Artificial Intelligence: Not Just a Legal Reality—A Legal Necessity!

Posted on 07-20-2017 by
Tags: AI , artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence and the practice of law: If you're waiting for it to arrive, you're already behind. 


Star Trek opened with these four famous words: “Space: The Final Frontier.” Foreboding and yet adventurous, these words set the tone for this iconic science fiction show.

Like Star Trek, legal research has started exploring new frontiers. Whether it’s data analytics or artificial intelligence, legal science fiction is now a legal reality.

If this new reality sounds foreboding and intimidating, your legal future will struggle to take off.

But if it sounds adventurous and exciting, you’ll be light years ahead of the competition.

 Artificial Intelligence: Legal’s New Frontier

What if you could analyze a judge before stepping into a courtroom? Or pinpoint the odds of settling versus going to trial? Believe it or not, you can. In recent years, the field of legal analytics has seen huge advances.

Rather than just relying on personal experience or word of mouth, analytical tools like Lex Machina can help you create a strategy tailored to a specific judge. Among other things, you can analyze:

  • what motions a judge grants,
  • how often cases go to trial, and
  • if a judge leans for or against specific parties.

It’s impactful information if you’re tapping into it—even more impactful if opposing counsel neglects it.

Looking Beyond Simple Search Features

According to MIT Technology Review, the next major A.I. breakthrough will involve computers and their use of language. It’s going to be tricky, but once researchers ramp up computer understanding and language reproduction, interpreters might no longer be needed. Your A.I. office assistant could speak every language known to man and act as your own personal, on-demand interpreter.

But aside from helping you understand your clients, why is it so important for A.I. to better grasp our language?

Do you remember when Google searches were structured like math problems? Trying to find information on something like the number of yearly Supreme Court cases looked something like this: “US Supreme Court” + “Cases heard per year.” Now, we can just unlock our phone and ask it “How many cases does the US Supreme Court hear in a year?” Our everyday Google searches have become much more intuitive, using natural-language questions instead of math problems. This is a form of A.I.

Legal research is now evolving to use natural-language processes. Instead of simply matching terms in a database, a new tool called Lexis Answers breaks down queries linguistically to understand the intent behind a question. This delivers the “best answers” to your questions. This kind of intuitive searching can save you time sifting through pages and pages of search results. By anticipating exactly what kind of question you’re asking, Lexis Answers gives you the best, most relevant answers.

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before

With so many advancements in A.I., the world of Star Trek moves closer every day. The future of these advanced tools, and the benefits they will have in your practice, is truly exciting. While we may not be exploring far-away worlds, we are exploring the growing world of artificial intelligence. The real world discoveries we’re making today are every bit as exciting as the science fiction discoveries of the Starship Enterprise.

And it’s only going to get better from here.

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