AI AND THE FUTURE OF LEGAL PROFESSION

The legal profession is often considered as one of the oldest living profession in the world. Lawyers have had a remarkable presence in the history of many countries around the world till date. With a closer study of the profession which started to develop mainly during the period of colonisation when different countries began the establishment and expansion of courts and legislations enacted by their respective governing authorities to regulate the actions of the citizens of the society, it can be clearly observed that the profession has developed according to the growing needs of the society.

The subject of Artificial Intelligence is relatively a new concept among the world nations that has developed prior to the initiation of globalisation and liberations of various economies of the world. It can be observed that the subject of artificial intelligence can be linked to the legal profession. Previously, it was observed that law practitioners or members related to the legal fraternity were involved in the usage of several books in order to find the proper citation and formulate a proper research for their arguments, but with the increase in the usage of artificial intelligence the daily lives of legal practitioners have rapidly changed. There is an increase in the use of online databases such as SCC and Manupatra which have been assisting the members of the legal fraternity in researching upon the subject of debate. While at the same time, the courts in India have been highly relying on the online databases mainly due to the accuracy of the database among the members of the judiciary. Like minded individuals have often considered the heavy reliance on online databases by maximum members of the legal fraternity as an advantage as well as disadvantage. As advantage, it is believed that the use of the databases have contributed to the protection of the environment as the usage of paper has highly reduced in the past decade, at the same time, it is considered to be harmful in nature due to the fact that some of the online databases might have connectivity errors due to which they might be available at a particular point of time. Along with that, some of the databases which are primarily functional with the assistance of artificial intelligence might be costly and increase the capital cost for low income members of the fraternity.

A database on the effect of automation on over 800 professions created by McKinsey & Company found that 23 percent of the average attorney’s job could be replaced by robots .There are some radical alteration that might be introduced with the introduction of artificial intelligence or the heavy reliance of artificial intelligence by the members of the legal fraternity which includes the following.

Elimination of jobs:

Like every other sectors, with the introduction of artificial intelligence, there will reduction in the demand for human labour. Considering that there are several countries around the world with a higher population, elimination of jobs might affect the production and contribution towards the economy. Thereby, it might lead to dependence. The added advantage to this is that members of the legal fraternity will be freed from the mundane task of data gathering for the value-added task of analyzing results, thinking, and advising their clients.

Reduction in analysis

As we have observed that, the judgements of various cases are analyses according to the current situation at hand. With the the atomisation of case matters in the court of law, it might reduce the interpretation of cases, which would reduce the scope of analysis. Though there is an added advantage to the same, according to Lane Lilquist on the usage of artificial intelligence for the legal fraternity he stated that the review of contracts can be more accurate and it can enable the legal professionals to adopt a more data driver approach which would be able to increase efficiency.

Towards the end of the above discussion, we can further analyse that artificial intelligence has already been introduced and assimilated in the legal fraternity on its first wave. However, for just a fraction of the time and expense, AI could be used to conduct time-consuming research, reducing the burdens on courts and legal services and accelerating the judicial process which is highly required in the current situation where the courts have been overflowing with cases. The future of legal profession might not have lawyers consulting their clients face to face, while this idea seems dystopian currently to us, the merits and the demerits can only be analyses after the initiation of the era of artificial intelligence.