Manual or AI/Process Automation – Which one is preferred in the legal industry today? 

Legal Industry

When covid struck and an unprecedented pandemic situation gripped the world, law firms, lawyers and law departments across the globe knew that they must work beyond the rigid traditional methods to make sure their businesses weren’t impeded.

While the Attorneys and General Counsels have long accepted the Artificial Intelligence methods or process automations to get their work done faster but pandemic was a different situation altogether. However, can these methods entirely do away human work force is a question that stays answered for various purposes. 

Artificial Intelligence has certainly made life easy as they save a lot of time of the in-house team. However, it cannot completely replace the day-to-day tasks of attorneys, paralegals, general counsels or office managers. About a decade or so back, when technologies were introduced for tedious tasks like typing, making summaries, reviewing contracts, document review, etc., organizations across geographies saw a huge jump in the work efficiency. Machine learning took less than half the time to complete tasks than what was getting done manually. Millions of documents get coded or reviewed or transcribed super-fast which saves the law firms’ and corporates’ time. However, these tools also come for a cost which not every law firm can afford it. Small and medium law firms still heavily rely on manual work or look for trusted outsourcing partners to assist them with daily tasks, especially the laborious ones.  

Many leading global publishing houses have made different platforms to make the work easy for attorneys and general counsels, including AI based platforms.   These platforms are highly efficient for certain tasks like due diligence, legal research, for staying upto date with latest statutes and case laws and also for news and business info. These platforms are such a trend that without these you are certainly going to remain behind your peers. They have dominated the legal market and give you results at your fingertips. The biggest advantage of technology is having access to these 24/7 from anywhere. You do not have to be at your law office or law department to finish a task. During the pandemic when the world saw lock downs, these technologies saved many industries from fading. Legal industry also saw a huge transformation. The court rooms became online, attorneys and their staff worked from home, corporates had to adjust their work for employees from remote locations and new generation of students including law students were graduating out of their homes. The AI based platforms and process automations helped immensely during these difficult times. The sophisticated legal tasks also saw a huge success through online technologies. 

However, these systems cannot take away the value that humans put into the work. Most lawyers agree that their success rate is based on the amount of human touch that gets added to their cases. Process automation and AI may certainly save your time, but the compassion that humans add cannot be done by any technology. For example, while doing a client intake, talking directly to a client will give you more relevant information than going through any automated process. While transcribing a file via speech-to-text software, there is a very high chance of errors happening than if it is done manually. The AI usage also can breach a lot of data privacy policies which will happen at a very lower level if humans work upon those tasks. Your data can be leaked easily through these platforms. We still do not have any proper laws governing or protecting your from these rights. So, your information is at a greater risk of getting sneaked through these platforms.  

The publishing companies’ platforms can many a times not be upto date as claimed and may mislead your decision while working on a case. This may result in a completely different outcome of your case. Technical failures are also not rare so that can halt your work and delay your processes. Humans can be easily cross trained on various areas. Having a single AI based platform may not solve all your purposes and so you may have to subscribe to multiple of them which comes for a cost. These may at best aid humans, but they cannot replace humans. For staying upto date with these platforms you also need have to go through regular trainings by these companies. Legal industry and laws are dynamic, so these platforms must update themselves to ensure they are current.  

AI and process automation can surely speed up your tasks, but you still have to depend heavily on your human work force to achieve results.