessary in complex areas such as law or medicine.
You might recall the recent story involving a U.S. attorney who filed a brief written by ChatGPT, which referenced several non-existent cases and citations. This attorney now faces possible sanctions and further disciplinary action from the bar. This risk of AI fabricating information, known as hallucination, highlights a growing concern with using large language models in specialized areas.
How GCs Can Mitigate the Risk of AI in Their Legal Operations
Despite the limitations of some AI models, they still have a purpose in your legal analytics—a role that will only expand as the technology matures. GCs seeking to incorporate this technology into their operations, with risk prevention in mind, could consider the following strategies:
- Start small with adoption and use AI in limited, controlled capacities (e.g., initial contract review).
- Work with your IT team and software engineers to ensure other systems are capable of integration with AI models.
- Install procedures for verifying the accuracy of AI outputs through mandatory review by junior and senior attorneys.
- Work with third-party administrators that have the requisite experience and skills to help with your management and use of AI.
- Prioritize using AI for your legal department’s projects that are voluminous and time-consuming but carry lower stakes compared to other responsibilities.
Consult with Exigent’s Legal Design Experts and Architects on AI in Your Department
Exigent is an ALSP that prides itself on the use of data and technology to improve the operations of its clients, including corporate legal departments. We view artificial intelligence and legal analytics as the next step in the evolution toward a more efficient and productive legal system. Meet with our legal design experts for greater insights and consultation on how to incorporate AI into your team’s most pressing matters, such as legal spend, eDiscovery, CLM, and other areas.