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Robotic Lawyers

The practice of law is going to look very different 15 years from now. The most routine legal work traditionally performed by human lawyers will likely be carried out by artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, some law firms have already employed robots to perform legal services and private companies are rapidly developing new artificial intelligence and data analytics tools for lawyers. I would like to introduce you to three examples.

Meet Ross- Legal Research AI

Ross, touted as the “world’s first artificially intelligent attorney,” has already landed positions at large law firms across the country. The Ross platform was built on IBM’s Watson cognitive computer. You might recall that Watson was the same artificial intelligence platform that defeated Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings. You can watch a video of Ross’s predecessor, Watson, win the jeopardy challenge.

If you ask Ross a legal question, he will not provide you with cases to read. Rather, Ross will provide an actual answer along with supporting materials to allow you to get up to speed quickly, including legislation, caselaw and secondary sources. You can communicate using natural language and Ross improves with each interaction because you can provide him feedback and rate his response. Ross also monitors the law around the clock and can notify you of changes in the law that might impact a previous response.

Meet Lex Machina- Outcome Prediction AI

You’ve seen Moneyball. You’ve heard about the impact of analytics on the success of professional sports teams. Lex Machina is analytics for lawyers, a platform that mines legal data from federal court dockets on Pacer, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the International Trade Commission’s EDIS system.

Lex Machina allows you to analyze judges and courts to let you know how likely a judge is to grant or deny a specific type of motion, how long cases take to get to trial in a particular court, and how likely a judge is to find in favor of a particular claim or defense, such as trademark infringement or fair use. This technology can also help develop winning case strategies by identifying legal briefs and filings that succeeded or failed before specific judges.

You can also use Lex Machina to size up other lawyers, exploring their experience and rate of success before certain judges, their list of clients, and their success against certain opposing law firms. Similarly, you can evaluate opposing parties, identifying how often they take certain claims to court, how often they go to trial, and damages they have been awarded in past cases.

Meet Kira- Contract Analysis AI

Kira is a contracts analysis platform that uses artificial intelligence to more efficiently analyze and prepare contracts. Contracts may be imported into the software and Kira will analyze them and generate a report. The report will quickly list the parties, clauses and key terms within the contract by category.

You can ask Kira to compare and immediately redline imported contract clauses against form clauses approved by your company or firm. Kira can read, interpret and analyze contracts in foreign languages. She can also search across numerous contracts within a database, group the contracts by category, and identify certain clauses or terms that do not meet your standard criteria and present risk.

Do Not Fear the Robots

Ross, Lex Machina and Kira are just three examples of artificial intelligence that are already available for use by law firms and in-house lawyers. This technology should not be feared, but embraced. It will help us serve clients more efficiently and allow lawyers to focus on the more complex work that requires creativity, advocacy and nuance. Just as email and traditional digital research services have dramatically changed the practice of law over the last 15 years, artificial intelligence is significantly changing legal practice today and in the future.