Can AI Replace Lawyers? Researchers Say Software Could Make It Possible

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On a typical day, lawyers would research cases, draft briefs, or advise clients. However, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), robots are now able to do these complex tasks. The advancement of AI and ML is already taking over jobs that were until now reserved for professionals and people with expertise, such as lawyers. However, things may soon change.

According to a report published in Social Science Research Network, researchers say they have found a way to predict summary judgment outcomes from the text of the parties’ briefs. They have used linguistic analysis and ML techniques to do that. In a nutshell, they have been successful in automating part of the work lawyers do, using software.

“We propose a freely available, computationally-enabled citation identification and brief bank tool, which would extend to all litigants the benefits of good lawyering and open up access to justice,” the researchers said in the study abstract.

Two of the three authors of the study — Elizabeth C. Tippett (Associate Professor of Law, University of Oregon) and Charlotte Alexander (Associate Professor of Law and Analytics, Georgia State University) — also wrote a long piece published by The Conversation, explaining the importance of their study.

This technique can be helpful to lawyers in reducing their workload. It could help clients more as they would not have to seek expensive legal assistance to cite the right cases as precedent in their legal matters. The researchers said their software could easily pick the right cases to cite and tell the lawyers. All a person needs to do is to feed the other side’s brief into the software.

If the hard part of a job is automated, it can make a big difference to productivity. Likewise, automation can also reduce the cost of legal services and make it more accessible and affordable for many people.


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