The legal field is climbing a mountain of information that continues to get taller each and every day. Law books, precedents, emails, phone calls, evidence documentation – the list of data used in court can go on and on. It’s calculated that each year there are over 300,000 new US Court cases, and each case brings its own files with it.
One might assume that because there has been so much information available, that there is also a standard practice of data organization. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The identification and collection of relevant documentation may be causing more headaches than allowing for smooth court case preparation. No one person, nor team of skilled individuals, can fully tackle the amount of available information in their field.
Rather than attempting to manage it, incorporating an artificial intelligence engine to ingest information, like relevant court documents, allows the legal group to focus on more critical tasks while producing a quality of work that may not have previously been possible.
While it may not be highly adapted into law offices and courtrooms yet, AI can revolutionize the field in two primary ways:
One – Enhancing eDiscovery by Organizing Unstructured Data
Many legal professionals fear artificial intelligence will take human jobs. With the time and money spent on securing a law degree, it’s a valid perspective. What isn’t factored into the fear is how AI can benefit the profession: even with eDiscovery software to handle text-based discovery, the amount of time it takes a lawyer to weed through audio and video files reduces them to admins, until AI enters the picture. Some AI technology has the ability to render every second and frame of audio or video content searchable for words, phrases, faces, sentiment and voice identification. It can then take that unstructured data and produce an index, or structure, within minutes. Just a couple years ago this type of data collection could have taken thousands of hours, drastically slowing down a legal team. The imagery of huge, clunky legal books is also outdated, as AI with cloud capability unlocks an ever-growing library of information. Legal offices can cost-effectively manage and analyze unstructured evidentiary data within the cloud.
Two – Automating the Compliance Process
Compliance is a world wrought with change: regulation can be added, taken away or interpreted differently. If that’s not enough, a case’s regulations may not be similar to another which then multiples amount of work involved.
Over a quarter (26%) of in-house lawyers said that compliance is the biggest challenge in their department and AI may be the solution to their headache. Utilizing a cognitive AI engine means that compliance can be built into the workflow of a law office, rather than spending time on issues as they arise.
This type of technology offers the opportunity to help organizations proactively ingest and analyze data, swiftly recognizing key-terms, transcribing information and flagging non-compliant content. While 77% of lawyers studied by Deloitte claim that technology has not taken over in-house tasks, 52% said that this will happen over the next five years. In order for law firms to stay ahead of the competition, AI needs to be a primary point of discussion.
AI in the Law Office Doesn’t Eliminate Jobs, It Enhances Them
As a trade, legal may be unfamiliar with the possibilities and improvements AI can provide when it comes to analyzing media examined in the discovery process.
While AI may inspire a Hollywood vision of an intelligent robot standing in a courtroom, the reality is that the human-power legal team is actively becoming smarter and more productive. The human role within the field of law isn’t going to be disregarded, but more opportunities to spend valuable hours on crucial tasks and projects will become available in the near future.
Michael McDonald is the general manager of Veritone Legal and has nearly 25 years of experience developing and implementing technology and software solutions for compliance, legal and related industries.