Counterparty Contract Optimisation

Embracing AI in legal teams: A revolution, not a threat

Samhar Mahmoud
Head of Data Science

30 May 2024


For over a decade in the legal world, the narrative surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies has been one of cautious intrigue and, at other times, fear.

To some legal professionals, these innovations are the “big bad wolves” lurking in the shadows, with sharp teeth and an appetite for their jobs. And it’s easy to understand why. Lawyers have been singled out as an “endangered occupational species”, with many of their day-to-day tasks now ripe for automation.

Yet, a deeper examination reveals a more promising tale: technology is an enabler rather than a threat, offering legal professionals the chance to break free from time-consuming tasks and instead prioritise higher-value, more strategic work.

 

Big bad wolf or magic wand?

Despite concerns about AI’s reliability and adherence to confidentiality and ethical standards, its potential to revolutionise legal operations is immense. AI’s role in automating routine tasks — from legal research to predicting lawsuit outcomes — is already reshaping how lawyers work. For instance, predictive coding in e-discovery uses data sampling to efficiently identify relevant documents, substantially reducing time and labour costs.

Legal professionals spend countless hours drafting contracts, combing through documents to identify relevant clauses, terms and data, and manually inputting data into systems. These are tedious, time-consuming processes that leave little room for strategic thinking. This is compounded by the fact they are dealing with high volumes of contractual agreements that contain unstructured data, numerous schedules, annexes and amendments – for multiple clients, all within short timescales.

This is exactly where AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) step into the role of time and labour liberators. RPA can quickly and effectively automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, extraction, and document processing. Likezero leverages AI to enhance the accuracy of segmenting text and tables within legal documents, facilitating quicker and more precise analyses for legal professionals.

Large Language Models (LLMs) use statistical models to analyse vast amounts of data, learning patterns and connections between words. They can be used to identify relevant clauses in legal contracts, pinpointing and extracting necessary information from vast datasets, with high reliability. This technology then facilitates data transformation, converting extracted information into structured formats that are tailored to the needs of the user. With our AI assistant chatbot, clients will also be able to answer natural language questions about clauses and terms in contracts, speeding manual processes up even further.

Looking to the future, generative AI could be leveraged to create smart platforms for the live negotiation of legal contracts. This would include automated clause suggestions that align with the needs of parties, dynamic risk assessment as changes are made, historical data utilisation to provide insights and benchmarks, and version control and tracking. While this technology is still in its infancy, it has the potential to make the contract negotiation process even more efficient, transparent and effective.

Utilising AI, workflows are streamlined, saving time and effort and reducing risks of human error. Rather than putting jobs at risk, AI is instead like a magic wand, liberating the legal profession from mundane, time-intensive tasks, freeing up capacity to focus on more strategic and stimulating work.

 

Climbing the Skills Ladder

Rather than replacing professionals, the overall impact on the legal sector will be an enhancement of skills. As AI automates repetitive tasks, the work of legal professionals will increasingly be to focus on developing industry expertise, exercising judgement in complex matters, and optimising existing and future trading terms. This will enable them to stay ahead of the game and their competitors.

Humans tend to fear what they do not know or understand. But technology has already transformed the practice of law. Lawyers used typewriters before computers, and fax machines before email. Legal research, once conducted through extensive law libraries, has moved online with databases, and document management systems have replaced physical file storage. Each advancement has been transformative for legal professionals, and AI is the next frontier. We must embrace it, or risk being left behind.

 

An empowerment tool

In a nutshell, there is no big bad wolf lurking in the shadows. And even if there was one, all it would be devouring from legal professionals is their routine, error-prone tasks.

Whilst it’s no secret that advances in technologies like AI and RPA are likely to change the day-to-day role of a lawyer, they are enablers, not threats, to the profession. They enable the more effective use of time, and allow lawyers to hone more productive and sector-specific skills.

The AI revolution is not about replacing human expertise, but augmenting it, empowering legal professionals to focus on complex problem-solving, informed decision-making and driving meaningful change.

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