I have finished my first Hackathon of my life. The Hackathon is a part of my International Business Law program at Tilburg University. Just a bit more than 48 hours, me and my team had to come up with an idea to help a law firm to build a strategy for them to answer their clients’ questions about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and become a market leader in this sector. And, our team presentation was good.
During my research about AI, I thought a lot about how AI may have impacts on lawyers and law firms. Actually, this is not a new issue because it has been raised for three or four years already. However, technology is changing, our world is changing, and, as a lawyer, I would like to discuss few points about this topic based on my own knowledge.
On the one hand, the power of AI is incredible and unbelievable. AI, within seconds, can process and assist human with looking up for information that we need. It is undeniable that AI can do almost everything, and it makes our lives be more convenience. With the extraordinary power, many technology startups have been established to provide this solution to the companies, including law firms.
More and more law firms decide to apply AI to facilitate their work. Those law firms use AI to do research, which may be time-consuming for lawyers to do it by themselves; to implement Due Diligence, to predict the percentage for litigation consequences, to review contract or even give basic general advice. There are also few platforms for lawyers to provide several legal services to their clients. In my opinion, this is an amazing direction for law firms. Thanks to AI, both lawyer and client can gain benefits from AI.
For law firms, with the assistance of AI for basic and simple works, lawyers do not need to have much time for researching or review documents and they can use those time for other more complex and important things such as negotiation, finding new clients or managing client relations. For clients, they do not have to pay too much for the legal services fee because it will be less billable hours to be charged by law firms for a matter with the assistance of AI. Clients may also be able to receive faster advice and opinion from lawyers which may help for their business.
On the other hand, many lawyers are afraid that they will be replaced and eliminated by AI, and lawyers may disappear in the near future. People following this argument believe that, with AI and its vast revolution, it can easily deal with the most difficult and complex issue raised by clients. However, I am of the opinion that AI may not replace lawyers. The reason is that although AI can easily solve very basic and general questions based on the database it has, there are many kind of jobs that AI cannot do such as negotiation. The negotiation will be based on a case-by-case basis and there is no case which is as same as any other. To deal with the negotiation, it should be based on the experience of lawyers which AI may not be able to have. I think we need to admit that it is quite difficult for human, the inventor of AI, can train AI about “experience”.
AI is an invention of the human, and if we can utilize it correctly, AI can be a good assistant in our lives. Lawyers do not need to be worry about being replaced by AI because the world still needs lawyers for various legal services. Nevertheless, law firms should be more active in applying AI in their daily business to facilitate the works of lawyers for them to be able to handle other complicating cases.