Artificial intelligence, commonly called AI, is transforming the legal profession in several ways; however, it is mostly used to improve lawyers’ work. Automating tedious, repetitive tasks enables lawyers to get more time for higher-value jobs such as reviewing already-organized documents, negotiating deals with clients, appearing in court sessions, etc.
Tools powered by AI and Automation help law firms manage time usage (to determine if the time is being used effectively) by assessing the work back-office employees and paralegals do. These technologies and tools also promote competitiveness as they increase accuracy and improve the overall performance of legal professionals.
Artificial Intelligence Vs. Automation – Major Differences & Utilization in Legal
Automation – a technology widely used for decades in different ways, for instance, to automate filing systems and expedite different administrative functions. It is an efficient technology that can be utilized cost-effectively. These are some of the reasons why it is appealing to most law firms where they use it to produce legal documents, organize emails, regulate client billing, and much more.
In a nutshell, it empowers software to perform repetitive, mundane tasks.
Artificial Intelligence – AI is designed to mimic what humans can do; learn from experiences, follow patterns, and respond properly. Like any human being, AI works by learning repetitive patterns of what the appropriate response is and what is not. Although it has the ability to learn quickly, it does that without considering the context.
Law firms are increasingly utilizing AI for document review, contract review, legal contract analysis, e-Discovery, etc.
The Importance of Paralegals for Adoption, Implementation, and Utilization of Legal Tech
Law firms (regardless of the size) understand the importance of maintaining a balance between relying on paralegal support and technology usage. This is because, in most law firms, paralegals are the ones who generally learn new legal technology and its use; attorneys, due to their busy schedule, don’t get enough time to become aware of new legal software.
Apart from handling daily legal back-office jobs, paralegals also play a crucial role in making important technology implementation decisions. Also, paralegals influence their firm’s software selection as they comprehend the ins and outs of different software and tech tools used in the legal sector.
How is AI and Automation Empowering Paralegals?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software can ease off paralegals’ workload, helping them automate multiple tedious tasks. The best thing about any RPA software is that it will never cross its programming boundaries. Such software can perform day-to-day law firm administrative functions, enabling paralegals to save more time that they can invest in more complex jobs.
For example, suppose your firm has a database of previous cases it handled or has other external case data sources. In that case, RPA can help you find past cases most relevant to the ones you are currently handling. Paralegals engaged in such a manual, time-consuming task can be redeployed to other essential value-adding legal functions, strengthening your law firm’s bottom line.
Enhanced Communication with Clients/Prospects
AI-driven bots might have replaced customer support representatives in some sectors, but this cannot be done in legal as interactions here require highly compassionate, personalized, and genuine communication. Clients or prospects usually share personal or many times stressful information, to which bots might not be able to respond appropriately.
However, bots can assist paralegals (much like RPA) and make their jobs easier. Law firms can use bots to respond to most common or basic questions coming from clients/prospects, analyze the interactions, and send important ones further to legal assistants for a real, personal response. Besides, bots can help law firms meet language challenges; AI-powered bots and communication tools can translate languages in real-time, adding to the number of representatives who can communicate in different languages.
Legal procedures are mostly monotonous; with AI, law firms can automate tedious tasks that necessarily don’t require a real human’s expertise, leading to productivity enhancement. With the help of automation, AI can improve the accuracy and efficiency of legal procedures that consume a lot of time and resources.
No-more Research Errors
Lawyers are great at conducting legal research; however, they are often prone to errors. Software with AI can eliminate the possibility of mistakes by bringing results more accurately and quickly.
Machine learning (ML) algorithms help lawyers find data that is most relevant to the case. These tools also identify and highlight law amendments introduced over the years and differentiate between laws implemented in different states.
Better Contract Review
One of the crucial works law firms do for clients is contract review in order to find terms that clients might disagree with due to their negative consequences.
With AI and ML, the document and contract review process can be managed better as these technologies can identify risks, recommend changes, and help lawyers assist clients in negotiating terms in a better way. The overall contract review jobs can be done faster, easier, and more effectively.
Enabling Paralegals Focus on Crucial Legal Jobs
Technology has a massive impact on how law firms operate these days. Legal tech is taking several responsibilities off the shoulders of paralegals, for which they used to spend most of their valuable time. Although the legal sector is increasingly adopting technologies, paralegals will remain an integral part of the industry.
While AI and other technologies are taking away tasks that paralegals have traditionally been doing, they are allowing these legal professionals more time to focus on more important higher-value jobs. For example, many law firms have paralegals in place to supervise the work done by others. According to one Kaplan study, 94 percent of paralegals said their law firms rely on both internal as well as external resources. Paralegals can work as an intermediatory between their firms and third-party paralegal services.
Important Tips for Paralegals
If you cannot beat technological advancements, use them to sort your work schedule. You can ride the technology wave by getting educated about the latest legal software tools. Learning about new, trending technologies will enhance your skills and expertise, helping you be more productive and bring optimal outcomes.
Take advantage of the same to help your associate attorney’s work-life easier. Regardless of the platforms, you use for legal research (which is one of your core jobs while delivering paralegal services), take as much help as you can take from technology for research and analytics. All of this will help you secure your job in the long run.
Technology is here to stay; law firms can utilize both their paralegals and technological tools to improve operations, serving clients with more value-added services that will ultimately help them improve their bottom line.
While talking about how technology affects law firms and their operations, the utilization of AI is one of the most popular topics. No doubt AI has the real potential to improve legal back-office functions while alleviating workplace stress or burnout.
AI is enhancing the legal profession in multiple ways by helping legal professionals gain valuable, accurate, and relevant information through research, optimizing time management, enhancing productivity, leading to improved profitability. By automating time-consuming and labor-intensive legal jobs, paralegals can take care of critical processes. At the same time, lawyers can deliver better legal counseling services, represent clients in the courtroom, and devote their complete attention and effort toward winning cases.