How can artificial intelligence help lawyers?

Artificial intelligence: how lawyers are being replaced by robots

A flesh-and-blood lawyer currently represents clients in disputes in court or in out-of-court matters. That could change in the future. Legal assistance for those who want it could come in the form of artificial intelligence in the future. In which areas this is most likely, which providers there are and what the Austrians think about the digitization of the legal industry.

In the future, legal advice could be obtained quickly and easily without ever having to go into a law firm. Artificial intelligence could replace lawyers. You put a legal question into a software program and it automatically spits out the answers. IBM has already developed such a computer program called Ross. The basis is the IBM Watson software, which has already been successfully tested in first attempts. Artificial intelligence can also be used to support the work of lawyers and to simplify their decision-making processes.

The digital lawyer: collect data, review content and find solutions

Some visionaries even believe that up to 80 percent of the work carried out by lawyers today could be better done by artificial intelligence in the next few years. Even if this view is classified as utopian, legal issues could occasionally already be analyzed by software programs, data from a wide variety of sources can be processed at enormous speed, the content weighed and proposed solutions and the appropriate arguments for specific questions. The result is well-founded legal basis for decision-making. Either for lawyers or directly for the client.

Realistic applications for "robot lawyers"

Rupert Wolff, President of the Austrian Bar Association, said he could well imagine having simple divorce cases or traffic accidents solved by a computer. The UK, for example, is planning an online court that does not require lawyers. According to LexisNixis in their whitepaper on the digitization of the legal industry, automated legal assistance for consumers is primarily suitable for enforcing consumer rights. "Systems that solve standardized legal problems are realistic," said Alberto Sanz de Lama, CEO of Lexis Nexis.



These companies already offer robo-advisory

In addition to Watson, there are already start-ups such as the US company Neota Logic that provide legal answers that were previously entered into a software program by lawyers. In Germany, Lexalgo.com is pursuing a similar approach. Legal decision-making processes should also be simplified and accelerated here with intelligent algorithms. The modules can be made available to lawyers or directly to their clients. Lexalgo provides the user interface for this.

In five to ten years, paralegals could be redundant

In a large survey of law firm partners in the US, the Altman Weil Survey 2015, almost 50 percent were convinced that a “Watson” who specializes in law will replace legally trained paralegals in five to ten years. After all, 35 percent will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Such an intelligent software program works, according to a whitepaper from the publishing house LexisNexis, which specializes in law and technology, about the digitization of the legal industry, like a search engine that filters out the relevant literature on the respective topic, jurisprudence and secondary sources. A software system like the one already developed by LexisNexis. Such systems are not a substitute lawyer, but they would strike in the same notch as the emerging revolution in legal databases.

Future-Law.at: own innovation platform in Austria

Things are moving in Austria too. In order to further develop artificial decision intelligence for lawyers, the independent platform Future-Law.at was launched. Technologies and innovations are to be developed there that will drive the legal industry forward.

Almost three quarters of Austrians would use digital legal preparation

In any case, the Austrians are open to such new ways of providing legal advice. According to a survey of 500 Austrians by LexisNexis and Online MarktforschungsgmbH, 68 percent of those questioned could imagine using automated legal advice. In this way, the advice is generated exclusively on the basis of your inputs from an intelligent software program. Men in particular have a positive attitude towards this innovation. 74 percent of the male survey participants questioned would support such advice.

How big is the gap between potential and vision?

The digital lawyer is unlikely to be ready for broad areas of application yet. According to a study by Professors Dana Remus and Frank Levy, only 13 percent of legal work should have a high chance of automation.